A Coda of Thanks
A few days ago, as I was entering the building for a day of teaching, a visitor who had just finished eating breakfast at the FFA event saw me and said, “Are you still here?” The answer is YES, for a few more weeks. Lessons will officially end on May 9th and a piano marathon event is scheduled a few days before that in the IMS studio on Saturday, May 6th. Students will be signing up for times and anyone is welcome to come to the north end of the hall and experience as much or as little piano playing as you like that day.
To all who attended my farewell piano recital, Journeys, on March 18th, and to those who sent notes and prayers of encouragement as well as the many donations that purchased the piano in the studio so that the piano tradition at IMS will continue for years to come, a huge thank you!
I continue to be amazed at the way pianists at IMS are supported. Since 1992, almost one hundred student pianists have shared some type of senior recital or coffeehouse event. And since 1989, hundreds of undergraduates have participated in all kinds of marathons, festivals, competitions, accompanying choir, etc. Every time a pianist stepped forward to bravely play in front of family and friends and sometimes, even strangers, they grew in confidence and certainly, they felt the warmth of this community that gave them unconditional love as they savored the music.
Recently, I reviewed a book for the piano magazine, Clavier Companion. Titled, The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students’ Natural Development by Barbara Kreader Skalinder, it quotes one of the giants of 20th century piano pedagogy, Frances Clark. Her philosophy was:“Meet the students where they are; not where you are, and not where you want them to be, but where they really are.” It is probably one of my most important life lessons, although sometimes, even now, I find myself not heeding that wisdom. But when I do remind myself of this truth, it is coupled with the knowledge that I learned it not from a book or a graduate class; rather from the hundreds and hundreds of students who have been my best teachers! I am thankful, grateful, and blessed.
One of my favorite hymns reinforces how this community feels about music.
And may God give us faith to sing always: Alleluia!
Some people have asked about a cd or dvd of the Journeys concert. A few extra copies have been ordered and will be available at cost. Let the office know of your interest. And looking ahead, I know you will all welcome the next resident piano instructor, Dr. Jason Sifford of Iowa City. Jason is highly respected not only in the state of Iowa, but nationally for his compositions written especially for students. He is excited about leading the piano program here. Watch for upcoming announcements regarding lessons and registration.
Susan See, resident piano instructor