You go to workshops and conferences hoping to learning something new. How much you learn depends in part on how much you already knew. Some sessions are great, some are not. Sometimes I walk away thinking I don’t know a thing, sometimes I leave thinking I could have given the talk myself.
Friday’s second session with Marvin Blickenstaff was his fairly well-known Rules of Thumb for the piano student. It’s a talk he’s given numerous times and it was published in a recent issue of Clavier Companion, available as part of a free preview (click on Free Preview) of the digital copies. These are rules for successful musical performances – some of them common sense, some of them specific to certain time periods (performance practice), some of them common to pretty much all good music.
There are rules for shaping a phrase, for rhythm, harmony, melodic playing, and more. This is really, really useful information. My only problem was that I was sitting there thinking, “yeah, yeah, I know.” Most of it I had either heard before or figured out along the way all by myself – things like the most likely highest point of a phrase. And as useful as it would be for a teacher starting out to have this list, there’s also something to be said for figuring it out yourself.
Here’s the BUT. I had to teach yesterday (Saturday) – make-up lessons from the day and 2 evenings that I took off last week. And here’s the thing. I was unbelievably on and energized. The affirmation and repetition of all those details that have been simmering for years came out in my teaching. So – that’s reason enough to go to these things – even if you think you know it all.
Those who know me know my feelings towards Masterclasses. Still waiting for an attitude adjustment there – grist for another post.
- They are beautiful human beings (ladonasmusicstudio.com)
- Pedagogy Saturday at the MTNA Conference 2012 (elissamilne.wordpress.com)
- Performance Practice Made Easy, by Marvin Blickenstaff (colorinmypiano.com