Your very best memory as a pianist.?

Posted by: Sandra M

Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 08:00 AM

My best memory was when a Steinway concert artist was my new teacher and he wrote excellent on my first performance sheet music when I ended the selection. I was shocked and so very happy. Sandra M...
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 09:42 AM

Mine was my very first performance ever. I performed Maple Leaf Rag on a 7 foot Schimmel for my Beginner Piano class in 10th grad. The teacher was so impressed. It was really a good day for me.

Besides good performances, I don't really just have a truck full of good memories to go sifting through... but I CAN mention a good general experience. I love when I learn a 'clustered' piece and I get to reveal how the composer has created this sound note by note. Getting to look at all the nooks and crannies of the piece. And what seemed like a blur of sound turns into of bunch of details that you are now conscious of. THAT feeling is amazing.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 11:59 AM

Mine was when I gave a lecture-recital to the staff at a hospital about 10 years ago. It was back to basics, and I assumed nobody knew anything about classical music (though it turned out a nurse there played the flute). I put together some tuneful pieces (starting with Bach), including a few transcriptions I made myself of orchestral and opera excerpts, and songs (including Mozart's K550 and arias from his and Puccini's operas, and Schubert's An die Musik - following Gerald Moore's example), plus talking about how music evolved through the centuries, and ending with Rachmaninoff's G minor Prelude.

Normally those lectures (on all sorts of non-medical subjects, from photography to gardening) at the hospital don't elicit applause, but I was treated to a long one (despite over-running my allotted time by half an hour); but even more heartening was when several people came up to me afterwards to say that they've been inspired to start listening to classical music, and asked me to recommend some CD recordings, especially of the music I'd played.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 12:37 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
Mine was when I gave a lecture-recital to the staff at a hospital about 10 years ago. It was back to basics, and I assumed nobody knew anything about classical music (though it turned out a nurse there played the flute). I put together some tuneful pieces (starting with Bach), including a few transcriptions I made myself of orchestral and opera excerpts, and songs (including Mozart's K550 and arias from his and Puccini's operas, and Schubert's An die Musik - following Gerald Moore's example), plus talking about how music evolved through the centuries, and ending with Rachmaninoff's G minor Prelude.

Normally those lectures (on all sorts of non-medical subjects, from photography to gardening) at the hospital don't elicit applause, but I was treated to a long one (despite over-running my allotted time by half an hour); but even more heartening was when several people came up to me afterwards to say that they've been inspired to start listening to classical music, and asked me to recommend some CD recordings, especially of the music I'd played.


That's excellent!!! It's a great way to get people interested in this genre. It's too bad that most folk think listening to classical music is like a punishment. But it's like learning to read - once you get through the stage of learning the alphabet and take the time to go through that sometimes tedious process, you can enjoy so many captivating books and it opens up a completely new world. And with this, I feel it's similar... you have to take a bit of time and have patience to understand some of the more complex music (sometimes not! Anyone can enjoy a Chopin nocturne), and experiencing this music takes on a new level of enrichment. It allows you to feel such a wonderful range of emotions, which is the essence of being human... and we all strive to find this almost spiritual but imperative particle of life.

Oops, didn't mean to rant.

My greatest experience..... well there are a few, and they're mostly too personal to share. But a certain performance comes to mind, Prokofiev op. 80, at the most beautiful hall on the most beautiful Hamburg Steinway, with some of the most inspiring musicians in the audience. At my favorite place in the world. That was quite special for me.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 01:13 PM

When I become a pianist, I'll let you know.

Regards,
Posted by: LiorMoskoPiano

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 03:01 PM

When I played 2 years I entered a piano compotition and play liszt liebestraum and debussy clair de lune, and I played it quite alright, and when I was done one of the jury stood up and said "I think there is a mistake it is wrriten that ur playing for 2 years" and I felt so proud!!
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 03:03 PM

I thought you'd never ask...I was six years old. I had on a red and white taffeta striped dress, black Mary Janes with lacy socks and a head full of Shirley Temple curls. I played that memorable classic "The Waltz of the Toys" and rose from the bench to thunderous applause. I sez to myself: "Wow, this is the life for me!!" The rest is history...
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 03:38 PM

I played Chopin's Barcarolle for a talent show in my senior year of high school. I heard a feigned snoring sound at the beginning as I started the swaying left hand figure, but pretty soon everyone was silent, until the end when I got an ovation unlike anything I could have expected. Hardly any of them had any idea of my capabilities until I played for them on stage, and from then on everything was totally different there..
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 04:18 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I played Chopin's Barcarolle for a talent show in my senior year of high school. I heard a feigned snoring sound at the beginning as I started the swaying left hand figure, but pretty soon everyone was silent, until the end when I got an ovation unlike anything I could have expected. Hardly any of them had any idea of my capabilities until I played for them on stage, and from then on everything was totally different there..


Do you have any recordings?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 05:41 PM

Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
I played Chopin's Barcarolle for a talent show in my senior year of high school. I heard a feigned snoring sound at the beginning as I started the swaying left hand figure, but pretty soon everyone was silent, until the end when I got an ovation unlike anything I could have expected. Hardly any of them had any idea of my capabilities until I played for them on stage, and from then on everything was totally different there.
That is very moving story, and it reminded me of two somewhat similar stories.

1. At the all boys high school I used to teach at one of the students who was, unknown to most I think, a serious ballet/dance student did a solo ballet performance at some kind of assembly and the students went crazy.

2. Although I'm guessing the students at this high school graduation already knew about this cellist's phenomenal talent, their rapt silence and tremendous applause is very exciting to witness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCLDsY8izIM

Chan's YouTube site is quite amazing. He is presently in the joint Columbia-Julliard program (like Conrad Tao).

http://www.youtube.com/user/nathanchancello?feature=watch
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus


2. Although I'm guessing the students at this high school graduation already knew about this cellist's phenomenal talent, their rapt silence and tremendous applause is very exciting to witness:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCLDsY8izIM

Chan's YouTube site is quite amazing. He is presently in the joint Columbia-Julliard program (like Conrad Tao).


One of my friends (cellist) knows Nathan Chan very well!

I played some 2nd movement of a cello sonata with her at my high school's baccalaureate ceremony but the applause was nothing out of the ordinary frown

Some part of me kinda wishes I played something extremely flashy to shock the audience (no one knew I played piano). I didn't for a reason, but I kinda wanted to see the look on people's faces if I had.
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 06:33 PM

Hello and I am smiling reading your stories of your best memories as a pianist as they warm my heart. Thank you and please tell more. If you are not concert level please share too. I jumped ship at the door of advanced classical piano and went to one year of improv lessons and another year of jazz. I wanted to create more than go to concert level of classical piano. The Steinway concert artist I studied with was off the curcuit for a year and was hired by me, Brian Brooks, and he taught me more advanced techniques of playing and listened to my improv to give me pointers to advance. The selection I played for him Unchained Melody which is easy as you know but note for note as he wanted to know what level I was he told me. After that I played mostly Big Band, my own improv and he gave me excellent information. I love hearing the advanced classical performers and so appreciate you. Sandra M
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 06:45 PM

Love your story and still laughing out loud as
I relate. That was a life changing moment for you and thank you for sharing. Sandra M
Posted by: Whizbang

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 09:10 PM

Okay, Sandra M, I give.

This is a refreshing type of thread to see in Pianist Corner.

This is more of an Adult Beginner forum thing, but maybe my best experience at the piano has been that, recently, after literally decades of believing I was incapable of memorizing music, I -forced- myself over the course of a year to memorize a trifle of a rag, James Scott's "Ophelia Rag," including a complete custom variation of the B section (which I also had never done before).

I don't even know how to communicate it to you guys, because I think this will be foreign to the folks who frequent this particular forum:

What this means is

1) if I'm around a piano
2) and the topic of piano comes up
3) and I mention that I can play piano
4) and someone asks me to play something
5) instead of being looked at with raised and skeptical eyebrow if I say "I can play the piano but I can't play a single note without printed music" [which was literally true]
6) I get to *try* to play something and might be able to do it, if I am fortunate enough to master crippling performance jitters that day (see other thread)

I guess it gave me ... hope?

Regardless, it was a good and memorable day when I played it through.

Small steps.
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 10:43 PM

Three years ago. I played Chopin's Op. 15, No.2 in a recital. It was the first time I had played publicly in 40 years. (Up until a few years before this recital I didn't own a piano, hadn't played since high school and thought I would probably never play again.)
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 11:14 PM

When I was asked to switch places with the conductor!
Posted by: Derulux

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/06/13 11:36 PM

Two stories, actually:

1. Senior year in high school, playing Victor Borge's arrangement of the Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 with someone who was a close friend at the time. (Then, doing some of our own stuff afterwards.)

2. Performing the Rach 2 with Drexel University's string ensemble 8 years ago. Still one of my favorite moments. I love performing with a group, because it adds so much to the music when you are the performer. When listening, I don't really have a preference, but when playing, I would much rather play with an orchestra than perform solo. I just love the way the piano sound fits into the orchestra. smile
Posted by: Ted

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/07/13 05:40 AM

The first time I heard the freedom and transporting power of really good improvisation first-hand. It was at my audition for lessons with my second teacher, and after rather sad reactions to my playing pieces he sat down and produced this astonishing sound while I stared despondently out the window, waiting for the rejection. The music flew deeply into my brain. Traumatic learning.

"What on earth was that ?"
"Don't know, wouldn't have a clue."
Then after an uncomfortably long, staring pause, "I suppose I had better take you on then."
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 01:30 AM

I finally gave a performance which I'm pretty satisfied with. I will post recordings soon - Chopin's 4th Ballade, Schumann-Liszt "Widmung" and Ravel's Pavane pour une infante defunte. Un Sospiro wasn't great so that won't show up here..
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 02:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I finally gave a performance which I'm pretty satisfied with.


Hahahaha I know that feel, even though I haven't given a performance which I'm satisfied with yet, but I've gotten close. Can't wait for the day...
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 06:28 AM

Originally Posted By: trigalg693
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I finally gave a performance which I'm pretty satisfied with.


Hahahaha I know that feel, even though I haven't given a performance which I'm satisfied with yet, but I've gotten close. Can't wait for the day...

Hahaa, I think my standards are getting lower, because I'm not able to study music regularly. But I think what I felt from the audience while performing, and also from listening to the subsequent recordings, was a good presentation of the music, and a sense of communication between myself and the listener. I've sort of given up on trying to hit right notes anymore laugh.
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 06:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I've sort of given up on trying to hit right notes anymore laugh.


LOL I'm exactly the same. I played a recital with Scriabin 2,5 and a Liszt etude and I had 3 memory slips and my fingers completely failed in the second movement of Scriabin 2, but I didn't think it was too horrible and the audience seemed to love it. Then I went back and listened to some of my old recordings that I thought were equally horrible, but to my surprise they sounded extremely clean and masterful. I couldn't even pick out all the wrong notes anymore.

These days I'm just really happy if I can pound out the pieces with no memory slips, and not more than a few very obvious wrong notes.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I've sort of given up on trying to hit right notes anymore laugh.


Me too!! I'm at the point where I'll run through something in tempo, and be like... "eh.. close enough." Basically if I don't collapse, it's been a good day.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 10:29 AM

I would say my very best is when I was 15, and playing the accompaniment to Vaughan William's Songs of Travel cycle at home. My grandfather lived with us and he came into the living room when I had finished "I have trod the upward and the downward slope" and said to me, "You know you really play beautifully." He died soon after that, but his unsolicited words meant the world to me.
Posted by: stores

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 05:27 PM

My best memory as a pianist is not really a pianistic memory so to speak, nor is it a singular happening, but a recurring one that I'm lucky enough to have visited upon me on a daily basis. When I'm finished practising, my best little friend comes and jumps up in my lap...stretches out... paws on either side of my neck and covers my face in sweet little kisses. No memory I've had as a pianist comes close to those moments.
Posted by: carey

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 05:35 PM

Originally Posted By: stores
My best memory as a pianist is not really a pianistic memory so to speak, nor is it a singular happening, but a recurring one that I'm lucky enough to have visited upon me on a daily basis. When I'm finished practising, my best little friend comes and jumps up in my lap...stretches out... paws on either side of my neck and covers my face in sweet little kisses. No memory I've had as a pianist comes close to those moments.


We all could use little friends like that !!!!! thumb
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/08/13 06:11 PM

Thirty some years ago I was a jazz pianist in a military big band. We played a concert close to where we all lived and I didn't expect this woman to show up. We had dated for a while and then went our separate ways. It was a beautiful summer evening and during the concert this beautiful creature in a thin summer dress stood in front of the band and made eye contact with me. That made my evening.



Posted by: John Pels

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/09/13 02:03 AM

Two fabulous days in my personal annals of piano playing. The first was playing a master class for Eugene List which was a little strange because it was set up as theatre in the round. The lid was off the piano and spatially it sounded strange to me. I played the Ginastera Sonata and Eugene turned to me and said "That was just the way it should be played!" "Would you please play us the last movement one more time?" I obliged. The second was playing the Tchaikowsky concerto with the college orchestra which was to me a life experience only eclipsed by witnessing the birth of my two kids. Accompanying my wife in the 4 Last Songs of Strauss is always an emotional rush of grand proportions especially the 3rd song. You have to have been happily married for a good many years to apprehend why.

Good times indeed. Music is just too marvelous for words sometimes.
Posted by: wr

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/09/13 06:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.

My greatest experience..... well there are a few, and they're mostly too personal to share.


Speaking of "too personal to share" - I typed up a response for this thread last night, and it made me burst into tears. After that, I thought, "Well, no, I guess I can't post that."
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/09/13 06:36 AM

Actually, I'd say my best was playing a Steinway D for the first time.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/09/13 08:47 AM

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.

My greatest experience..... well there are a few, and they're mostly too personal to share.


Speaking of "too personal to share" - I typed up a response for this thread last night, and it made me burst into tears. After that, I thought, "Well, no, I guess I can't post that."


Yes that's it! I completely understand. Those stories that I have are perhaps the ones I wouldn't really tell anyone about..
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Your very best memory as a pianist.? - 02/09/13 08:11 PM

I suppose my best moment was when I overheard my husband refer to me as a "pianist," not an appellation I deserve, but one gets one's strokes when one can.

My most memorable moment occurred when I was ten and my piano teacher's husband broke into our lesson announcing that President Kennedy had been pronounced dead.