We had made the connection years ago that she had been their music teacher at Highland High School in Salt Lake City, UT.
That was a crazy thing for me to comprehend, since they’re world famous, classically trained, have billions of YouTube hits, millions of followers, and have made such a splash worldwide, and they always said how my Grandma was an inspiration to them, one of their favorite teachers, albeit terrifyingly demanding, but always fair.
What an incredible thing for a silly guy grandson, a much different type of performer with a vastly smaller audience, to have these wonderful, down to earth celebrities say such amazing things of my Grandma.
It was with trepidation and some prodding from others in the family, however, that I made a BIG ASK: Would you be willing to perform a number at her funeral?
I do all I can to not ask anyone to do anything…in fact, quite often to my own detriment and regret. Part of the reason I teach The Promise is that I have promised myself to NOT do everything myself, and ask others for help and share their Signature Moves.
Usually when we ask for help people come through, but this was an ask I was quite uncomfortable with, since these guys are both friends and heroes of mine, and they’re pretty dang busy, always on tour around the world.
But I cautiously asked.
They responded that they were thrilled to be asked, and even more grateful to be available and in town that very day, to honor a teacher who made such a difference to them as young students.
Imagine how our entire family felt as the actual Piano Guys walked into the chapel, sat down in the front, and masterfully performed one of the most beautiful, astounding pieces you will ever hear LIVE, titled “The Mission / How Great Thou Art”. Below are two recorded versions of this masterpiece.
The first in Brazil at Christ The Redeemer statue and Iguazu Falls.
The second performing along the famed Tabernacle Choir.
As we sat, mourning the passing of our loved one, tears streaming down our faces, enjoying the beauty and power of their mastery, it was a moment we’ll always cherish.
Here’s the photo I snuck during the funeral performance –
And then it hit me:
Without her, the Teacher, maybe we wouldn’t have them, The Piano Guys, as the gifts to the world they’ve become.
Without them, the Students, she as Teacher wouldn’t have had anyone to teach and push, inspire and share her gifts.
And now, working in tandem, they have blessed the world exponentially through each other!
The Promise of The Teacher and The Promise of The Student are an interdependent one.
Most teachers never know the result of their efforts. Most students never have a chance to say Thank You in a proper way.
A few years ago, The Piano Guys found out my Grandma was coming to their concert – so they rolled out the red carpet. Backstage passes, front row seats, the whole shebang! I didn’t know this story until after I had asked them to perform at her funeral.
They had already honored her in life, and that would have been enough!
Yet, here they were, in front of our family, performing at her final performance, as if it were their first and last opportunity to share their gifts.
It was so beautiful and profound. What incredible men to do this (* later I even found out it was Jon’s birthday that very day, and he said nothing of it…my goodness).
As school rolls around after another summer break, I pray for the teachers, to realize the profound lives they lead, especially when the challenges of teaching makes them question their original promise to do so.
I pray for the children to honor their teachers, and families to support those efforts, as a promise to do all we can to lift, guide, and love our little ones.
Having spoken to thousands of teachers in the past few weeks as they prepare to return, I hope they’ll remember my Grandma Julie, teacher of Steven and Jon, normal kids in their class who turned out to be superheroes in the world as The Piano Guys, and the impact a teacher can have.
The Promise of the Teacher is to guide those they lead to discover and share their voice.
The Promise of the Student is to honor the teacher by sharing that discovery.
Promise kept by The Piano Guys and my Grandma Julie.
Have a great school year, my friends.
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Coach & Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach The Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”