Release the Butterfly
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
"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
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.
Piano by Jeff Bjorck