Another full day at Chets and a late night! My second day at Chets has been all about conversations with pianists – and specifically adult amateur pianists. Get people talking about why they are here and the personal stories come flooding out: people who learnt the piano as children but gave up and are now rediscovering the joys of the piano; people who have played all their life and who crave serious critique of their playing from the pianist-teachers who comprise the faculty at the summer school; people who had the professional training in conservatoire but who have chosen a different path, but who still play the piano with dedication and commitment and whose practising is informed by the formal training they had. What is most evident – and most inspiring – is the pure passion of the adult amateur pianist. “We do it because we love it” is the mantra of today and to spend time with so many like-minded people is stimulating, encouraging and humbling. It also makes you realise that you are not alone. Those of us whose partners may not understand our passion (despite having an equivalent passion/obsession – in my case my husband’s passion for cycling) find common ground and kindred spirits amongst others on this course and the chance to speak openly about our passion – be it the repertoire, practising, performing or going to concerts – is refreshing and supportive.
In addition, I have observed some teaching, attended a CD launch (piano music by John McLeod) and two fine concerts, including one by students at Chetham’s School (reviews will be posted separately), and forged new friendships. I’ve talked with others about playing, learning, teaching and teachers, other piano courses, and what makes us, as pianists, really tick. Conversations have ranged from childhood experiences of piano lessons, teachers and pianists we admire, memorable concerts to Brexit, Trump, and much more…. A demonstration, perhaps, of the range of people here and the myriad personalities and views one might encounter…..
It’s late and tomorrow is my last day here and I intend to make the most of it