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"I've composed since the age of 14—or even younger—and have always improvised. When I sit down at the piano, both those things almost always come out, and they feed each other."
"About eight years ago I started a class called New Music Improvisation that's not based on songs, like jazz is; it can be based on anything. Some of it is just free improvisation. Some of it is based on images, or reactions to poetry, or even specific instructions I give. We go into that area where jazz and classical merge, where the labels fall away and it could be any kind of style."
"I encourage all my piano students to improvise, no matter what their style is. I want my students to develop an awareness and openness to different approaches, gain a better sense of what they want to express and how to do it, and develop 'bigger ears.' It's really important to get back to the essence of listening; it's the number one thing I stress as a player. Good dynamics, expression, and interaction all follow from that."
"My relationships with students are very important, which I think goes back to the relationships I had with my own teachers. Those were important to me, not only to talk about the subject at hand, but to feel that you could explore your own thoughts and discoveries with them. A huge amount of my teaching today involves passing down what I learned from my own teachers. I still quote Fred Hirsch from lessons we had back in 1980."