Trading in students,
(Article on Cadencia Music, Spain)
value that cost so much blood and so many tears,
must be won every day. When establishing the limits
in our social, artistic and human relations, we are
constantly called on to reflect more deeply on what
freedom must, but at the same time what it
can, generate in the depths of its essence.
Unfortunately, while everyday we fight, paradoxically we see evidence
and demonstrations of acts of great moral violence which proves to us
that though time passes and things change externally, men and tyrants
continue to disguised themselves as lambs.
Music as "the maximum expression of all philosophy", according to
Beethoven, should "tame the savage and wild beasts".
Music, the hymn of fraternity among men and a synonym of the superiority
of human beings, capable of bringing together the spirit of mathematics
and physical training, should allow us to free the feelings of Nobility,
Goodness and Friendship.
Teaching, teaching music, should be a labour of Love, as it deals in
transmitting Important Vibrations to the generations thus shortening the
distance between God and his creation.
other words, this is a divine benediction which allows us to change
ourselves, be it only for a few instants, from Men and Women into
Demigods, i.e. raise ourselves a little above the state of "beasts" and
to taste the Eternity of fundamental Values, at least as occasional
Also Truth, like Freedom, must be conquered each day, in order to
protect Ethics and Morals in their totality from hypocrisy and
like Freedom, Truth does not "belong" to us, until those times when it
is revealed to us in life. God speaks to each of us, from time to time,
in the shape of symbols, illumination or inspiration.
To all and not to one alone.
This truth must be shared, offered and conserved as an essential value.
alter its concept or expression would mean betrayal.
This Truth, with Freedom, must be the base of how Music is taught, there
will of course be more than one fingering, types of gesture and concepts
Lessons on technical training, the development of musical training and
all the rest that makes up the base of teaching, is paid for in a
natural way with money, because professors need to live too.
The only way "other lessons", such as shared Truth, demonstrated Morals
and religious behaviour when in front of Art or the Artist, can be paid
is with silence, respect and gratitude, not with gold coin.
this way we teach to be and not to do.
These lessons belong to the ideals of our life, not to our everyday
The best lesson we can teach our pupils, is the how to find the road
toward freedom, to the point that they can free themselves from our
influence and have reached Truth. Until they are no longer constantly,
totally or even partially dependent on their master or professor.
must make every possible effort so that our pupil knows how to think for
himself and does not become our slave.
or she must, thus, share our Friendship and become "unique", "authentic"
and "him" or "herself". After the first few years he or she must
overcome the concepts of artistic or pedagogic "subservience" and
Our students do not "belong" to us. We cannot keep and control them as
if they were our slaves or we controlled them through an addiction.
must teach them to be independent from us. We must avoid trying to
condition their freedom of thought. And even more basely, we must not
hold over them the threat of exams or national or international
competitions and in the same way, we must not create false illusions as
regards our "support" for their administrative and bureaucratic career
in the future.
one has the behave like God and decide on a the life or death of a
student, projecting on the student in one or another one's lack of
pedagogic success or neuroses.
one has the right to look for his or her "reflection" in their students,
nor have they the right to deny their pedagogic or artistic
responsibilities and also socially only because their life has not been
Our students are human beings that must grow up free, without having to
beg, and they can be neither "sold" nor "commercialized" at our
must teach them that we are not God and that they are as free as when
they were born.
That they know.
are not there to form sects, above all because these sects would be
formed for and of the morally weakest of the pupils, the mediocre, those
without nothing personal to contribute and who can only repeat the less
important things as parrots do.
This because they cannot free themselves and they have become docile
And when they become older, because they would continue to live in the
shadow of the details and the superficiality that are only the exterior
of the real teaching.
They are those who systematically attack their colleagues with poison
darts, work to create ambushes. Poor souls! Their darts fall
harmlessly from armour! They live so deep in shadow that we find
getting close to them deplorable.
They are the ones who will never be anything but pupils, because the
culture is only "repeat, imitate", "do like this..." instead of
thinking, reflecting and being a real disciple "continuing to develop
and not simply repeating".
Genius is unique. Only the mediocre and imitators must copy.
is difficult to be a disciple of a Great Artist and only copy. The only
thing you can copy are his manias and caprices, because his genius is
unique and irreparable, and it cannot be copied.
This is why we have to teach them to be themselves, to become, to be
authentic suffering and searching with them and our own very limited
Teaching means that at one and the same time one must create at each
lesson and not repeat the same stupidities hundreds of times,
Teaching is an infinite series of variations, like le Goldberg, on top
of a single theme: love, freedom and constant development.
Anton Rubinstein used to tell Joseph Hoffmann, his best disciple, as he
came into his next lesson to play the same piece, "... but, I've already
done the lesson on that work..." Hoffmann answered, "Master, I want to
see if I am doing everything you taught me". And then very
intelligently Rubinstein would come back with, "... Yes, but I've
already changed. I can't remember what I told you last week, in fact,
I'm looking for new explanations ..., perhaps everything I tell you will
be the opposite of last time". What a great lesson!
All great artists are evolving continuously, while those who train
imitators keep their pupils from making any progress.
any rate, it is better to become an authentic but original "beggar's
parrot" than to be a ridiculous and tragic copy of a great artist.
Our pupils are human beings who come to us to receive the best of
that which is highest and most noble transmitted to us by our masters,
their great lessons of love.
give them anything else is dishonourable and base.
oblige them to depend from our orbit is to degenerate the ideal of the
pedagogue's life into a weapon for commercial exploitation. If this
were true, it would be a clear signal of our total lack of personal
success, as musicians and as human beings.
However, thank goodness, among the many briers and much discord, one not
infrequently runs into precious treasure.