How not to get to Carnegie Hall
By Brenda Tremblay ~ Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 4:55pm
No one taught me how to practice. Just do it, they said, which is how I honed my amazing ability to daydream while moving my fingers. I can play a Bach sonata and keep a running commentary in my head: what’s for dinner? I must send flowers to Aunt Margie (ooops! skipped a note!) Are my favorite jeans in the dryer? Get cat food!
I studied piano with Jessie DiGuilio of Albion, New York, starting at the age of six. I quit lessons in high school, then took it up again my senior year and in college and dropped it again after realizing I wasn’t taking it seriously enough. I had no fire. My college piano teacher once told a friend, “I don’t think Brenda ever listened to a word I said.” He’s probably right.
Despite my inability to focus, I have the privilege of serving as a part-time professional musician at a small town Episcopal church. For this I thank all my teachers and my parents. I had the good fortune of growing up in a family of musicians, and I was blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) with perfect pitch. But I still find it hard to practice. Maybe if my teachers had had resources such as Virtuoso TV, I might have worked my way up to Carnegie Hall.