This morning I was greeted by a Timeline addition to my Facebook page that was worrisome. The header was, “Is this your student?” It framed a precociously youthful performance of the Fantasie-Impromptu that was at best hammered out and musically insensitive. Yet one could peel away layers of fast and furious, disorganized playing and find a talented youngster who was sadly denied a good mentor to take raw material and refine/develop it to satisfying artistic levels. (And this would require significant time and patience– it would not be an overnight mega-learning phenomenon. Years would transpire as fundamentals of the singing tone and how to produce it would be the most elementary exposure needed.)
Yet, I meant to tread lightly in my criticism of the child, also refusing to delete the posting for fear of offending a Facebook friend who meant well showcasing the impetuous player pounding the piano without knowing better. Instead, I hunted down a beautiful in-progress performance of the same work under the mentorship of pianist, Cyprien Katsaris.
No words need justify what we perceive as a beautiful fusion of touch and tone. The child makes further advances during the lesson due to her preceding, solid technical/musical foundation. Katsaris builds upon it and infuses inspiration, imagery, blocking techniques and other prompts to grow her playing. And it all comes together in pleasing increments. By the end of the instruction, the youngster is producing more beautiful lines, in a remarkable ONENESS with the piano.
Finally, if we go back to the bare essentials of early piano learning, we can see what it takes to plant the seeds that grow to full musical maturity, where no shortcuts exist.
Right from the start the essence of beauty blossoms from bud to bloom with tender, meticulous, and patient, loving care.