Monday, July 17, 2006

Where's the Juice?

This past week I was directing the Point Loma Keyboard Institute for teenaged piano students where I spent quite a bit of time talking about developing clarity of musical intention. The patience necessary to read a score deeply enough to communicate its content is not common anywhere, let alone among the young. As I worked with these kids, in brief glimpses I saw moments of it spark to life (often in the midst of Clementi sonatinas and Burgmuller etudes).

There are different ways to pursue the poetic realm but it certainly is essential to our craft. Olivier spoke of being "workman-like" in developing a character and Serkin drew analogies between practicing the piano and digging ditches. However, this labor is in the service of a mysterious alchemy aimed at gilding our inner selves.

I am fond of telling my students that the music they learn today will become part of their intellectual furniture for the rest of their lives. A weekend post from Cathy Fuller reminded me that this golden stuff is the magical juice we long to find, and all too often we despair when it is absent.

No comments: