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Who Was The Music Teacher That Inspired You?; Valentina Lisitsa Plays Live

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Valentina Lisitsa performs in the Soundcheck studio. Valentina Lisitsa performs in the Soundcheck studio. (Michael Katzif / WNYC)

In this episode: For her recent piece in The New York Times, "Is Music The Key To Success?," journalist Joanne Lipman interviewed high achievers who credit music experience directly to their professional achievements in other fields. Lipman is also the co-author of the new book Strings Attached, about her own childhood music teacher. 

Then, pianist Valentina Lisitsa -- one of the biggest names in classical music thanks, in part, to 62 million views on YouTube -- performs the music of Liszt in the Soundcheck studio.


Joanne Lipman

Is Music The Key To Success?

Why do so many powerful and successful people say music is the key to their professional achievements?

Comments [2]

In Our Headphones This Week

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Watch: Valentina Lisitsa, In The Studio

Watch the classical pianist Valentina Lisitsa perform in the Soundcheck studio.


The Can't Tells' new album 'No Television' is out on Oct. 22.

Video Premiere: The Can't Tells, 'Insincere'

Watch the creepy but darkly comedic new music video for The Can't Tells' song "Insincere," a track from the Bushwick band's upcoming album No Television


Download This: The Grahams

The Nashville-based Americana band The Grahams plays at Rockwood Music Hall Monday. Download "Revival Time."


Comments [2]

Adam Rosenberg from Wyckoff, NJ

In the second week of seventh grade, sitting in English class, the door opened and there stood Mr. Leister! And, he was asking if I could come with him?! Mr. Leister was a courtly, charming southern gentleman of the old school -- smooth, gracious, relaxed, and a politeness which which while burnished from practice and training, radiated from real love of people. He'd been a teacher of mine for a few weeks of a summer sports program, and he'd made me feel better about sports and my performance and abilities and self and ability to relate to a teacher, especially a man, than ever. My father was insecure, uptight, and not at all good at supporting, caring, teaching. We had an uncomfortable relationship at best, where he mostly inspired disappointment, anger, frustration in me. But Mr. Leister was calm, competent, confident, caring -- and I loved it. And there he was -- who knew! -- the junior high school band teacher! My mom had called and told him I wanted to play an instrument. So, here we were walking through the maze of empty, unfamiliar, intimidating junior high school halls to the band room, catching up on the rest of the summer. And what kind of instrument was I thinking playing? Something bass -- maybe the bassoon? Well, at that time I was a big kid, and he needed a tuba player. So, he told me how great I'd be at playing the tuba, and they really needed a tuba player like me, someone he knew to be so serious, and thoughtful, and capable. Well, I didn't know about the tuba, but if Mr. Leister needed me... and I was so goooood.... And he showed me how to buzz into a mouthpiece, and I buzzed into the mouthpiece -- I got it the second time I tried! Very impressive he said. I was already on my way. Then he put the mouthpiece into that huge tuba (a tarnished, beat up Miraphone on a stand) and showed me how to play a note. It was a huge sound from a huge instrument -- just the kind of big, bass, shaking sound that had so moved me in the Also Sprach Zarathustra. I wasn't sure if I could do that... but I knew, no matter what, Mr. Leister would be help me and he would teach me -- he'd be supportive, and positive, and no matter what I did wrong, he'd keep showing me until I got it right, so I WOULD GET IT RIGHT and it would be fun! And so I just tried.... and BLAMMM, my first time I got a note - an open F! Mr. Leister just burst out with a shout and literally jumped with glee: "Well gosh! You are a natural! A natural born tuba player! You're gonna be great! I can see it, and you're gonna learn so fast, you'll be amazing everyone just like me today! Wow, what fun! I remember when I first started to play the trumpet how exciting it was, always learning something new, and everyone so impressed. I wish I were just starting out again with you!" A tuba player was born - and made - that day.

Oct. 21 2013 09:23 PM
John Vorko

What inspired me about my music teacher? When I heard him play through all the scales in one breath! I was like, woah. I gotta do that

Oct. 21 2013 09:19 PM

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