Rocking Rachmaninoff ... or Else

How to be your own Tiger Mom.

May 17, 2011

(Illustrations by Traci Hui)

Were you raised “Western” style by your uncaring, unloving parents? Were you forced to attend school dances AND sleepovers? Did you suffer through the humiliation of getting A’s in gym and drama? If so, it’s not too late to reclaim the superior upbringing your parents denied you. Following the easy steps below, you can start your recovery and become your very own Tiger Mom.


Musical instrument
Complicated sheet music
Bottle of water
Adult diapers

  1. Choose your instrument wisely, like the piano, violin or cello. No triangle player has ever gotten his or her own show at Carnegie Hall.
  2. Pick an overly complicated piece of music for your skill level. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 would be a great piece to mangle daily for hours — especially if anyone is within earshot.
  3. Set your practice schedule. How much sleep do you really need? Take that number and divide it by half. You should be practicing upward of 20 hours per day if you plan on playing Lincoln Center by next Christmas.
  4. Prepare your practice space. Only one bottle of water and a bowl of salt should be close by. The water in case your coddled adult self gets thirsty and the salt to help stave off bathroom breaks. The adult diaper serves as a backup in case the salt fails.
  5. Begin your practice and do not stop for at least five hours. Feel like you need a break? WELL, YOU CAN’T TAKE ONE because your rendition of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes still sounds like crap. You are bringing shame upon the family, you filthy piece of garbage! (Feel free to record yourself saying this and play it back when you need some motivation.)
  6. After five more hours of practice, you can take one five-minute break — to complete multiplication tables. However, this break cannot involve a visit to the bathroom. (What do you think this is? Disneyland?)
  7. Repeat steps 4 – 6 on a daily basis until you have either performed before the president at the Kennedy Center or entered therapy. Your inner Tiger Mom will then be satisfied and ready to inflict, I mean, instill these methods upon the next generation.
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