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Pauline Lerner

Raw talent

December 5, 2006 at 7:47 AM


I have a new friend who is a very good, self taught folk musician. Although he doesn’t play fiddle, he relates to it well because he plays mandolin, which is tuned and fingered the same way. We’ve been having fun jamming together. The other day, he disappeared discreetly into a back room while I gave a lesson. My student is a talented young girl who plays so well that I really enjoy listening to her. She is working her way through Wohlfahrt, which she and I both dislike, but it’s good for you. I told her that she might actually like one particular exercise because it sounds good. It has some arpeggios that progress in a reasonable way from one key to another. She sight read it and played it quite well. Our lesson included both classical and folk music, and she sounded very good on everything. After she left, my friend came out of hiding and said, “She is really good! How many years has she been playing? I especially liked the way she played that piece with the runs in D major. I felt like getting out my mandolin and playing with her.” That was Wohlfahrt. “I’m impressed that you could tell that it’s in D major,” I told him. “That wasn’t hard to figure out,” he replied. “I recognized the open strings.” He had been in a room where he could hear her fairly well but couldn’t see her at all. What talent! I can’t stand it.
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