Seymour Lipkin

Seymour remembered that all of Tabuteau’s explanations were “very vivid. The great thing we learned was this intense concentration on the direction of the phrases, where they were going, and the meticulous molding of the phrases. He taught us how to concentrate, and that the music must be a living thing. The music must ‘dance.’ He would be so meticulous about the intensity of each little part of the phrase. ‘It is a finger—-it is a wrist, and then the whole thing make an arm.’ It was Very vital. Eventually after you pick it apart it has to coalesce into a totality. I learned that you had to concentrate on these things in great detail. I had no idea before. I thought you just played-you sort of emoted and it came out. I keep quoting him all the time. Just this week I was in Toronto with a conductor, a gifted fellow who seemed to sort of sit on the music, and I told him that Mr. Tabuteau used to say, ‘you know, you have to let the music take you. Do not impose your mediocrity on the music!’ I find myself being extremely detailed now in talking to my own students. Sometimes I think I am really inhibiting them but then I remember how it was with Tabuteau; at first, terribly inhibiting, but in the long run it is liberating. It allows you to really make these things dance and do what you want them to! He was an incredible influence.

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