A friend of mine recently asked me to suggest some piano etudes he could give his son for Christmas – something to help improve technique. His son is an excellent musician – with an advanced degree in oboe from a major music school. He has recently bought a piano and now wants to become a better pianist.
As I was thinking about composers and music to suggest, I also thought about how many of us take for granted things like music lessons or buying sheet music or scores. My parents had very little money when I was growing up, but my mother was determined that her children would have piano lessons. Those early music lessons awakened a lifelong passion for music, which was strengthened by my elementary school music teacher. Mrs. Clark was a dynamic presence in our daily music classes! Yes- daily classes. Music was a regular part of the curriculum, something increasingly rare in elementary schools these days. She was talented, creative, a visionary, a motivator – she inspired us to want to do our best musically. And she produced knockout school musical productions that brought the entire community together. Continue reading