Friday, September 10, 2010

The Incalculable Power of Music - Read On...

When I came down with a neurological disorder some years ago, and lost about 40% of the powers of articulation in my right hand, it seemed that playing the piano would no longer be a possibility - this was simply not acceptable to me, as the piano is such a large part of what I am.
So I began a rather tortuous process of self-rehabilitation , including exercises from the Phillip lexicon to regimes I created for myself. After about six months, I essentially had recovered what physical technique I had lost - for me, it seemed almost miraculous, as I had thought that my playing days were over.
Other experiences come to me, as they pertain to the power and elemental values of music:
Years ago, when I taught organ for some time, one of my students was a woman who had been blighted by a non-curable muscular disorder which direly affected her legs, let alone her mobility.
She took organ with me for about two years, and the foot articulation which is required in organ playing, to make it brief, palpably altered and improved her condition past that which doctors had hoped for - it was wonderful to be witness to that event.
The near -blind college student of mine, whom I had written about in a previous blog, is another inspiring example of what music can create as regards the possibilities perhaps otherwise not available.
I have had many students, over the years, who had injured themselves, such as breaking a finger in athletics, coming to me, sometimes tearfully, asking "how can I continue the piano?"
I simply wrote music for their remaining hand, with the same title, in each case, "For My Fractured Friend."
I think of Paul Wittgenstein, for whom Ravel and Prokoviev wrote concerti for his left hand, after his losing his right arm in war, and becoming, after this unspeakable tragedy, a world-renown pianist for many years thereafter.
During my first years in teaching, I delved into music therapy, one of my students being strongly gifted in piano performance, but in an institution dealing with mental disorders. For reasons I cannot give to you, after three years, she was able to return to her home for short visits, which her doctors had never contemplated as a possibility.
And so, the bottomless pool we call Music remains for us an unsolvable mystery, let alone one of the miracles Man has been given.



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