I’m wrapping up a week of visiting Renfrew, Ontario where I’ve been adjudicating at their local music festival and where I also performed a solo piano recital this past Tuesday. Like most towns in Canada, the people here are most kind and appreciative of so-called experts like me working with their local piano kids and helping them hone their skills and help nurture a love for music. But it’s not just kids that seem to be impacted by what I do…and it’s not just the students that get impacted.
My last class this Thursday afternoon was an adult student class. It’s rare to see adult piano students perform in music festivals (usually the domain of children). But it is a positive thing to see more festivals offer adult classes these days. I saw the adult student’s name in the program and didn’t think much of it. Then the class arrived and the gentleman stood in front of me and it hit me like a bolt of lightening… This is someone that I have seen from time to time on TV! A gentleman of extreme intelligence who presents viewpoints in the most profound manner that both engages and enlightens me. A person who I have always respected. A stranger…up to that point.
He sat at the piano and played Bach’s famous C Major Prelude quite competently. We discussed the structure of the composition, my own personal experiences of performing the piece, the universality of its beauty and of course I gave him a few pointers in piano technique and interpretation. Based on his demeanour during our 10-minute encounter and much to my surprise, it quickly became clear that he regarded me as “the expert” and I was someone that he was looking to for perspective and guidance. Maintaining an aura of professionalism, I never revealed my admiration for what he does and who he was.
Because of this episode, I was filled with 3 thoughts.
1. Musicians are highly regarded.
2. No matter how much stature one might have in their field, music has the ability to make them feel vulnerable, special, and look at the world with a whole new sense of wonder.
3. As much wealth and fame as many “successful” people have, they would probably do anything to have what I have.