Nicole Ruggiero: Our Devices, Ourselves
1 day ago
|Matisse's The Piano Lesson|
As an artist, we do lots of different things to get by to do our craft, to have the freedom to think and respond openly. Aside from teaching college classes I substitute teach to make extra money to travel. Today, I was at Service High School filling in for the choir teacher. Her classroom was this theatre arena laced with chairs in a semi circle that grew in tiers and in the center was the Grand Piano. This setting took me back to my piano teacher named Mrs. Corio who lived in Neptune City on Slyvania Avenue in New Jersey. As a fifteen year old, my mother would faithfully drop me off at her home every week while I had my hour long lesson. I taught myself how to read music early on in my childhood. We had a modest standard Baldwin piano growing up. When I lived in Los Angeles, I bought a Haddorf with ivory keys. My former husband owns it now in lieu of my absence.
Art is puzzle solving, an engagement of the mind focusing on the unconscious level; more or less it can be termed as the abstract piecing together ideas into forming concrete tangible statements. Piano lessons taught me about discipline and applying the mind while reading a barrage of flats, sharps, tempos and at the same time learning how to touch the keys and translate the feelings that were present in the piece. Playing music put me in touch with a variety of waltzes, Russian and Hungarian folk polkas and fantasy melancholic landscapes. The piano taught me great drama, expression and it was when I had my first recital on stage. My mother was always present at these affairs. When I played my recital piece it was a fast and furious display of memorization and it was also to be my last formal music performance. I loved looking through the foreign language of classical music books that our piano bench contained holding the mystery of an obscured beauty in papers.