We musicians are creative people. We are used to pushing boundaries and thinking for ourselves. We generally object to rules and regulations on principle. So, I decided to share some stories (and a tweet) of pianists who have found ways to…  found ways to…  Ok, cheat!

 When In Doubt, Strip!

My undergraduate teacher told the tale of a friend who was playing his Master’s Recital in a week and still had a passage in Beethoven’s Op. 111 in which he just couldn’t remember the RH figuration. The rest of the entire program (in fact, the rest of the sonata) was polished and artistic- completely up to snuff. He told my teacher he simply didn’t know what he was going to do. Despite hours and hours of work using all the tricks he knew, every time he got to those few measures he completely lost the RH. In desperation, he took a long, narrow strip of paper and wrote out the recalcitrant measures. Before the recital he affixed the strip of paper to the top of the fallboard where it was invisible to everyone but him. Sure enough, my teacher said, when his friend got to that passage in the sonata, his head tracked right along the fallboard from left to right. The sonata was a complete success and he managed to remove the strip of paper before anyone noticed.

Dress Code

Competitions and recitals for young pianists often include stringent dress codes. Teenage artists particularly object to these boundaries. A student of a colleague showed up to play at an event wearing an extremely short tight band that was only nominally a skirt. She declined to change her clothes and was not allowed to play. This same student was entered in a competition set for the following month. My colleague sat down with the girl and her mother to be sure that her clothing was appropriate. She agreed to make sure she wore a long skirt that was not skin tight. After the competition the Chair called my colleague. “Your student was dressed very nicely. Beautiful blouse. Long black skirt.” Just when everything seemed OK the chair yelled, “SKIRT HAVE SLIT!!!” Apparently, the long skirt was slit hip high- fortunately, on the side facing away from the judges.

Wear Short Skirts

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