Thursday, November 18, 2010

conversations with music students

I sailed into the 2-piano practice room this afternoon to meet & rehearse with a new student. As I plopped my score on one of the Steinway grands, I introduced myself to the young lady seated at the other piano.

"Hi, I'm Nancy! You must be Jessica!"

She extended her hand and smiled. "I am SO nervous!" she admitted.

"Of what? ME?" I laughed. "O my goodness; don't be nervous because of me!"

This was funny to me. -Like I would bite her head off for missing a note or something.
Me, who got the music last week. Me, who tries to put everyone at ease. Me, who used to be a student myself & still feel like one most of the time. I am not her teacher. I am her accompanist for a piano concerto, which means that she plays the fancy stuff. I play the orchestral reduction at the other keyboard & generally hold things together in a mildly humble fashion.

Anyway. It was a great first rehearsal.

After that, I attended Italian Diction for Singers. There, I plant myself at another Steinway where I sight-read Italian arias & art songs for the students. They sing for their professor & classmates in order to demonstrate their grasp of advanced Italian diction. I performed a Handel recitative & aria with a pleasant, soft-spoken young man. After some coaching from the teacher, we were asked to begin it again.

I commenced by playing the opening measure quite confidently: four strident chords which were supposed to be minor chords, but I wasn't paying enough attention. I played four very confident MAJOR chords without apology, and then couldn't figure out WHY the student didn't come in.

He hesitated and then politely & softly said, "Those were very major-sounding chords."
-which I thought was a very nice way to correct me.

I like my conversations with music students!


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