On the development of a musician

> A butterfly mind is a tremendous asset IF it is grounded in a self-identity that is moving forward in a clear direction. But if the principal focus is lost a person's 'balance of probabilities' gets out of kilter and the result is an airhead. I remind young pianists that if they were training to be a competitive athlete they couldn’t afford to let themselves get out of condition during holidays.

> In my role as a mentor I have two modes: the helpful encourager of those whose 'natural equipment' predisposes them to dabbling: but for those who have the potential to engage more deeply with music I play the trainer who can not only keep them up to the mark, but help them constantly to stretch themselves & thus raise it.
> Now, most teachers fulfil that role by placing rigid structures like exams & curriculums around the child & forcing it along a certain path by means of carrots & whips. [God, do I understand why teachers turn into dragons! - it's much easier to scare children into be(com)ing good than to be constantly having to cajole & woo them.] Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean that I’m not looking for the same pace of development in those who have the potential.

> As a child grows, its consciousness (its spirit, if you will) flutters just ahead of it, drawing it on. In a way that spirit IS its truth, its inner connectedness. I believe that if you can show a child that YOU value that spirit part of hir & show hir how to grow without its intrinsic delight getting trapt in books like a pressed flower, then you’ve fulfilled the real function of education.
> Unfortunately, as we know, schooling tends to beat children around the head with objects (objectivity so-called) which make them lose faith with that pre-verbal world of subjective delight to which music gives pre-eminent access. In state schools it happens 'by accident' because teachers willing to take any real responsibility for pupils' learning are a dying breed. In private schools it happens because they (over?)load pupils with exciting activities.

> The raw material of a pianist is physical dexterity, but the glue that holds hir together is meta-physical - attitude. Keeping a student's attitude focused is not just the glue, it's also the mechanism /the software by which s/he can decode hir experience & integrate it into that exciting sweep of (self-)development which defines achievers from everyonelse.
> Musical excellence does not allow you to idle, 'leisure time' is for people with BORING jobs! You need to keep fit, to keep training - not like a lycra-clad obsessive, but at a reasonable, constant, even pace.

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