Wednesday, August 17, 2011



With the personal challenges of the last year, and the stresses to the schedule, the one area of my work effected, perhaps the most, is the "Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist" series. Writing is not easy for me, and it is safe to say that I am quite slow and "inefficient". I do have something to say, and I can get it out. It just requires, sometimes, more patience than I can find access to, especially lately. What has made it potentially even more difficult, at least until recently, is the pressure I have put on myself to generate lessons at a reasonably quick tempo. This hasn't turned out according to script. A significant development, however, was in securing the opportunity to resume private teaching (for the first time in many years). Not only does this remove the burden of needing LTP to "perform" financially, it also allows me to focus on the real bottom line of why I pursue this: because I believe I can be helpful to others on the path; sharing my own ideas and discoveries. Now, it's more casual, and I'm more relaxed (which may well mean that the tempo will speed up a bit). Am using my Lessons Facebook page to share ideas, and make new connections. Here's a comment I just posted on another page, in response to a question on how to improve sight reading:

"Yes (I can answer that) - and this applies to just about everything: slow down. It’s natural to want results, but most often this desire comes at the expense of making the deeper connection. Care less about how quickly you can learn, or read a new piece, no matter how easy. Desire instead, to transform the symbols on the page into genuine expression. Start as slowly as you need to be able to play without mentally straining. If you can stay away from a hectic or anxious mind, you may find yourself arriving more quickly at the place where the music plays itself. Also, sight reading is not only a matter of learned skill, it is also a matter of aptitude. It just comes to some people more easily than others, so perhaps, it may take you longer to get to point B - but you will, with patience. Hope this helps."

Sounds like good advice - not just for the student seeking help with sight reading, but for myself. It's one thing to know, and it's another thing to remember. :)

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