I’m starting to look forward to my piano masterclasses this weekend. Six young professional pianists are going to be my students. I’ve always hesitated to say ‘students’ ever since a friend came to listen to the masterclasses at Prussia Cove and commented afterwards that the discussion between ‘master’ and ‘student’ had seemed to him more like an exchange of views between colleagues, one of whom happened to be further down the road of experience than the others were.
Last week I was sent some reminiscences of the Hungarian piano professor György Sebök by his former students, who included me. The occasion for our reminiscing was the tenth anniversary of Sebök’s death. Now here was someone whose masterclasses were really not a discussion between equals. He definitely knew more than we did. But perhaps even he didn’t thoroughly know how he knew. One of his students recalled plucking up the courage to tell Sebök that he often didn’t understand his remarks until a long time later. Sebok rather surprisingly replied that he often didn’t understand his remarks himself at the moment that he made them. They came out of some deeper instinct.