Pianist to Pianist

A collection of pianistic, pedagogical, methodical, musical, artistic, and cultural contemplations, concepts, observations, and concerns, from pianist to pianist, pedagogue to pedagogue, musician to musician and from a curious and critical observer.

The reason for so much attention to ornaments in the early piano schools is based on the fact that there was not much else to occupy and train fingers with in order to improve dexterity - a time before large scales and arpeggios. The thumb...

The evolution of music seems similar to science in that there was a commonly accepted norm; one innovator proposed a new idea, form, harmony, or theory, and the rest of the respective communities came into play in discourse, a decision making process, ultimately validating and accepting the new or exposing it as charlatanry or dilettantism and dismissing it.

The existence of a scientific or musical and educated community is vital. On the fertile soil of an educated community a forest of great minds grows and the highest of these are the geniuses of our cultural history. Without that terra firma the tyranny of ignorant and stubborn incompetence and nefarious indoctrination by institutionalized interest groups is possible.

The difference between arts and science today is that science is dictated by objective standards, if you can conclusively prove that the earth is circling the sun, it is so until proven otherwise. Art, being subjective, is a matter of taste, and taste can be influenced in a historically unprecedented scope by mass media today. By default mass media appeals exponentially to increasingly lower denominators. It is easy to sell a masked avenger with a violin to millions.

If you think about the achievements of the romantic artists who worked by inspiration and presumably without discipline and realize that they spent countless hours at their instruments, practicing, you have to wonder: How could they do that? Discipline became their nature driven by ambition and faith. They didn't need discipline: they lived it.

In order to establish good practicing habits, the goal is not only to change your behavior but to ultimately cultivate your character. Discipline is necessary to get things done and is contrary to the instinctive behavior of laziness, opposing human nature of least resistance, against material and spiritual entropy, against what we refer to as the lower instincts. In order to achieve something lasting one has to recognize and supplant these lower instincts and acquire different behaviors and habits than dictated by the reptilian and animal brains. At the core of achieving anything at the piano, repetition is unavoidable. Repetition is against our basic instincts and needs discipline.

Disciplina was a minor deity and the personification of discipline in ancient Rome. She was commonly worshiped by the soldiers of the Imperial Legions. Her meaning to them was both discipline as in self-control and determination, as well as competence as in a field of study...