Christina and Ms. Pam
Earlier this evening, high school senior Christina performed a full-length solo piano recital at Piano Works in Duluth. It was, in a word, amazing.
She is not your typical piano student. She taught herself to play the piano using a software program on her family's home computer. When she felt she could go no further on her own, she came to me, beginning lessons in early 2010.
By that time, she had developed solid note reading skills and her playing was instinctively musical and sensitive. Since then, we have worked on some of the finer points of piano playing: pedal use, complex/syncopated rhythms, phrasing, balance. I have even introduced her to a few pieces of classical music. She played C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto in NFMC Federated Festival in February, earning her a Superior rating.
But she has grown to love neoclassical music - by the likes of Joseph Akins, Stanton Lanier, and David Nevue. Their work was well represented in her repertoire tonight - a recital she planned all by herself, from its conception to the selections chosen to the cover of her beautiful printed program.
She played with confidence and style, introducing herself at the beginning of the evening and talking a little bit about each piece and what it meant to her before playing. Towards the end, she surprised me by performing some original music, a melody she called The Gift, dovetailed with Stanton Lanier's Captivating in a creative and beautiful way and dedicated to me. It was very touching, and brought tears to my eyes. But my tears quickly turned to laughter as we capped off the show with a duet performance of CS Theme and Variations by Randall Compton.
It was a night I will never forget - and it reminded me how very blessed I am to be a piano teacher and to work with motivated and hardworking students like Christina, who light up my studio every time they walk into it and who make my work seem more like play.