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By Carol Montparker

Those intensely own and perceptive essays discover the author's lifestyles as a pianist - training, acting, instructing and writing - yet they can be the suggestions and reflections of any artist. They recount the demanding situations, rewards and joys of her stories in her selected career.

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Extra resources for A Pianist's Landscape

Sample text

It is an illusory thing that cannot be taught, yet can possibly be copied if perceived in others. I have students who can sit through a sibling's lesson in the same room and read a book or do their homework. I could not. I cannot read with music playing, nor can I read at the beach or in the garden, because invariably I find I'd rather be contemplating the sky, water, or trees. When I sit down to work at the piano, I must have certain prerequisites before I can begin to concentrate. Unlike Saul Bellow who said "I like to think of writing as an achievement of stillness in the middle of chaos," if there is the slightest disorder in my work space, I go about the room straightening it out.

When something stupid happens. I haven't figured out who I'm shouting at: my hands? the muses? God? When I do find the rare entire day to work at the piano without a concert pending, a quirky, evasive mechanism sometimes occurs: the sense of luxury renders me inert until I can decide how to spend the precious hours. Deciding how to spend found time is as hard as finding the time! Occasionally I have a fifteen-minute hiatus between lessons, and even that takes on a precious quality, particularly if I sit down at the piano.

Do you think I can always concentrate? " he insisted with an emphatic sympathy. It was a great comfort at the time. Yet there are artists who can stay at the piano eight to ten hours daily, no matter what. They can obviate all else, apparently, and if they can escape the physical abuse to their bodies, that gives them a great advantage. Some artists need more time than others; their physical apparatus requires more repetition to absorb new patterns. I have heard stories of pianists who practiced a thorny passage hundreds of times while reading a novel propped up on the piano.

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