Wednesday, January 28, 2009

here's looking at you

The state contest is this weekend. We have worked hard and she played deeply and artistically. She breathed each Chopin phrase with such care. I am certain that a great critique is in her future at the competition. I also know that it may depend on the judge's constitution. I mentioned to this sensitive 14 year old that not everyone plays this piece the same way. That is why there are so many different recordings of classical repertoire. We will take the judge's assessment, listen to the comments, try them, and then ultimately decide what works for us, for her, and learn from the experience. Rubato, the "robbing of time" is a personal taste like cayenne pepper in chili. Everyone has a taste for a different amount.

In precious middle school wisdom, she innocently asked a fantastic question. "Do you think you can tell what kind of a judge it is by looking at them when you walk in?" WOW, I know exactly what (and WHO) she means! The tight collar, the brooch, or the hair in a bun all send a message. Do you really want to judge a person by what they look like, I asked? Has anyone ever judged you before they knew you? There were slaves, I mentioned, because they were judged by the color of their skin. People are judged by impossible standards every day. Their lifestyle, their clothes, the language they speak. So although she looks metronomic, be poetic. She is a pianist, after all, or she would not be adjudicating you.

The underlying question here I believe was "should I change my playing to the audience?" And again I say please don't. You play for you. You play the way we worked on it. Pearls or a lemon puckered expression do not reveal a woman's soul.

I'm going to spend a little time in the mirror tonight. What do students see when they walk in MY room?

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