Guest post by Simon Reich
PATHWAYS FOR LIVING • Feature by ANDREW EALES
Setting our Piano Journey in its Living Context.
Unless you lived in a humidified bubble, away from sharp objects and potential harmful items, injuries are part of life.
The response to my invitation for stories and anecdotes regarding incidents that may have curtailed your piano playing or ended your musical career altogether was overwhelming. As I was therefore unable to squeeze the material into one blog, I’ve been compelled to write a second part to You Can’t Stop the Music.
Just to reiterate, the injuries were not necessarily musically acquired, but things as simple as falling off a bike, crushing fingers between two bricks or hurting your back slipping down a flight of stairs.
Amazingly, after writing the first article, I found out my mum has some nerve problems in her fingers.
She told me that as children, her siblings would melt wax on their fingertips and when cooled to dry, play the piano as a fun alternative to the standard method! This was the way she described how playing the piano keyboard now felt. It hasn’t stopped her from performing but it’s certainly put a spanner in the works of eliciting dynamics and feeling to her performances.
Continue reading Stories of Recovery
How your creative outlet survives an injury…
Guest Post by Simon Reich
Putting a brand new blade in a window scraper demanded concentration, as the surgically sharp implement would slice the end of a finger off in a millisecond. Unfortunately I didn’t give my scraper the respect it demanded…
While trying to multitask, taking a mobile phone call (with it wedged between my chin and shoulder), holding the scraper, and attempting to close the back door of my van, I accidentally sliced so deeply into my left hand, that I could see my bones and severed tendons.
Although not feeling pain straight away, the sight of the inner workings of my hand caused me to collapse onto the footpath, holding my skin together to stem the flow of blood.
As I sat in the back of an ambulance, it suddenly dawned on me I may never play piano again.
The paramedics informed me that because the blade was brand new and incredibly sharp, the cut would have made a surgeon proud. Amazingly I was still not feeling pain in my hand, but the thought of losing my musical outlet was causing me enough ache as it was. I knew this situation only too well, as my brother (while serving a cabinetmaking apprenticeship) lost three fingers to an electric wood buzzer. This severely curtailed his drumming career.
Continue reading You can’t stop the music
What can piano teachers learn from stepping into the shoes of the beginner and taking up a new skill or pastime?
Quite a lot, in my experience…
Like many adults, I periodically look to introduce a new discipline or hobby into my life. And as a teacher, it is always fascinating to put myself in the position of student.
The latest activity to find its way onto my list of exploits is Pilates, the exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates and often mentioned in the same breath as Yoga (though I think, quite different!)
This lot are learning Pilates too. They look happy, don’t they?
And certainly I was hoping that I would find Pilates enjoyable – and hopefully beneficial for my health and fitness too.
And inevitably I also hoped that putting myself in the shoes of the complete beginner, there would be teaching parallels that I could reflect on, and which would give me fresh insight.
In this post I am going to list a few observations I made, followed by questions for self-reflection which make connections to piano teaching.
Continue reading Returning to Learning