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30. September 2011

About My Piano

In 1992, when I was twelve or thirteen years old, my trumpet teacher thought it might be useful to additionally learn piano. After all this turned out to be a pretty good idea. I experienced some interesting revelations with this new instrument and its possibilities. Actually I did not think of piano as an important instrument for my personality for some years, but it turned out to play a major role in keeping me from getting crazy at several occasions.

It appeared that Schuhmann, Chopin and Bartok were much closer to me in thinking than anyone else in these years. As I can say now, learning to play more than one voices at the same time, learning to control hands and fingers independently, learning to master harmonics, melody and rhythm all alone is a very important lesson every musician should experience. And in my very opinion for most music styles piano is the best choice for this lesson. I cannot think of any other instrument, also giving so much insight into music theory simply by playing.

Interestingly, it was mainly the piano that kept me studying jazz-trumpet about ten years later after Robert Politzer retired at Jazz Conservatory Vienna. My piano teacher there was Michael Starch, and while I did not actually learn what I wanted, namely to improvise, rather than to just read and play sheets, I very much enjoyed his spirit. I also think it very interesting that these two teachers, although very traditional in approach, appear to be my most joyful thought about this university. It seems strange that anything turns "but you have to do it this and that way" as soon as it is properly institutionalized. While Jazz might have been a quiet liberal art form in the beginning and old school musicians might still think of it that way, it is actually the modern approach lower to middle class jazz musicians that keep me from wanting to think of myself as a jazz-musician.