Thank You for my teacher of the piano. My dearest friend Linda has announced the Time Machine Challenge and I can not miss the flight. So let me activate the machine teleport section and invite you to my journey!
The Port 1980. I am a young girl as you see on the painting by George Goodwin Kilburn “Piano Practice”. The piano is Miracle for me. I am touching its keys with trembling little fingers and sounds are wonderful. Oh, the piano sounds are my wings, I am flying.
Angry music conductor’s voice I am hearing in my ears – “Do not touch the piano. It is forbidden in the kinder garden”. But my dream has just born. It is just in the right time. My dream is to play the piano all my life. With hopeful heart I am looking forward the time when I will study in the musical school.
The Port 1984. I am in the musical school. It was not difficult to attend. After elementary intonation and rhythm tests I am here. You see below the painting “The first piano lesson” by Jules-Alexis Mueller.
This is my second piano lesson. I do not want to play the piano anymore. My dreams about happy sounds gone with my teacher’s loud words: “You are lazy and stupid”. I feel this heavy space in the class after my diagnosis. There are no rooms for colourful notes and dancing treble clef. Black and white keys, black and white notes in a music sheets are in my tears.
My teacher of the piano is old. Actually he is 58 y.o. but when you are 6 y.o. – 58 y.o. is almost ancient age. Soviet Moscow Conservatory gifted me my teacher. (In the portal 1984 I simply do not know that he is my gift.) He is devoted Communist. Oh, I am really lucky that the Communist Party had approved almost all classic composers. I play Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Beethoven’s marches and Mozart’s sonatas.
The question is how I am learned to play the piano. The teaching methods are cruel, repressive and harmful. In the teacher’s opinion I am infected with the seeds of laziness and I have no horizons to archive. “You will never become a pianist. My aim is to toughen you for later life and to instrumentalize your senses in favor of Communism builder’s functions” my teacher said.
So, I am going to be Communism builder. Daily 3 practicing hours of scales and accords help me – my teacher is sure. I hate my teacher of the piano. I hate his “black pedagogy”.
“Aaaaaaa, I can not hold it! Stop-stop it immediately. You are mediocracy! Your playing is horror for me. Beethoven was the favourite Lenin’s composer. And you are asking me about pink and romantic Schumann. No, no and no!” – the mentor chooses the repertoire for me.
The Port 1989. The painter Leighton Edmund Blair in his “The Piano Lesson” expresses my teacher’s shock. The last year before the college has just begun and I announced that I am going to the pianistic department. I am playing Serious Variations by Mendelssohn I have learned in summer by myself.
I must study in the musical college, the pianistic department, I decide.
“Ha-ha-ha, girl, what allows you to think you are suitable for this department? Do you know that even if you will start to practice at 5.30 every morning, you are not going to be accepted, because you are untalented. Just agree and accept this fact!” – I try to keep my tears inside my eyes. I am strong and hard as stone.
“Black pedagogy” is an approach that is directed toward breaking the will of a child, in order to make it an obedient subject, with the aid of open or concealed use of force, manipulation, and repression.” My teacher is the virtuoso in this field.
This year is tough. My mother has got married the second time. At 5.30 at mornings I have a possibility just to sit and see the keys of the piano not touching its, due to my stepfather, Afghanistan survivor with damaged brain, hates the sounds. By the way he is the second motivator to leave my family.
My teethes are clenched, my tears are drained. I feel and I respect my own will.
“Listen, pupil, if you will be accepted to the college I install your golden bust near the entrance to this school by my own hands” – my teacher “promises” me the award. “Oh, poor great composers, they are whirling up and down in their coffins endlessly when you play” – my teacher “supports” me.
The Port 1990. I am trembling near the door. I will play the entrance program when it opens. I am playing etude, prelude and fuga, sonata and piece. Everything goes very well. Good technique, smooth sound, relevant penalisation are demonstrated. I know it.
I am accepted to the pianistic department in the musical college!!! The new beautiful exiting life opens its door for me.
I have never seen my good bad teacher after the entrance exam. I have no strength to meet him again…
2015. We are here now. My conclusions about this time journey are optimistic. Communist Party means nothing in this story – in every society mediocre man has a defined social role. “Black Pedagogy” may be effective but risky. To repress the will of a child is possible when you see something bigger than your “repression” in this soul. My teacher saw it. He knew he was hated by my heart and bones. He paid this heavy price for my future.
Through years of flying on the wings of the sounds of the piano I understand that my excellent and brilliant teacher of the piano is the gift from the Sky. I am endlessly grateful for the cross of our destinies.
By the way no one from my own pupils has become a musician. My methods are too soft and my knowledge is based on humanitarian approach. So who is good? My teacher of the piano is.
The film “Whiplash” is about him. I recommend to watch it.
Thank you for this possibility to share my journey. We all must grow and mostly the way is hard and painful.