Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Beloved Piano Teacher posted a gorgeous post about teaching piano here.  I was going to respond in a comment, but I realized that what I had so say is so much more than a "thumbs up" so I am going to reply here.

I treasure the information I learned from her-- the wonderful stories about Debussy and Chopin, all the great music theory that I was able to understand and build on later as an adult (and even pass on to my one and only piano student who I still see occasionally), all the wonderful music-- the Mozart (who composed for the harpsichord and not the piano), the Handel (whose overtures still make me weep because she explained to me how Georg sets you up with exquisitely painful baits-and-switches), the Brahms, the Beethoven (to play when you are cranky and hormonal as I often was when I was 16), to see music in colors and flavors and even temperatures and how to play with music-- in the school-yard sort of way.  She taught me how to waltz, so I could play the Blue Danube with the right EMphasis.  Even though she says she doesn't like pop music, I can't listen to raggae without hearing how the musicians are playing on the back beat.  If it wasn't for her, there is no way I could articulate the genius of Roger Waters.  Or Vivaldi.

I don't even know how I can possibly explain the vast ocean of difference between the way she sees the world and the way my parents do.  Up until the time I was under her care the world was a simple right-is-right and left-is-wrong sort of a place.  She taught me how to weep for Anna Karenina's fate (instead of a "good riddance" attitude).  She did what every good teacher should do-- she expanded my imagination, she gave me a vocabulary to describe my world, she showed me how to be spiritual without being judgmental, she showed me how to suffer and grow.  She models a creative life, a beautiful life, a wonderfully full life.

She even writes beautiful letters on stationery she designs herself.  How cool is that?  If her students are avoiding her its because they are lame and quite possibly stupid.  If they want to live in a monochromatic, one-note world, that is their choice and its certainly not her fault for showing them a subtle, fascinating, and mysterious alternative.  If learning about music and how to listen was all about practicing, I'd be a failure, too.  Thankfully, music is not just about practicing (though it does help) and the lessons are there for anyone who wants to listen.

Did I mention how thankful I am?

Did I say that you changed my life?


1 comment:

M. L. Benedict said...

I have no words. Thank you. (Sob.)

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