Carol’s Intermittent Musings–Joy

3/31/21

Being alone on stage after a performance is like finding solitude in nature. The stillness remains if you enter in with reverence. For me, it is the most profound sort of joy.

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–Mountain Ranges

3/30/21

“My father’s hands hover over the keyboard next to mine. We’re playing four-hand music.

His were perfectly sculpted pianist’s hands, shaped for agility and coverage. They were also ‘soft’ hands, a term pianists use to mean having sensitivity to nuance, color, and tone. From my vantage point, the landscape of his hands–the knuckles, joints, and veins–resembled mountain ranges, The memory is a snapshot, a still life depicting twelve years of making music together.

Because I started playing when I was only three, sight-reading was instinctive–like breathing. Music was my native language. English ranked second, something in need of constant vigilance and correction. Music is direct.”

Excerpt from Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench. Carol Rich

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–Anne

3/24/21

“I imagined Anne running her hands along the notes in the score–painstakingly, lovingly, longingly hearing melody and nuance better than if they’d resonated in actual air. It confirmed what she’d taught me forty years ago when I was an undergraduate at Hartt. She’d tapped her temple and said, ‘Carol dear, ninety-eight percent of playing a musical instrument takes place in the mind.’ Now, even though she no longer had the strength or coordination to sit at the piano, Chopin still inhabited her mind and her heart. I imagined her flipping the page to the next waltz. Feebly, she pushed her hands over the score in the trajectory of the phrases’ shapes. Her fingers twitched in phantom motions over the notes. Her body swayed like a willow in a breeze, but her movements weren’t necessarily in time with the music; rather, she evoked the piece by stirring it, rousing it into existence.”

A snipped from my memoir, Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench.

Anne Koscielny was my beloved teacher when I was an undergraduate at The Hartt School of Music. She died of a glioblastoma, but her wisdom and profound love of music live on in the hearts of those who knew her.

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–the foot

3/17/21

“It’s so great to see your pedal foot!” My student and I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of my comment. Well, having lessons virtually meant relinquishing the finer aspects of giving piano lessons–gently lifting a student’s arm off the keys at the end of a phrase, leaning over and inserting helpful fingerings into the score, hearing true legato, tone, and dynamics, and instilling a nuanced pedal foot. “Lift your foot slower and try not to go all the way to the top. It’s too clean!” It was an unusual request from me, someone who loves clean playing. But it was a nightmarish piece, it needed atmosphere.

But now we were sitting about twenty feet apart in my student’s home. I sat in the open doorway watching his hands via Zoom, but listening in the air–talking in real time. Although his keyboard faced away from me, his pedal foot was clearly in view. As was his beautiful face. What bliss!

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–excerpt from “Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench” Carol Rich

3/14/21

I never told my father what he meant to me–how I’m not as lonely or sad as I would’ve been without the image of his hands, the silent stability of his love, or the sustaining underpinning of our shared musical life.

As a child, it was my nature to be closed off, shy, and happily hidden inside my observer’s persona. It was my father’s nature too. We contented ourselves with rich, separate-but-linked, inward-directed existences that were moored to music and to one another.”

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Miniatures-view-piano-bench-ebook/dp/B08WRCYTYH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Carol+Rich+Life+in+Miniatures&qid=1613709983&sr=8-1

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–the yearning

3/10/21

“Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree [but] wants to be nothing except what he is.”

Hermann Hesse

I’ve lived with a sense of yearning so profound, I’m astonished at its endurance–its longsuffering–its generous, open-armed, barely breathing stillness. I love Hesses’s words.

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–the good fairy

3/8/21

“If I had influence with the good fairy, I would ask that her gift to each child be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

Rachel Carson

This is the quote I included in the front of my book, Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench. A sense of wonder takes me back to my own childhood and now through the end of middle-age. Apparently, I still believe in the good fairy!

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–“Life” is here!

3/5/21

My new book, Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench, is now available on Amazon in both e-book and Paperback versions! I couldn’t be more excited about how the paperback came out. Its intimate size fits neatly in my hands and its old-fashioned look make my heart flutter . . . in a good way. I hope this uplifts and delights all who read it.

Carol’s Intermittent Musings–guardian of beauty

3/2/21

An unhindered technique serves the music. Artists in every genre know this as they apply it to their skillset. Our lives are given over to the refinement of our artform. I started playing piano when I was three years old and now I’m sixty-five! Yet, with each passing year, I’m still more and more aware of the importance of a free, expressive technique. It’s the wind that blows open the door to nuanced musical expression. What have you done lately to allow your technique to be a guardian of your artform?