Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year on the M104

It was one of those rare days when an animated conversation got started on a NYC bus, sparked by a friendly New Year's greeting from a woman with a warmly outgoing face.  Pretty soon quite a few people were involved.  The subject?  Sight-singing.

Unbelievable, I thought to myself.  Is this a sign or what?  One of the subjects I care most about in the world, brought up and discussed openly by total strangers.

All I can think is that if that is a sign of priorities for the year we are off to a very good start.


We had a reunion this afternoon: students past and present together with their parents.  Those who felt like doing so played.

As usual their playing was deeply revelatory though, from music school standards, far from polished.
But the room was all attentiveness, as if everyone was listening to discern meaning in every sound.

Then, for the first time since I have begun teaching from the ear out (the student's ear, that is), I played for them the most intimate piano piece I know, not really intending to play the entire work.  But they were so rapt that I couldn't stop; I played the whole thing.

Then came the real compliment.  The young woman whose playing does not come easily to her, and who hadn't even seen a piano in the past two weeks, played her two Bartok pieces.   I was deeply moved that, rather than making her in any way self-conscious, my playing made her feel like playing.

That is about as deep a compliment as I can imagine.

Thanks to all my students, past and present, and to the parents who have stayed the route of unorthodox methods that produce lasting love of the piano and of its music.