Pictures at an Exhibition

an accident at the conservatory

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Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Thursday, October 03, 2002

by Rolf-Peter Wille

This happened when my student failed to show up for her piano lesson:

Instead of practicing myself, I decided to promenade the corridors of our music department which resemble a somewhat noisy shopping mall complete with show-rooms and picture windows. I began to spy on my colleagues pretending to view pictures at an exhibition.

In the first room I noticed a famous pianist. He remained frozen in front of the keyboard obviously absorbed in his own playing. The student was leaning against the piano like a troubadour, but instead of watching an old castle she stared absent mindedly at the romantic image of her teacher.

I slowly promenaded to the next window. Here I observed a famous teacher. She was sitting very close to her student, and acted as a giant rinforzando. Her right hand was beating time with a pencil while her left one massaged the back of the student in rhythmic motions installing the correct measure. I was truly impressed. Verily, here was one of the legendary teachers. My hands began to twitch rhythmically.

The next window showed the back of a piano and two heads floating in unison above the keyboard. This could have been a Siamese twin, one body and two heads. But the facial features were too different: impetuoso the teacher, tremando the student.

I quickly promenaded to the next show-room, but who could describe the danse macabre I was forced to witness: No sound emanated from this room though a teacher was pacing it, gesticulating wildy. But no matter how hard I looked, I failed to discover any student. Now, here was real commitment: Even though her student had left, the teacher proceeded with the lesson.

I rushed to the next room, and--sure enough--here was her student practising in a very agitated manner. This was preposterous! Who has ever heard of teacher and student having a lesson in seperate rooms without using e-mail? I wondered if this teacher owned one of those new remote controls, which can be secretely purchased in Japan. In case you have not heard of these, ..... but I better be quiet. I took my own remote control and pointed it at the student. But instinctively I must have pressed "delete" because I instantly zapped the head of that poor creature. I almost felt like I had lost my own head when I realized what had happened.

Fortunately though she did not notice it and continued to practice. I could have ruined a career had I accidentally zapped her hands.

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