Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The main difference between a conversation that includes piano playing and a recital is the engagement of listeners and player together in questions having more to do with life than with music.  We are too accustomed to treating music as a thing apart from life, something you study and practice and otherwise feel perpetually outside of.

Several people have brought up their dread of such conversations being "over their heads."  On the contrary, so far they have been more about early childhood experiences of sound than about anything learned.

 I believe it was Rubinstein who pointed out that with maturity his connection to his earliest musical self became most clear.  Maybe this is what distinguishes the performer from the theorist: the performer, in constantly dealing directly with sound, is more likely to be arousing memories of past experiences, of even first experiences, whereas the theorist--at least in my impression--is more likely to be building on learned vocabulary, at least on argument rather than on identity.