Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Music Part

In the face of a 3-year-old visiting my new neighbors across the hall I see an expression I now recognize instantly:  while waiting for the elevator she has heard a piano.  Her mother introduces me as the person who plays that piano.  The eyes light up with an expression of hunger.  "Invite me in!" 

I have seen this before.  In fact, one of my most successful students was a child who lived in that very apartment from birth until graduating from high school.  Was part of her success that she heard that piano playing every day? (Not that I practice constantly, I don't; neither did she.  "I don't have time," she once told me.) 

But her deeply insightful musicianship was fed by a clear experience of dedication--not tedium, not mindless repetition, but pure dedication.  I refuse to be bored, to be lured into repeating what I did yesterday or last week.  (I do sometimes repeat myself in conversation, but those are senior moments, which I do not have when playing the piano.)

That kid's sight-reading of a Mozart Adagio would have me in tears.  As a teenager I had no patience for adagio, much less the ability to focus my conscious attention on anything that lacked surface movement.