Exactly six weeks ago, I sat in a concert and had one of the strongest realizations of recent times. On the program were clarinet quintets with the Gerhard Quartet and the clarinetist Victor de la Rosa, in a small but fine festival near Barcelona, where my parents live. Today, it's all about commitment.
In advance, I had learned that the Quartet rehearse for six days a week for four hours daily, and that they also practice a few hours per day individually, and have been doing this for eight years. That is a statement. Quartet playing is often referred to as "marriage of four", and not without reason.
The language of piano is harmony and it's expected of piano players to move between keys as if they moved between rooms in their home.
All piano players can learn to think in harmony and conquer the keyboard. From the very beginning.
The most beautiful conducting gesture in the world
He had the most beautiful conducting gesture in the world, and he was my choral conductor for five years. When you sing together on average 120 times a year, you accumulate quite a few experiences - one concert in particular stands out in my memory.
Plus a bonus lesson from Britney Spears. An encounter at Utrecht Early Music Festival.
I'm attending the last morning session of the masterclass at Utrecht Early Music Festival. For the last three days, harpsichordist Pierre Hantai has enveloped students and visitors alike in his own particular sound world. As we enter the last half hour of the class, the whole room listens in sweet rapture.
Suddenly, the door opens up, and in sweeps a tall blond man in a cream suit, with waving long hair, a white plastic bag in his hand. The room takes notice of the interruption. He looks self-consciously around the space, then spots a seat at the back of the room and sits down.
"You have to do different things with both hands at the same time!"
I was 10 years old at my first piano lesson, and only because my brother had insisted on receiving piano lessons, like his best friend, for months. My mum thought, if anything, then let's have both children go. But I didn't want to.
What do we ever learn during our musical studies? Case study with a double bass player.
Some years ago, while I was still in Resonance teacher's training, I once gave a double bass lesson. The musician was a student just before finishing his degree, and he was interested in trying out Resonance Training. His name was Alexander.
"We believe he's very musical", his mum tells me on the phone. "He's always been drawn to music. We're looking for a kind teacher, so he can enjoy the piano, not become a professional."
She tells me about her 9-year-old son Tim and his previous experiences at the piano, which include about two years of lessons with a teacher whom she describes as "strict". Tim ended up crying at every lesson. After some time, he stopped going to piano, about one and a half years ago.
I make the math in my head. That must mean he started playing when he was 5 or 6 years old.
We arrange a trial lesson, and a few days later there they are, on my doorstep.
"No! I won’t do it!" she said, and then, she struck her hand on the keyboard.
I felt uncomfortable, didn’t know what to say.
We were rehearsing Brahms’ Haydn Variations for two pianos.
I had asked her to play a passage in a certain way.
Four years before, she’d been my piano teacher for a year. Let’s call her Susan.
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