Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Listening Binds Us

An extraordinary group of people met yesterday afternoon in my home, several current students, one former student.  Of the current students one has been studying with me for 16 years, one for 17 years, one for 14 years.  The former student had left town to go to college after at least 10 years of study.

It seems extraordinary to me that each of them had gone beyond the arbitrary quitting dates for many young people: graduation from elementary school, high school, college.  No, these people had stayed on.  Why?

I wish I could answer the question in any number of words, but I cannot.  The premise in my studio is that the art of music involves precision in the coordination of bodily and mental responses to the infinite variables of sound and of sound perception - I believe these are two separate things, each to be observed and respected in its own right.

With maturity the importance of this coordination grows, as nothing is assumed to function according to a template of expectation.  Not only that, but the relevance of the process to every other activity of the individual becomes clearer with age, whether or not the individual practices the piano.

It has been a privilege to work with these young people.  Their perseverance is in no small measure a reflection of their parents' belief that there is more to achievement than the measured results associated with traditional piano lessons.