"You need to be a lion-tamer"
I'd just performed the first juried piano exam of my bachelor of music degree. My piano teacher, Sister Joan Miller, had called me to say that it went okay, but it wasn't outstanding. I needed to do a lot more if I wanted to get into the performance degree program as I had hoped to.
I had played part of a Mozart Sonata, a famous one in F major. The entire semester, she had been working to get me out of my shell, to be more musical, and to be commanding when I played. She wanted me to see Mozart as a lion that I had total control over. As it was up to that point, I was cowering in the corner.
I ended up in the corner more often than not my first couple years of college. Sister Joan was hard on me. Before things really started to turn around, she would come up with many more analogies to try and inspire me that I've since forgotten. After another couple of years, I finally turned a corner, with all thanks to her. I learned so much from her, and without a doubt, became the pianist I am today because of her nurturing, caring, and tough love.
Sister Joan passed away at the beginning of February. I hadn't seen her in over 6 years. I miss her.
I think I've tamed that lion, and I know she'd be proud of me and my playing now. The Sonata I played on that first jury was #12, K 332, so in honor of her, I played it on my 3rd Why Mozart Matters live-stream on March 3rd.
"Modern performers seem to regard their performances as texts rather than acts, and to prepare for them with the same goal as present-day textual editors: to clear away accretions. Not that this is not a laudable and necessary step; but what is an ultimate step for an editor should be only a first step for a performer, as the very temporal relationship between the functions of editing and performing already suggests." -Richard Taruskin, Text and Act