Tuesday, September 9, 2008

legato... ?

My eight year old piano student asked me today what legato means. I told her that it means, `smooth and even playing, without any noticeable break between the notes.´ I showed her how to do it, in the hope that she will understand what it means. But she did not. She just sat there.... with a blank stare.

Sometimes, being a piano teacher in a foreign land can be so frustrating. It feels like you are not in your own house, although you are! I really wanted to tell her more about legato passages, but I simply couldn't. I felt I needed another 10 years in a Dutch language school!

To make up for that rotten feeling, I went over my CDs and listened to Leonard Bernstein's recording of Le Sacre du printempts. I needed to go away from that confronting, fleeting reality.

Such is the beauty of music. The moment you play it, a story is being narrated to you. This narration gives you the essence of an event and the causal sequence of the story. It captures the concreteness of the present moment, without necessarily imagining it in concrete scenes. And most of all, it discovers the drama that underlies our lives. A single second of the present then, becomes a little infinity.

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