Hubert the Rigid

Rigid Hubert

How many joints control the position of the hand? Wrist, elbow, shoulder, sterno-clavicular. (Ans.: 4.)
reach over. if inadequate, lean over (but uncomfortable), or scootch over (but awkward, possibly slow, possibly noisy esp.

The Old Lady asked me… (so she’s me and I’m S.O.)

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Piano Sound

When I talk about the sound of various pianos–Boesendorfer, Kawai, Steingraeber, Yamaha, Steingraeber, Bluethner, Bechstein, Steinway (NY or Hamburg)–no one challenges my comments. (Perhaps they should, but they don’t.) And when I teach my piano students to make exquisite adjustments of their tone to heighten musical meaning, they and I agree that the playing sounds better. But the moment I comment on precisely the same things in reproduced sound, I hear criticism from certain quarters that I didn’t listen “blind” or “double-blind.”

EXPLAIN blind….

A musician’s life’s work consists of creating meaningful and of developing ears and hands that reliable toward this goal. All this is usually done “non-blind.”

Are we going to say that the musician’s sonic judgments are worthless? Too bad, Gustavo Dudamel, Jascha Heifitz, Sir Andras Schiff! Too bad, you and me!

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So simple it sounds silly:

At a random time during practice, STOP! Ask yourself, Read More »

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4 Things to Say

If I had only 4 things to say:

(1) The sound is the goal: To hear it objectively, record yourself.

(2) To interpret a score is to recreate an object from its shadow.

(3) A work of art is a machine with an esthetic purpose.

(4) We learn what we do, not what we say we’re doing, nor think we’re doing, nor intend to do later.

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Welcoming the Gifted?

Contrary to what many assume, teachers don’t necessarily welcome Read More »

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Almost Magic

Occasionally, something happens in teaching that seems a bit like magic, and may lighten the texture of the lesson from Read More »

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Texas Comparisons

“You play the Moonlight ver-ry good, young man, very good.” The old man’s New York accent stood out in the Texas crowd that had just given the Beethoven a standing ovation; and his Adam’s apple stood out from his throat as he continued, “I have Horowitz’s record of it. You play it very good, but not like Horowitz.”

“Mmmm,” I said, with a wise intonation, still sweating from the concert, feeling like wringing his neck, and wondering if this would make an amusing story one day.

Next morning, the concert manager drove me to the airport and I asked why he’d hired me—part of my project to understand how the business works. He said, “I suddenly realized one day that the series needed another piano recital; and on that day I received brochures from six pianists I’d never heard of; so I wrote to all of you and asked your fees. Yours was twice as high as the others, so I figured you were twice as good, and I hired you.”

This information should have inspired me to do what?

  1. Double my fee.
  2. Halve it.
  3. Become a concert manager.

This experience shows that

  4. You get what you pay for.
  5. You give what you're paid for.
  6. A prominent Adam's apple may not mark your most appreciative audience.
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Aphorisms 3

All that occurs, occurs through the student.

Teach the student who’s in front of you.

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22nd Century Conservatory

INTEGRATING mind & heart, science & art, intention & performance, technique & musicality, town & gown, rich & poor, culture high & popular. Read More »

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The Piano As a Tool

Why is it not fussiness or affectation for a pianist to try to assure that he or she has the finest piano in the finest condition for each Read More »

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