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#2239006 - 02/28/14 11:52 AM Former Teacher Inspires  
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 660
Forrest Halford Offline
500 Post Club Member
Forrest Halford  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 660
Bowling Green, KY
I studied with Sylvia Kersenbaum while pursuing my music degree. Here is a musician who can play pretty much what she wants.

Here is her website. Check out her work if you are so inclined.

After nearly 20 years of not playing (long story told somewhere else around here) I'm back taking lessons from a different teacher whom I really enjoy, and I spend my lunch hour catching a few minutes of time at the same practice rooms with the same (sometimes crappy) pianos that I practiced on as a student.

Sylvia retired a few years ago and no longer teaches, but she does still perform, recently playing the Beethoven 5th concerto and Brahms 2nd Concerto year before last as well as solo concerts.

The part about her being an inspiration is this... I often see her in the practice rooms, on the same crappy pianos the rest of us have to play on, and she's doing everything she required of us... scales, arpeggios, sections, hands separate practice, SLOW SLOW SLOW....

Yesterday, for instance I saw her practicing on an ancient Baldwin Hamilton upright with just the left hand thumb slowly... a descending line Ab3-G3-F3-Eb3, using exaggerated rotation. I knocked on the door and exchanged pleasantries and asked what she was working on..

She told me she was relearning the Chopin Ab Major Polonaise and was working the thumb alone because... 'once you have the thumb, the rest is easy'

uh... yeah.

I've asked her in the past why she comes 'up here' to practice instead of her grand piano at home and she says she likes the atmosphere and the young people and 'besides... if I can make music sound good on these pianos, a nice instrument becomes simple'

She always starts with scales - slowly - then Bach, then gets down to 'business'.

So ... when I start to think of reasons not to practice... :-)

Forrest




PTG Associate Member
Haydn Hob. XVI: 23 in F major
Debussy Arabesque #1
Bach BWV 874
My beliefs are only that unless I can prove them.
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#2239051 - 02/28/14 01:37 PM Re: Former Teacher Inspires [Re: Forrest Halford]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Andy Platt  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Virginia, USA
Awesome.

I remember reading a story about a famous pianist, but I can't remember which one now!, who was practicing so slowly that other students were laughing. When he came out of the practice room and they saw who it was they were dumfounded.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#2239465 - 03/01/14 10:19 AM Re: Former Teacher Inspires [Re: Forrest Halford]  
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Peter K. Mose Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Peter K. Mose  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 2,014
Toronto, Ontario
Wonderful anecdote. Thanks for telling us about this fine pianist!

#2239534 - 03/01/14 12:57 PM Re: Former Teacher Inspires [Re: Forrest Halford]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,248
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Pathbreaker  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,248
Massachusetts
This is a wonderful story, thanks! I remember using University practice rooms when I was not in the music program and I was very self-conscious about my practice sessions. I didn't really have a clue how most people practice.

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