Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 63
He was more sophisticated and knowledgeable
about teaching, and he remained my teacher until
I auditioned and was accepted at Juilliard. Even
during my first year at Juilliard, I recall always playing
for Mr. P. every time I went home on break.
Before Juilliard, I had wonderful music teachers
in public school music-particularly J.L., my high
school choir teacher. I was the accompanist of the
chorus, an activity I loved. Mr. L. was fun to work
with in choir, and he often tutored me privately in
theory. I realized much later how valuable these
lessons were, but even at the time, I found them
challenging and interesting. He also signed my
yearbook with the message "be sure to keep your
options open," a message to which I took offense,
because I thought he was telling me that I could
not "make it" as a pianist. In hindsight, it was
some of the best advice I have ever gotten. I have
pursued many options since those days and have
created a very gratifying career blending music
and psychology. Thank you, Mr. L.
J.R., my teacher at Juilliard, initiated me into a larger
world of music and piano playing. Mr. R. also treated
me like a family member. He invited me to his home for
family dinners, and one time he told me that I "wore
too much eye makeup."
(He had two daughters
to whom he said he could
not give this advice.) I
disagreed with him! I
recall detailed and intense
lessons; I learned more
repertoire than I thought I
could handle, performed in
studio classes and public
recitals, and went to his
apartment on Riverside
Drive for fabulous afterglow
parties. I learned to love
green grapes with brie
cheese at these receptions.
I watched him show off his
cat, Tosca, imploring her to
"roll over" as her brilliant
trick. (Eventually she would
roll over, as most cats do, to
Aside from Mr. L., none
of my music teachers are
alive anymore. Yet all of my music teachers, singly
and as a group, are alive inside my mind and in
my life as I am today. All were instrumental in my
musical development. The far-reaching effects of
teaching and learning music reverberate forever.
I cannot imagine the elimination of the National
Endowment for the Arts. Its presence is a beacon and
an affirmation of the importance of music in our lives.
Please take a few moments to revisit your
memories as a music student and as a music
teacher. How has a career in music affected your
life? I would love to hear from you.
Julie Jaffee Nagel, Ph.D., is a graduate
of The Juilliard School, The University
of Michigan, and The Michigan
Psychoanalytic Institute. She is the
author of the book Melodies of the
Mind and an acclaimed writer and
presenter on performance anxiety,
career choice, and music emotion.
She is in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Visit
her website at www.julienagel.net.
Jacobs, T. (Apr. 7, 2017), "The lifelong effects of music and arts
classes." Pacific Standard. goo.gl/o1TkEx