My PRCAC scholarship grant enabled me to take four two-hour lessons with a piano professor at West Virginia University whom I have come to know quite well in the past few years, Dr. Peter Amstutz. WVU is the alma mater of my current piano teacher Christie Chiles Twillie, so West Virginia has been a natural musical connection and choice for me. In turn, it seemed fitting that I study with Dr. Amstutz, her former professor.
Last year was the first summer I studied with him, working on the third Beethoven piano concerto, and I found the experience very educational and enriching. He introduced me to several new and innovative practice techniques and helped me understand the way the structure of Beethoven’s music can help inform the phrasing and expression of it. This summer, the goal of my study with Dr. Amstutz was to begin work on some of the repertoire I will be using in my college auditions this winter, specifically the Beethoven piano sonata, Op. 101, and the Chopin Fantasy in f minor. I had not worked very much at all on the Beethoven prior to this summer, but in just that one week my grasp of the technique and expression of the piece increased drastically with Dr. Amstutz's instruction and insights. I felt a lot better about the Fantasy as well; I found Dr. Amstutz’s philosophy of rubato in Chopin’s music most helpful.
I look forward to using the tools Dr. Amstutz has given me as I continue to work toward a successful series of college auditions and acceptance into music school to study piano performance.