American piano legend Byron Janis admits that even an experienced teacher can't predict what works
American piano legend Byron Janis recently published his memoirs, and is trying to get some publicity in the best possible way, by sharing his thoughts and experience with anyone who will listen or publish.
He wrote a great reminiscence of the student-teacher relationship in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. It's well worth reading.
Janis ends with this observation:
I once had a gifted young student who became a wonderful pianist, but the artist in her needed to be developed. I couldn't find a way to free her. One day, I happened to ask if she always walked home the same way. "Yes," she replied. I suggested taking different routes: "You'll make new discoveries. It will be fun."
Within a month, I heard signs of the artist emerging. That simple suggestion seemed to touch the right nerve and her playing started showing signs of freedom. I was amazed. Strange—teachers never can predict what works.