I am sure you have taken detours when traveling. Some were mandatory – when, for example, the main road was closed – but many were voluntary: you wanted to take the scenic route to just enjoy the view. In any case, that detour affected your future, one way or another. In fact, that detour might have eventually become your main path.
My own journey was like this. When I started taking lessons, little did I know that piano would become my career. I did try computer science in college, which I believed to be my main path. But I realized very quickly that, based on my low final grades, my plan would not work out. Therefore, what I thought to be my main path became a quick detour. And the detour (learning piano for fun) became my main path.
While pursuing my graduate degrees, I took other detours (learning harpsichord, pipe organ, piano tuning, and conducting). While pursuing my doctoral degree at Indiana University, my piano professor, Evelyne Brancart, inspired me to write my doctoral document on piano technique. Then, my research on Brazilian music also took me on another journey that resulted on the release of my CD album Alma Brasileira [Brazilian Soul] and on a year-long recital tour to promote it in 10 countries. And more recently, I started learning how to play the harp. Each of those detours helped shape me as a musician, taught me how to adjust to all types of teaching situations, and how to be flexible. Therefore, the detours I took helped me become a better teacher!
Each of my students is on a path, too. And I am grateful to witness their journeys, to help them find their passion (or detours), to show them different angles and approaches on piano technique, and to work with them on a big range of the piano repertoire, including Brazilian music. My goal is to provide each student with tools on how to learn, how to develop, and how to become a well-round musician, no matter where his or her path leads them.
For tips on how to become a better pianist, you can follow me on Instagram @paulosteinberg.