A year ago, I decided to start learning to play the piano – after mulling over this secret wish for many years. I am extremely motivated and that’s why I am sorry to realize that over the past 200 years, piano lessons have been a headache for pupils and teachers alike. At least that is the impression I get from reading biographies of composers. All complain about untalented, unmotivated and/or undisciplined pupils, while the pupils themselves lament over monotonous lessons and uninspired teachers. In the 18th and 19th century, many composers had to earn their living by giving lessons. This was not exactly the best motivation, I guess. Today however, music schools produce dedicated teachers with at least some pedagogical training, training material is abundant, and it still seems to be hard to motivate pupils to stick with their lessons.
This is where the journey starts: my old school. It is here that I first heard the name of Pyotr Tchaikovsky. I was 12, and Pjotr has become my all time favourite composer since then. Like so many other boys of that age, I was interested in bikes, girls, soccer, Formula-1 pilots etc. NOT in classical music. But our music teacher found a way to get his message through. He counted on our rising level of testosterone and our interest in all things related to war.