Michael Avagliano

Happy Birthday, Mr. S...

April 1, 2013 12:11

Yikes... it's been a very long time since I've written! With that considered, I can't think of a better day than April Fool's Day to get caught up in posting.

I'll keep the first one short. After all, there's work to do, and a lot of it! Many, many things are happening this month. So let's start off right:

I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to my teacher, Arnold Steinhardt. There are many people through my school years who taught me how to be a violinist; Mr. Steinhardt taught me how to be a musician. It's been ten years since I last had a lesson with him, but he's still teaching me today. It's fitting that in a few minutes, I'll be sitting down for a rehearsal with "the girls", my fellow members of the Madison String Quartet, because I can still remember a couple of times that I walked into Mr. Steinhardt's apartment for a lesson, and found four wire stands and chairs sitting in the living room. "The guys", as he called them, had obviously been rehearsing that morning, perhaps for a concert at the Met, or in preparation for heading out on tour. The Guarneri Quartet had been there... and for me, just walking into the room made me nervous.

But one of the many things that Mr. Steinhardt excels at is putting his students at ease, and encouraging them to find the best in themselves. I learned from him that there's always a solution to any thorny problem that the violin (or the viola) can present, always another fingering or bow stroke, always a way to look beyond the notes to find the moments that will make the phrases sing and allow the music to come alive.

Thank you, Mr. Steinhardt, for teaching me, and for continuing to show me what music, and life, is really all about. Happy Birthday.

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Previous entries: June 2011

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