Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting lost in the music

Some of my most favorite things in the world right now are my Debussy preludes. I'm playing the first three, and they are just beautiful. In my lesson last week, Dr. Anderson said, "Careful, people might think you actually enjoy this!" :)

I love them. Debussy takes you to another world, and helps you forget about your to do list for a moment. For me, I forget about everything and my whole soul just dives deep into the music. I played my Debussy in master class on Monday, and I got lost in the music. Someone even went out during my pieces, and I had no idea. I think in order to really get lost in the music takes some time. First you have to learn the notes and memorize them. Then you have to pay such careful attention to each phrase, each note even, in your practicing. It is only after you have done that that you can truly lose yourself in it. You're not worried about right or wrong notes anymore- it's all about creating a beautiful, transcendent moment in which there is nothing but beauty. The best place to experience it is on the piano bench, making it yourself. A cook can make a delicious meal that everyone can enjoy, but the cook is one that will enjoy it the most because she was there for the entire journey. (Not a perfect analogy, but it works, right?)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Best feeling in the world

One of the best feelings in the world is ANXIOUS MOTIVATION.

Today I had a wonderful lesson with Dr. Anderson. I came as prepared as could be to my lesson, and played the third movement of my Ginastera. I felt like I did well, and he said I was progressing, but then we went to work! There is so much that goes into playing a piece on the piano. If you play it well, it takes such a long time to develop everything. I feel like I have the first three layers complete on this piece. There are about six or seven total. It is so enlightening and exciting to peel back the layers that I have so far and discover the layers that are within reach, to see and hear the potential that this piece has, that I have as a pianist. It makes me so excited!

At this very moment, I cannot wait to become a better pianist! I love being filled with an enthusiasm and giddy excitement and a grand DESIRE to practice! It makes life magnificent!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer lessons!

 School is ending soon and summer is just around the corner! It's a great time to sign up for piano lessons, especially since there is a great deal! Click on the "Take lessons!" tab or right here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The best lessons

The best lessons are the ones where I come out and feel like I have a lot to work on, but I'm excited to start. I had one of those this week. I came to my lesson, expecting Dr. Anderson to be so impressed with what I had done this week. He was, but then we went through the pieces that I had thought were "perfected" and found many MORE things for me to work on. It's frustrating during the lesson when I am not grasping new concepts right away, but it's exactly what I want. Think about it. I'm getting much more out of my lesson than I would have if he decided not to correct me. A teacher only corrects a student when they think that the student has the potential to become better.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pianist=Perfectionist=No creativity?

When you're a pianist, it always seems like the goal is to do everything that is written on the page... exactly as it is written down... perfectly. When I was younger, I thought that took the creativity out of playing. However, after being at college for the past three years in the school of music, I have learned differently.
    Every music major has to take music core. We take two years of music theory, dictation (writing out the music that we hear), and sight singing (so we can hear the music we play just by looking at the score). In music theory, the main focus was learning the rules and principles of correct part-writing. This focused mostly on hymn-like or hymn looking music. We learned the rules of voice leading, part writing, and harmony. We were graded on how well we followed the rules we were given. However, we always found exceptions to the rule in different musical passages. When we brought it to our teacher, he told us that it was okay to break the rules. We were learning them, so then we can break them judiciously. 
   I think it's the same in piano playing. As a student, I need to be able to follow all the directions provided in the music explicitly. Anyone can decide not to follow the instructions or to change things on their own, but not everyone can do everything written in the music. Once you can follow all the directions, then you can take your liberties as the musician and change things according to your knowledge of the time period and the composer and the piece. 
 Basically, the more you know and the more you're able to follow the directions to a T, the more space and room you have to be creative to make music the most beautiful it can possibly be. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I can do hard things

I just finished teaching one of my students. She consistently impresses me with her persistence in understanding and pushing through difficult concepts. If there is a complicated part of a piece, or I tell her that there is something to fix, it may take a little more time than usual, but she always figures it out. She never acts like it's frustrating either. She's just happy to be learning.

A couple of years ago, when I was teaching in California, I asked her if she was excited for summer. She said, "No, I'm going to miss school." I think that should always be our attitude about learning. It is a wonderful opportunity, and we can do so much more if we love learning.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The ideal student

I've been teaching for almost seven years. In that time, I came up with my idea of an ideal student.

Here he or she is: (The list is in order of importance)

1. The student loves music and playing the piano and wants to learn.
2. The student practices.
3. The student does everything I say. 

Those are the three requirements. Notice how musical ability is not a required attribute. It's always ridiculous when someone tells me that I'm so lucky that I am so talented and can play the piano so well. Surprise, surprise! I am not Mozart or Beethoven. I started lessons when I was five, just like many other people. Unlike other people who aren't piano teachers now or piano majors, I had the three traits above... more or less. The second and third attributes were not always 100%. I'm human! But the first attribute, loving music and playing the piano, is something that has always been a part of me. 

So there you have it! If you want to be an ideal student, here is my list of how to do it.