The long-lasting imprint of a music teacher

Posted on: May 15, 2017

“We are used to talking about composers who live on through their music. But music teachers enjoy an almost genealogical immortality through their students, regardless of those pupils’ later fame,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in Friday’s (5/12) New York Times. “Because music making is practiced through the body, teachers imprint their students with the specific physical traits of their craft: gestures, tics and preferences that those students may in turn pass on to yet another generation…. When I met [my teacher, violinist Eugene Phillips] in 1987, Mr. Phillips had just retired from the Pittsburgh Symphony…. Mr. Phillips photocopied pages from Leopold Mozart’s violin method and put Baroque bows in the hands of his teenage students…. Mr. Phillips also analyzed videos of Jascha Heifetz in performance… Speaking with [violinist Aaron] Boyd and Alex Lee, another former Phillips student, I learned that the specifics of our lessons changed according to our teacher’s evolving passions…. Boyd speculated that in two generations, few people will recognize the name of his former teacher. ‘But his musical morals and ideals are passed on.’ ” Included are comments from Itzhak Perlman on studying with Dorothy DeLay, whose students at Juilliard included Midori, Anne Akiko Meyers, and Philippe Quint.

Posted May 15, 2017