Thursday, August 7, 2014

Artistic Depth is Enhanced by Teaching People with Disability

If anyone had told me this fifteen years ago I would have been incredulous:  How could that be possible?

It turns out to be entirely the case, without reservation.  The most disabled person I can imagine has been studying with me for over 12 years; he is now 21 years old.  Among his most severe handicaps is his lack of tactile sense in his hands; since he is also blind, this is no kidding around a serious liability.

It has been like a miracle to see him capable of articulated movement in each hand, separating the outside fingers from the rest--an action that most of us take for granted but which, in reality, is immensely complex.  I am astonished at his attentiveness to the task (he also has a short concentration span) and at his retention, from week to week, of the musical goal involved.

The music is by Bartok, on whom I rely for stimulating content extremely well composed to speak to the deepest available artistic and technical resources of the individual.

Today I told him that I had the feeling that Bartok had written these pieces with him in mind; that, therefore, he is his friend.

This depth of desire, of striving, of pleasure in achieving a beautiful result supports and enriches all of my own personal artistic life to the fullest possible extent.