Rosina Lhévinne (1880 - 1976)
Phone: (512) 969-8529
"We who are in the field of music have a special responsibility in the quest for humanity. For music is the one universal language. It is the one language which can transcend those boundaries by which men continue to divide themselves."
(Mme. Rosina Lhevinne speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Aspen Music Festival, 1969):
"My Life at the Moscow Conservatory taught me to equip myself with knowledge and craftsmanship before going out to conquer the world. My life with Mr. Lhevinne taught me not to conquer the world by force, but to discover the world through study, kindness, imagination, and through the integrity of your own quest.
Finally, in my new life of twenty-five years alone, I have found that despite the obstacles which face you, despite how small and worthless you may seem to yourself – that you can find the strength to continue, and try to make the world a more beautiful place."
"I always think: 'So hurry, hurry! Do your best every day … because you should make the best of the strength God gives you!' "
Quotes From Master Musicians
Nadia Boulanger (1887 - 1979)
"Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece."
"The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion."
"Loving a child doesn't mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult."
(The following taken from FIGURA CLAVE EN LA VIDA DE ASTOR PIAZZOLLA - 1977 Archivos Boesmi:)
When I see a new pupil, my first question is, "Can you live without music?" .... "the one that you must push will never do anything"
"When you have to deal with a young musician it's essential to expose him to works quite different."
"When I have a new pupil, I say "who are you? Who are you as a man (/woman)?". The young person who comes to ask your advice. It is so serious a situation. To hear him play and suddenly decided if he is right or wrong, when you're not sure yourself. It's difficult. Will he have the character strong enough to stand his superb, unbelievable gift? I'm not sure. Will he have this indomitable courage to pursue?"
"So, when you compose I prefer you to be mistaken if you must, but to remain natural and free, rather than wishing to appear other than what you really are. If you carry out researches in terms of sonority, or means of expression ... one can have good or bad reasons for searching. If you search to hide your inadequacy, you are wrong. But if you want to say what you are, you owe it to yourselves. That's why it is essential for a teacher first of all to let his pupil play or write as he wishes, and then to be ruthless on questions of discipline."
"There is this marvelous word, "Gift", he is "gifted" ... the one who has it is naturally not faulty but has an awesome responsibility. Because if he has an extraordinary gift, an extraordinary technique, but has not character, everything goes to waste!".
"When you accept a new pupil, the first thing is to try to understand what natural gift, what intuitive talent he has. Often enough you will discover this every easily, if you really respect children. It's a serious question. Can one go ahead and develop a child in quite a different direction from his parents, without being certain that this is a talent that should be developed and stimulated. You just can't give talent to everybody. That would be madness. One must dare to choose."
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Selected Quotes from "Advice to Young Musicians: Musical Rules for Home and In Life"
"If all would play first violin, we could not obtain an orchestra. Therefore esteem every musician in his place."
"Endeavour to play easy pieces well and with elegance; that is better than to play difficult pieces badly."
"When you play, never mind who listens to you."
"All bravura-music soon grows antiquated. Rapid execution is valuable only when used to perfect the performance of real music."
"Do not miss an opportunity of practicing music in company with others; as for example in Duets, Trios, etc.; this gives you a flowing and elevated style of playing, and self-possession. — Frequently accompany singers."
"Do not miss an opportunity of practicing on the organ; for there is no instrument that can so effectually correct errors or impurity of style and touch as that."
"Pay attention to national airs and songs of the people; they contain a vast assemblage of the finest melodies, and open to you a glimpse of the character of the different nations."
"If you begin to compose, work it out in your head. Do not try a piece on your instrument, except when you have fully conceived it. If your music came from your heart and soul, and did you feel it yourself,—it will operate on others in the same manner."
"By means of industry and perseverance you will rise higher and higher."
Here are some quotes I will assemble over time, from Master Musicians. Please check back for new additions. These are worth reading and contemplating. I may place comments here and there in parenthesis to help make the meaning more clear, or for other self-evident reasons. This page on my website is one you may want to take your time to absorb and contemplate what is given. It is for the benefit of those who visit this page, and of course, my students. -J. Heuser
(The following is from the FOREWARD of the "Bauer Diller Quaile Course, A Piano Method for Class and Individual Instruction", Book 1, G. Schirmer, Inc. 1931)
"Music is not an exterior accomplishment, but the expression of a natural impulse; and the object of musical education is to make us understand what is taking place when we are moved by certain combinations and arrangements of sounds.
We react spontaneously to the simpler of these combinations at a very early age, and there is no reason why this directness of approach should not be maintained throughout our lives...
It may be said, in fact, that almost everyone is born with a sense for music. The greatest composers can do little more than appeal to that sense by elaborating upon the alternation of consonant and dissonant sounds, always aiming at a proper balance between the two. They try to express in music certain elemental states of emotion that remain with them from infancy, and to communicate them to the listener.
...the practice of teaching muscular exercises apart from music is wholly fallacious. The purpose of technical training is to make music sound beautiful, and when once the children's attention has been drawn to what is the "best sound" of a piece they will eagerly adopt the proper means shown by the teacher to obtain this result. Muscular exercise with the object of making sounds of suitable quality, volume, and duration, should follow, but never precede, musical appreciation and understanding."
From The Masters
Harold Bauer (1873 - 1951)