I was one proud teacher listening to my student Sarah's Junior Recital last Sunday. She played a difficult program with great control, finesse, and most of all, understanding of the music. The program included Schumann's Fantasiestüke, Debussy Premiere Rhapsody, Stravinsky Three Pieces, and Malcolm Arnold's Clarinet Concerto No. 2 (with Martin Fröst's highly demanding cadenza which Sarah played from memory). First three belong to my signature repertoire, and I worked on them with her in great details. It was also an adventure exploring Arnold's rather underperformed concerto together and see my student giving it a her own distinct personality. While there were plenty of rooms for improvement, I could see very well that she clearly understood what this (playing the music) is all about.
Since her arrival at Tech two and a half years ago, Sarah has made an impressive progress. Among other things, she performed Weber's Concertino with Maryville Orchestra as a winner of the Maryville College Concerto Competition, named twice Tennessee winner of MTNA Young Artist Woodwind Competition (1st place in 2013 and 2nd place in 2014), and participated in summer workshops such as ARIA and Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, playing for renowned clarinetists, including David Shifrin, etc.
I find the greatest joy as a teacher when others tell me that they hear and see my own playing from my students' performances. Assuming that I am doing something right, this can be a great compliment. As I was listening to the recital, I was quite taken by her control of dynamic, attention to the legato and phrasing, and relevant musical gestures, things that I cherish the most in my own playing.
I am only too happy to help my students to discover their places in this world by sharing with them my knowledge, passion, and beliefs.