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My recent message to a curious and inquisitive group of pianists at Steinway Hall, Plano



"After tonight's piano performance, you will indeed celebrate and feel a sense of pride as you return to your hectic and all-consuming academic studies. You'll return to a world of testing, music rehearsals, and athletic practices . These coming years will be difficult and full of tasks involving development of memory and efforts to receive high marks in standardized tests. This is a very important part of the learning process yet you always need to remember that this time in your life is involved mainly in what I refer to as "surface learning".


Surface learning is short-lived and usually forgotten within a week or so after your testing has been completed. This type of learning is temporary or temporal. It is needed to "quantify" mental growth in our current educational system, but as Einstein understood there are two other important aspects of mental growth that are even more important and that are also deeply misunderstood and they are "creativity" and the use of your unlimited "imagination".


The one aspect of learning that is the most important part of your lives in the long run will be, yes, your piano studies. This type of learning is what I refer to as "deep learning". The study of the piano touches your heart in a personal way, you carry your study of the piano deeply and in every part of your consciousness, it is permanent and becomes a part of your life forever. As Rachmaninoff once said, real music is measured by its ability to "exult" one's soul.


As you graduate from high school you will say goodbye to many of your friends and many of you will never touch your school instruments again that were such a blessing in a group setting, yet one thing that will never leave you will be your personal time of discovery spent at the piano. The piano will always be your friend and will also be with you for generations to come. It is like a "mirror to the soul" each time you practice the piano it allows you to learn more about yourself at many levels. So the equation is quite simple, never quit piano lessons and never stop practicing the piano. Let learning continue after academic studies have long passed and in all your future endeavors, never stop learning.


Timothy Brown (2024)



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