As I’ve talked about before here, in addition to a teaching studio, The Music Studio is also a local performance venue. Over the past year and a half, I’ve hosted four salon concerts as well as several evenings of free improvisation including:
- An evening of free improvisation with bass, sax, and prepared piano.
- A Theremin and piano performance featuring Rubberball piano.
- An evening of Chopin.
- Violin and piano recital highlighting Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata.
- More piano improvisation.
There are several advantages to hosting musical events in your own teaching space.
- The space is small enough for an intimate and friendly gathering of musicians and friends.
- I get to schedule performances at my own convenience and there are no time limits on the performance or after-performance chit-chat.
- There’s no (extra) rental charge for the space or the piano.
- I can choose the type of performances and performers I like to hear.
- And the best part (for me) is I can participate in the performances as much (or as little) as I’d like to.
So – during the weekdays, The Music Studio is home to about 40 local students who come for their weekly piano lesson. One weekend a month in 2011, The Music Studio will turn into a performance space. Sadly, my expectations for blending the “teaching” side of The Music Studio with the “performance side” are very low. Based on the attendance at all of the performances so far, I realize I can count on only TWO piano students (if any) to attend any performance, no matter what the genre. This is something that baffled me all last year and I’m finally coming to terms with it. Just as most students don’t follow my blog, they don’t find the performances relevant to their life right now. Hopefully this will change soon as I tweak my “marketing” skills and introduce more varied programs, new music, and audience friendly performances.
As usually happens, just when I needed it, I came across a terrific blog post that talks about the balance of performance and pedagogy. Cellist, Emily Wright, in her Stark Raving Cello Blog, recalls an email exchange she had with a friend which reminded her:
I’m a cellist. Someone who lives a life in the cello. Teaching, learning, playing, blogging, ruminating. I am allowed to let the balance shift from one facet to the other as life demands it, and I am fortunate to be able to do so.
This is a good reminder! As I start the new year, I’m happy to say I’m a pianist who wears many hats – performer, teacher, writer, and mom. Gosh, I guess I can even add “impresario” to that list.