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Release the Butterfly
by Robert Murray Diefendorf

 

 Release the Butterfly

 

5 out of 5 stars=    Creative Piano Instruction

Reviewer: The Rebecca Review.com

"I've heard such unearthly, unnamed music in my dreams. It is so distinct, so lovely. It seems endless, and I can just listen. I wish I could remember it! This is my connection to the infinite, to the Divine, I believe. It is very deeply buried, surrounded like a pristine, secret garden by the dark forest of my imperfect waking thoughts." ~Robert Murray Diefendorf

"Release the Butterfly" follows the life of a butterfly and the journey of a musician as he becomes a master teacher. It is a guide to teaching piano with interesting quotes about the lifecycle of a butterfly. You really learn about two subjects at once. The author uses the butterfly's stages of change as a model for artistic growth.

This book had my heart by page 8. By page 61, I was fascinated by the way Robert Murray Diefendorf draws you into his own experiences and presents words that flow together in lyrical beauty. At times his writing is a melody only your soul can hear. This book is truthfully a brilliantly crafted message from the heart.

The author's wisdom reveals how he allowed an open environment for his mind to process ideas and information on other people's experiences. At times his sense of humor hit a chord with me and it occurred to me that you can survive a lot in life with a healthy does of laughter. The last two pages are also rather amusing.

There are quite a few practical ideas in this book. Ideas I don't remember my own piano teachers using. I loved the ideas on how to encourage students to become composers and how at times they would play their creations later at their piano recital. Robert gives examples of how he encourages creativity and even sees the positive side of mistakes. Anger can become "edge." A melancholy streak can infuse a performance with a mysterious quality.

It is also interesting how this master teacher uses analogies to solve technical or musical problems.

"We stopped and built an image of a rain forest. It was dusk, just after a rain, the forest creatures were still. She closed her eyes, and after a few moments, played perfectly evenly."

I often see images when listening to music, but didn't realize you could use an analogy to improve your own musical abilities. I love how the author describes his unique ability to visualize keys as colors.

Robert teaches piano in Princeton, New Jersey, at the Westminster Conservatory of Music. He is also the founder and president of Small Miracles Foundation, Inc. that has provided free lessons, music and pianos to disadvantaged children in central New Jersey since 1996.

"Release the Butterfly" is a reflective journey for teachers who want to emulate the qualities of a master teacher who has learned to synarchate. This is a study in how students can discover their potential through the combination of a teacher's wisdom and their own search for the innate creativity buried deep in the soul.

 

Solo Piano by Jeff Bjorck

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