This month, it has been my great joy to be the conference artist at two State Music Teachers conferences - Iowa and Pennsylvania.
Even though I do not have a studio, do not have regular students, I must have a deep-seated desire to be a teacher because I truly enjoy being part of these conferences.
In both places, I had the opportunity to cover the entire spectrum of audience interaction - recital, masterclass, lecture. The experience is invaluable for me as an artist; there is so much information about a performance that I have a hard time holding back during a recital - biographical information about the composers, historical context, my own personal struggles to prepare a program, my reasoning behind a particular programmatic structure and repertoire - I really spend a lot of time EDITING what I end up talking about during the performance so that I don't turn it into a didactic, boring lecture.
On the other hand, to be invited to actually lecture about a particular subject, like Emotional Practicing or Stage Fright, is a license for me to really develop that kind of material in a deep way that I could never do in during a performance. Or even a masterclass.
The masterclass fills in the gap between the two, allowing me to demonstrate in real-time the applications of some of the abstract philosophy behind my approach to playing and working.
Seeing the dedication of the piano teachers who are providing the network of music appreciation and application around the country is inspiring. These are the people who are creating the audiences of tomorrow. My thanks goes out to them, sincerely, for the important work that they are doing.
NOTE: The Pennsylvania MTA received an unexpected and important legacy donation which will keep them afloat for decades! I hope the erasure of financial concerns for their group inspires them to do the kind of advocacy work that we really need today - music education, music appreciation, live performance. There really is nothing that can take the place of making music.