Image via Wikipedia
N was presented to my grandmother today--she is visiting for the thanksgiving holiday from Connecticut.sew_200e , billtinva ,owenthomas , and gregorsf and Grandma came out, brought us dinner, and we visited for a while. Having eaten, we headed out for Q’s first piano recital.
Q played Love Somebody, [the abridged, two-line version]. He was one of the few first-time players to have a “two-hand-together” selection, though. I’d say that this is more due to the fact that he got a bit of a jump on other just-starting-out students; he started lessons at the end of last school year, before his teacher took her maternity leave.
Q almost had a “come-apart” when he saw all the cars in the parking lot. I think that he thought that this would just be his teacher, family, and him. Well, he knows what a recital is now. On that subject, the fact that he was able to pull it together and play his piece so well, I attribute partly to his own natural resilience, but in large part to his teacher’s techniques. He is taking lessons from Jennifer Baker, of Keyboard Adventures. She helped “make him strong” for recital by taking him through a series of exercises over the last several weeks, first taking the music apart a phrase at a time to pull the patterns out of it, and then at the end learning to playing the piece “blind, deaf, and distracted.” The “blind” part is obvious—once you have it memorized, you play the piece with eyes closed so that you aren’t looking at your hands or the music. “Deaf” is a little trickier: close the keyboard cover, and “play” the piece with your fingers, just not on the actual keys. “Distracted” is the most fun for me as the practice helper. Q plays his piece while I jump around the room. I get to say—or gibber—bizarre things, sneak up to the piano and play random high or low notes next to him, stomp about, and generally cause a wild ruckus. Needless to say, if you can play a piece under those conditions, a room full of people who are doing their very best to stay quiet and listen just isn’t that bad any more. I didn’t brief my family on this technique beforehand, though. They were sitting in the next room as Q did his final practice session. I’m sure they thought that I had gone completely insane.
All of the kids had obviously worked hard to prepare. Most did a creditable job, with a few bobbles generally gracefully recovered from. A few were simply wicked good. prettypammie stayed behind so long talking to Mrs. Baker about one of the students that particularly impressed her that I finally had to drag her out to the car. I think they’ll have to talk more in e-mail.