My last post was a bit of a cathartic experience. So, I’ve decided to share a bit about my other piano teachers. My applied piano teacher during my master’s program was a bit of…well, we didn’t always see eye to eye. I think that is putting it pretty kindly. We had our ups and downs but I am SO grateful now that I had the experience to study with her. She was (and is) a phenomenal performer. I recall listening to her perform Liszt and being absolutely mesmerized. It’s a feeling that rarely comes to me. I would become so focused on the music that everything else would fade. It was like being transported to another realm. If I had the chance now to go and hear her play, I would never second guess the opportunity. I wanted to play like her. I wanted others to experience in my music what I would experience in hers. Her technique was so incredible and her artistry impeccable.
So, what is up with the “not seeing eye to eye” comment from above? Well, I began to DREAD each and every piano lesson. I think I may have developed an ulcer during this time of my life or at least heightened my anxiety issues. We did not always get along but it wasn’t just her. I made so many mistakes along the way. There was a bit of a language and cultural barrier that I just couldn’t seem to cross and neither could she. My last semester in the program, it was like everything shifted. I don’t know why it changed or even how but I was able to see her in a completely different light. My lessons with her went so much better and functioned more smoothly because we were on the same page with the same goal.
What did I learn during this period and from this teacher?
- I learned how to treat people and to not treat people.
- I learned what respect truly is and why it is so important to respect each other.
- I learned many technical things from her. These are things that I still do in my playing, especially in my warm-ups.
- I learned how to voice more effectively and to control my playing.
- I learned the value of a mirror and using one in practice.
- I learned calm under pressure and now feel as if I can “go with the flow” without freaking out inside.’
- I learned that love of music or anything is not always enough. You sometimes have to dig deeper to access the will to go on.
- I learned strength of character.
- I learned that people can cross barriers and learn to get along.
- I learned that life (and music) is never static.
So, maybe my ride during this period of a couple years was not smooth, but it was worth every tear and every venting session. I wondered if I would ever be able to rid myself of the resentment that I held toward this teacher for some time. Well, it’s gone. It has been gone for a long time and now I feel only gratitude – gratitude and awe. She will always be, at least in my mind, one of the most phenomenal performers that I have ever had the opportunity to study with and to hear perform.
See, we CAN do hard things and it will always be worth it in the end.
Peace and love (and much respect),
The Mad Pianist