Forty years ago, I attended a concert and heard La Cathedrale Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral) by Claude Debussy. It took my breath away and I vowed that one day I would play it. Over so many years as a music/piano teacher, I have periodically gone back and looked at that particular piece, starting it and then stopping on the 2nd page with its huge clumps of chords filled with sharps and notes up or down on many ledger lines and I would drift away into life with little time to figure things out and perfect it.
It has also been part of my personal psychological/emotional history that when dealing with certain life challenges, I would experiences blockages in my music, perhaps because my focus was elsewhere, or perhaps as an indicator that I needed to tend to issues before they made me ill. The inability to complete a desired but complicated piece of music has been a personal alert that something needed to be tended to and more importantly, healed. I remember the summer that a piece of music I had been working on, never quite completing was finally and gloriously finished…after 21 YEARS!!!! What a feeling of triumph when the last measure and a ffz ! of Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90 No.2 resounded in my living room at the same time a long term personal crisis was released and all was new!
Pencil in hand I am counting the ledger lines and marking the notes so I don’t have to stop and hunt for them each time (like, don’t I have my piano students do that???) And to make sure I don’t drift away from this goal, I have made arrangement to have the assistance of our wonderful choir director at church who is also a concert pianist..someone for ME to be accountable to for making sure I practice. Role reversal…not too proud after TEACHING piano for over 30 years to be a “student” for this piece. Which btw, since I made the “commitment”, over the past three nights, I have figured it all out anyway..all those huge chords and clusters of “guest sharps” and I know what to do. Still I am looking forward to assistance/collaboration with our church music director Michael , a piano teaching colleague to be in the hot seat and stay on task.
I love the triumphant feeling of success!
And while I am at this, I now have a small list of beloved piano pieces that had fallen by the wayside. No excuse this time.. this is going to be FUN!
Never too late to be a student, even when you are a teacher as well.
From Christine, the Piano Mistress
*** When not involved at the piano, I may be in the kitchen. Please check my foodie blog for cooking memoirs and recipes to build up your strength for practicing your music! http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/
*** When not at the piano or in the kitchen, I may be out and about with my camera/photography and writing inspiration essays. Please check my inspirational blog, The Greening Spirit http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/