Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thank you!

Every once in a while, as happened yesterday, I receive an envelope with a foreign postmark containing a $20 bill and a note appreciating this blog.

It would be difficult to tally the minutes / hours / days of smile generated by that expression of support.  But it is far more than support if you stop to consider it.  And I treasure it.

Always More to Learn

Two things have come up during the past 24 hours, one enormously encouraging, the other the opposite.

Take the good news first: A student of mine, a scientist (who has appeared more than once in previous posts) has been taking "piano lessons" with me for over thirty (yup) years.  Surely we would have run out of legitimate subjects long ago, you might well be remarking at this point.  But no.  We are getting further and further into the real subject matter of the music and of her experience as she plays/listens.  This is not theoretical but empirical.  It works because I have learned to listen to what the student plays without imposing my own a priori hearing on the music.

The results are infinitely fascinating for both of us.  Most professional level players would be far too impatient to pursue this degree of involvement.

I call it Music Inside and Out.

The other news: An on-line discussion suggesting mp3 files and other handy-dandy means to facilitate individual students wanting to practice their duet parts by themselves.  Doesn't it by definition take two to play a duet?  Can the student possibly learn anything musical by singling out one part to play alone?

I used to discourage the chamber music students from practicing their parts on their own, knowing full well that all they would be doing would make it harder for them to hear and orient to the whole sound when they rehearsed with their colleagues.  Real live people, hmmmm, yes we do still exist.  Real live sound, hmmmm, yes we must make sure that it survives this switched-on era.