Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Friday, March 2, 2012

First recital attendance for one of my teachers

I attended a Doctor of Musical Arts Chamber Recital yesterday for a pianist at the university so I could watch my teacher Clayton perform Trio in A Minor for Clarinet, cello, and piano, Op. 114. 

It was the first time I'd watched my teacher perform and he was simply AMAZING! I mean...WOW...he was just...WOW... breathtaking...
I can't wait to attend one of his own recitals so I can see exactly what he's capable of because he definitely was not playing too his full potential/capability. Not that he didn't play well (his technique was excellent and he sounded wonderful), but I had the feeling that he could have played a piece that was MUCH more difficult and with more abandon, and this was just child's play for him!

Okay, I have to admit that sounded extremely biased with a bit of hero-worship thrown in! LOL! ;). But really, IMHO - being completely honest!

Of course, I've heard him play during my lesson, but that doesn't count, since playing a drone or showing me how to play something doesn't show someone's true ability or their musicianship. Although I almost wish I hadn't seen this recital because now I think I may be a little bit intimidated by him!
Ugh - if I start feeling anxious and nervous during my lessons with him I'm going to be really unhappy...

What's interesting is that I didn't listen to classical music until I started playing the cello a year ago, so none of the pieces were familiar to me. However, I could recognize and hear when the rhythm was off and how good the musicians were by their body movement and how relaxed they were.

For example, during the second performance with two pianists, a man and a women (I don't want to use names in case they stumble across my blog) played Concerto in D Minor for Two Pianos. I could tell the women was a much better pianist than the man because her posture and body movement was much more relaxed, and I also thought she was much more rhythmical. Later, I asked my husband what he thought and he said the women definitely outplayed the guy.
My husband was familiar with the pieces played at the recital, has a better sense of rhythm than I do, and also has perfect pitch (yes, he's been tested). Not that he's an expert either, but if it's noticeable to a beginner newb like me, I wonder how noticeable it is in my own playing... ugh, that's a horrible thought! Yikes!

Anyway, when my teacher played, his body movement was really relaxed and he also had that certain poise that individuals get when they're comfortable, confident and have developed the proper skills to attain the outcome(s) they want. I was kind of surprised that he had that quality - I knew he was good, but I didn't know he had reached that level! I don't see that poise of confidence with the skills to back it often...very unexpected...

Clayton was definitely the best player out of the group, and I'm not just saying that because he's my teacher. I think I'd be more prone to criticism towards him because I expect more from my teachers! Lol! :). Actually there was 1 out of the 4 movements, I could tell he wasn't 'as comfortable' with because he was a little bit more "tense" and it wasn't because of the tempo either.

Also, he is currently using his teacher's cello because he's waiting for his cello to be made, so I wonder what type of sound he'll gravitate towards once he receives his cello and gets it setup. He definitely produces a sound that is quite different than my other teacher Adam. Those two...they're so alike, yet so different! Comparing apples to oranges, or Yo-Yo Mas to Janos Starkers.

Anyway, it was really fun seeing him in his element - Clayton never ceases to amaze me! Wow, very inspiring! Time to go practice some cello! :D


  1. Seems like you like this teacher more than your other one... You might progress faster with just one... Just a thought....

  2. I don't know....I get great stuff from both teachers - I'm selfish that way!! :).

    Honestly, this is the first time I've ever heard Clayton perform and was completely blown away by his performance, and I don't even think that was the best he could do! I did have a very similar reaction the first time I heard Adam play, but I don't think I blogged about it...too bad because I'd love to compare my notes!

    As far as musical tastes go, I think Clayton just understands me better since we both like jazz and alternative cello music, and right now, my focus is in that direction - though my music tastes are fairly fickle! ;).

  3. >> I think Clayton just understands me better ...

    That's why I think you might be better off with him... I get the sense that he pushes you more... I noticed that there are 2 thoughts on Suzuki instruction... Some like to drill down till the piece is perfect while other teachers like to push through pieces more quickly with the idea that when you revisit the piece later, you will play it better...

    Clayton seems to push you more.... Adam seems to be of the other camp... I tend to get bored being stuck on the same piece for a while...

    1. Yee, you are an evil genius… you seem to read between my lines fairly well. ;).

      It’s complicated though -
      Clayton plans on moving out of state after he graduates this year and he’ll also be gone during the summer to perform in an out-of-state orchestra (IF he gets accepted, which I’m sure he will).
      Currently, I’m taking cello lessons through the university with Adam to get some elective credits, so I have to finish up the semester anyway.

      I definitely want to get as much from Clayton before he leaves, there aren’t many cellists who have a good understanding of jazz (since he used to play the double bass), and has played a wide range of genres. Clayton definitely is a WEALTH of information, but I also don’t want to offend Adam by focusing my studies with Clayton when he’s available. I only have a year before he leaves!! :(((.

      Clayton is also Suzuki certified and has more years of teaching experience, but Adam is relateively new to teaching. That being said, I think Adam is a natural teacher but is lacking the experience (which is easily remedied), although Adam has told me that he wants to pursue a solo career rather than teach.

      If you’re wondering, Clayton reminds me, and sounds more like, Janos Starker with the current cello he’s playing. Clayton is quite the wonderful technician, musician and teacher, and is also a great innovator. He is just SOOOO AMAZING!!! I would love to have his technical and creative facility in cello!
      While Adam sounds and is more like Yo-Yo Ma, a solo artist with a great sound who has a passionate heart and enthusiasm for learning and understanding the art of cello. And even though Adam doesn’t want to pursue teaching (YET – I’ll convince him otherwise!), he has already taught me so much! Adam plans on staying local with his fiancee, so I know long term I can count on him.

      You are SOOOO getting me into “trouble” for posting this reply since I think Adam now follows my blog! ;).

      By the way, how long have you been playing? You pick up on good observations… =p

  4. Playing for 2 years come the end of July... And same as you, no musical background...

    Sorry if I get you in trouble with your teacher... Everyone's learning experience is different... I just noticed that Adam lets you go off on tangents sometimes... I think it slows you down, but you may need that to keep involved in the learning process... As long as you are progressing and are happy with your pace, that's all that matters :-)