Tag Archives: Adult Learners

Piano Performance for Adults

Audience at Rocky Ridge

I applaud everyone who studies the great art of playing the piano, but I have a special place in my heart for adults who begin—or return to—piano study at a mature age.

A recent article in the New York Times detailed 59-year old Sara Solovitch’s comeback performances, beginning at the San Jose Airport (not as odd as it might seem, really; people passing through aren’t listening all that closely, which might be a good thing for an inexperienced performer), complete with sweaty palms and pounding heart. “I looked like a cornered animal,” she says, “and sounded like a robot.”

In her successful quest to return to performance after a 40-year break, Ms. Solovitch tried everything to calm her nerves. The problem wasn’t a lack of desire. “Upon returning to [playing the piano], I discovered I loved it more than ever. I practiced as much as I could, sometimes for two or three hours a day.”

Playing in front of others? Not so much fun. To conquer her fear, she tried biofeedback, deep breathing, cognitive behavior therapy, Alexander technique and even drugs: beta blockers, which her doctor called “the public speaking drug.”

There is another option: attending an adult piano camp. The one I know the best is the Adult Piano Seminar at the Rocky Ridge Music Center, for the simple reason that I just finished teaching at their 2015 session.

Rocky Ridge was founded by a remarkable woman, Beth Miller Harrod, in 1942 in the beautiful Colorado Rockies outside of Estes Park, CO. A student of Josef and Rosina Lhevinne, who spent summers in the area in the 1930s, Beth (everyone is on a first-name basis at Rocky Ridge) began with a group of seven girls, who lived in one big cabin and practiced on pianos scattered around the area. The program has grown to encompass both genders, chamber music, orchestra and programs for all ages.

This year’s Adult Seminar attendees were a wonderful group of supportive adults, who provided enthusiastic support to each other, inexperienced or veteran. Their love and commitment to music was palpable, and their enjoyment of being together infectious. I’m looking forward to being back again in 2016.

Here are some additional photos from my time at Rocky Ridge:

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Rocky Ridge Scholarships Available!

rrmclogoI am excited to share that SoYoung Lee, Executive and Music Director of the Rocky Ridge Music Camp, has announced that scholarships are available for the Rocky Ridge Adult Piano Seminar. I will be teaching at the Adult Seminar at Rocky Ridge for two sessions from May 30-June 7, 2015.

Attending students will have the opportunity to take private lessons with me and perform in Masterclasses. I will be giving a lecture on J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and offering a multi-part series of talks on “Fundamentals of Basic Piano Technique”.

If you would like to know more, or want to inquire about scholarship availability, please send me a message.

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A New Faculty Member at Rocky Ridge—Me!

rrmclogoI’m a firm believer in taking on creative challenges at any age, including mine. I think it keeps you fresh, helps you learn new skills and builds forward thinking. So I’m going to follow my own advice.

I am proud and honored to inform you that I will be joining the faculty of the Rocky Ridge Music Center Adult Piano Seminar, for two sessions from May 30-June 7, 2015. I will be teaching lessons, giving masterclasses, a lecture on J.S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, and offering a multi-part series of talks on “Fundamentals of Basic Piano Technique”.

Longs Peak, CO
Longs Peak, CO

Rocky Ridge is an extraordinary place. It is one of the oldest summer music programs in the country, located in the lovely Colorado Rockies at the foot of Longs Peak. Its natural beauty inspires even more artistic music making.

Amateur aficionados of the piano, piano teachers and college or conservatory students will all benefit from this program. I hope you’ll consider joining me!

Click here for more information, including an online application page.

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