Creating the Connection
Connections are often made through music. Between the young and old, the outgoing and the introverted, the strong-willed and the softhearted. Students and teachers especially are drawn together through methods and melodies, and, sometimes, even by the lineage of teaching.
Interestingly enough, the great German composer Handel, who died in the 1700s, was Beethoven's teacher. Beethoven greatly appreciated the lessons and had such kind words to say of him as, "Go to him to learn how to achieve great effects, by such simple means." Beethoven then applied these 'simple means' to the teaching of Carl Czerny, the son of one of Beethoven's Austrian associates. Czerny went on to become a well-known pianist, composer, and teacher of the 1800s.
Carl Czerny became Theodore Lietchitzy's teacher. Lietchitzy was the teacher of Marie Prentner, Malwine Bree, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and Grace Potter Carroll. Both Prentner and Paderewski were so impacted by Lietchitzy's methods that they wrote books about the principles he taught, while Carroll went on to tutor Michael Rickman, a concert pianist who won second prize in the Leschitizky International Piano Competition and also made his debut at Carnegie Hall.
Michael Rickman became Alice Margaret Byerts' piano teacher, instructing her with the methods he had been taught that she now passes on to others.
Every step down the line is a furthering of the original methods of Handel and Beethoven. The same principles that the first famous composers instilled in their students have been carried down all the way to Mrs. Byerts, as if she had been taught by the brilliant pianists themselves.
To further this table of interesting connections, Alice Margaret also attended college with and studied music alongside Norm Lewis, the former Phantom of the Opera star. Lewis has performed in numerous Broadway productions and shows and is considered a seasoned, well-known professional actor. He and Mrs. Byerts were taught by the same voice teacher with the same techniques, though they took different paths.
This story is forever amusing and impactful in its illustration of the power and legacy of music education, and the connections between the students and teachers are real and compelling. Every day one can marvel at being taught the same way Beethoven was, and strive to be just as inspirational as he and so many other incredible musicians.