Piano Lessons: A Memoir

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Piano Lessons: A Memoir

by Anna Goldsworthy

St. Martin's Press | October 12, 2010 | Hardcover

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Anna Goldsworthy was nine years old when she met Eleanora Sivan, the charismatic Russian émigré and world-class pianist who became her piano teacher. Piano Lessons is the story of what Mrs. Sivan brought to Anna's lessons: a love of music, a respect for life, a generous spirit, and the courage to embrace a musical life.
Beautifully written and strikingly honest, Piano Lessons takes the reader on a journey into the heart and meaning of music. As Anna discovers passion and ambition, confronts doubt and disappointment, and learns about much more than tone and technique, Mrs. Sivan's wisdom guides her:
"We are not teaching piano playing. We are teaching philosophy and life and music digested." "What is intuition? Knowledge that has come inside."
"My darling, we must sit and work."
Piano Lessons reminds us all how an extraordinary teacher can change a life completely. A work that will appeal to all music lovers and anyone who has ever taken a music lesson, Piano Lessons will also touch the heart of anyone who has ever loved a teacher.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 Pages, 5.51 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: October 12, 2010

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312646283

ISBN - 13: 9780312646288

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– More About This Product –

Piano Lessons: A Memoir

Piano Lessons: A Memoir

by Anna Goldsworthy

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 256 Pages, 5.51 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: October 12, 2010

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0312646283

ISBN - 13: 9780312646288

Read from the Book

Piano Lessons   Chapter 1. Bach It was my grandfather who found her. He pronounced her name with an extravagant French accent that spoke of her mystery, her glamour. Mrs Siv-an. She had recently arrived in Adelaide with her husband and teenage son and was teaching piano at a western-suburbs high school. My grandfather was a regional director of the Education Department, and he had chanced upon one of her lessons during a routine inspection. ‘He was true gentleman, of course, very charming,’ she told me later, ‘but with a natural authority.’ She furrowed her brow and pointed her finger: ‘You will teach my granddaughter.’ I was nine years old and learning piano from a local jazz muso. After our lessons, he liked to join my parents in the kitchen, roll strange-smelling cigarettes and talk about Stevie Wonder. My father had for many years resisted my grandfather’s natural authority, and saw no reason for this arrangement to change, until one afternoon the jazz muso rolled a cigarette and announced it was time for me to move on. ‘She got an A for First Grade, man! Where to from here?’ It was no longer only my grandfather’s idea: my father could safely take it up. ‘Mrs Sivan is from Russia,’ he told me that night at dinner. ‘She’s on the Liszt list.’ ‘What’s the list list?’ ‘The Liszt list. Liszt taught the teacher of her teacher’s teacher.’ ‘Who&
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From the Publisher

Anna Goldsworthy was nine years old when she met Eleanora Sivan, the charismatic Russian émigré and world-class pianist who became her piano teacher. Piano Lessons is the story of what Mrs. Sivan brought to Anna's lessons: a love of music, a respect for life, a generous spirit, and the courage to embrace a musical life.
Beautifully written and strikingly honest, Piano Lessons takes the reader on a journey into the heart and meaning of music. As Anna discovers passion and ambition, confronts doubt and disappointment, and learns about much more than tone and technique, Mrs. Sivan's wisdom guides her:
"We are not teaching piano playing. We are teaching philosophy and life and music digested." "What is intuition? Knowledge that has come inside."
"My darling, we must sit and work."
Piano Lessons reminds us all how an extraordinary teacher can change a life completely. A work that will appeal to all music lovers and anyone who has ever taken a music lesson, Piano Lessons will also touch the heart of anyone who has ever loved a teacher.

About the Author

ANNA GOLDSWORTHY is an award-winning pianist who travels and performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. Her debut solo CD, "Come With Us," was recently released by ABC Classics. Her writing has appeared in The Monthly and Best Australian Essays, among others.

Editorial Reviews

“I have never read a better depiction of a great mentor and of how true learning takes place. Every teacher of anything should read this book. Twice.” -- Philip Levine, Poet Laureate of the United States, for TheMillions.com "Deeply felt and elegantly written---like a melody by Mozart: joyous and heartbreaking in a single exquisite line. Anna Goldsworthy has written a loving, generous homage, not only to music, but far more to the magical, inexhaustible arts of teaching and learning. She allows us into the intimate, demanding relationship between teacher and student, and shows how skill and insight pass invisibly from one to the other, becoming understanding, freedom, and finally wisdom.  Goldsworthy conveys the process of development, from beginner to artist, with a light touch, beautifully capturing her schoolgirl''s doubts and dreams. But at the heart of the story is always Mrs. Sivan, her teacher, speaking broken English, giving herself uncompromisingly to the belief that music is a way of living, of breathing, of acceptance. In her passionate, poignant portrait of Mrs. Sivan, Goldsworthy demonstrates how fully she has learned those lessons. It is a book of great warmth, sensitivity, and love.   --Glenn Kurtz, author of Practicing: A Musician''s Return to Music "Anna Goldsworthy has let us in on her arduous journey to become a concert pianist with flair and refreshing honesty. The other star in this book, her piano teacher Eleanora Sivan, is a w
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