Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Piano Lessons

"When I was in my early 20s, I got a phone call from one of my old piano teachers," says Cho. "It was very surprising to me, because the lessons were such a long time ago. She was just calling to see how I was doing, but at the time, it seemed odd. I didn't know what to say, and I remember there was a slight feeling of discomfort through the conversation. As time has gone on, I have the memory of that phone call, and it's so clear to me why she called. It seems so human to reach out and want to speak to your former students to see what kind of effect you had on them. And I felt sad, because my realization and understanding was coming so many years too late."
From an interview with playwright Julia Cho on the topic of her phenomenal play "The Piano Teacher". Read the rest here.

I sometimes think that the really hard work of learning to "play piano", of becoming a musician, comes only years later, long after "Teaching Little Fingers" and "The Happy Farmer" have faded to dull memories like a badly remembered childhood dream, and resembles more often than not the work of psychoanalysis, the process of undergoing certain risks and transformations in self-understanding as an artist.

People talk about "finding one's own voice" or "one's own style", but I'm tempted to believe that act of "finding" is, at the end of the day, more a letting-go in which the object of pedagogic experience is not knowledge itself, but the experience in and of itself. Only then does it come full circle.

1 comment:

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