Gee, what generation have I turned into now? I am the younger generation, or at least I was until these last two or three have come along with their “unique
point of view. I am old enough to have a hard time remembering why the war in Vietnam had any impact on any other country but ours and France, and Canada as a haven.
I guess what this all boils down to is that students will hear what they want to hear, regardless of what or how the teacher says it. And then they’ll probably repeat it to someone else. So go reputations. If they would just be more open to learning. I hear it over and over from professors, nobody asks questions, nobody has any curiousity.
Does teaching require control? Some of you seem to question this. Well, a teenager came for a lesson, and she starting talking about her frustration and anxiety, and before you know it, she turned an hour-and-a-half lesson into more than an hour of chat, and very little lesson, all because she really didn’t want to work on that particular piece. Well, I have to control the time and how it is spent, and if he or she is going to compete as my student, I am responsible in part for his/her preparation, so I have to make sure the lesson is spent practicing that piece, if nothing else. Miss Lawrence was always in control, you did what she wanted, and you had better be prepared or face real embarassment. Did that make her a monster or ogre? No, it made her a truly great teacher, and the quality of her students has proved it over and over. A teacher has an agenda if they have thought about what they are teaching. I want to determine what harpists my students are listening to if they are in a formative stage of learning what the harp is, what its literature is and how it should sound. Students are very vulnerable for many years until they reach a reasonably complete conception of the harp and how to use it. Miss Lawrence excelled in teaching how to use it artistically, how to sculpt the sound, to control every bit of its color, to have a fulsome tone. For example, listen to the sound clips on Faye Seeman’s website, kitharatrio.com. You may hear a familiar piece, but there is so much more body and definition of detail in her playing. This is the result of her teaching. If you go to someone who studied elsewhere, you will hear a very different result in many cases. The harp is terribly difficult to make real music on. It is constantly in a state of diminuendo, which you have to work against to make crescendo. You have to simulate legato and other qualities of touch and articulation. You have to be very rhythmical because of the constant ringing. You have to know how to play arpeggiated chords very rhythmically, which you can hear a lot of harpists don’t do well. It is very difficult to play a piece in one tempo and to break the chords within the beat in a whole other subdivision, changing from beat to beat from five notes to seven, to eight or more.