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#6 – Teresa Ling and Jeanette Fang : Making and Making ‘It’ in Classical Music

#6 – Teresa Ling and Jeanette Fang : Making and Making ‘It’ in Classical Music

Aired 11/14/2018

Today, we continue our conversations with Garth Newel musicians : Pianist Jeanette Fang and Violinist Teresa Ling. I asked them to speak directly to any aspiring Classical musicians we may have in the listening audience.

Here’s Jeanette Fang: The first advice I would say is: let go of the, sort of, romantic ideal of it and think about how your life can  be fulfilling in different facets of Classical music. The stereotypical career options are not quite clear anymore, and it’s a fruitful time for people to think outside the box and get creative with what they want to do, Such as working with living composers or doing interdisciplinary collaborations. You know, the audience is slowly swindling for Classical music, and the big question for us is “How do we get young people exposed to and interested in music?” So, outreach is a big part of it. And I think that, specifically speaking about piano, if you want to have, like, a solo piano career playing recitals in big halls — that’s not really tenable anymore. So it’s good to think about how you can contribute by collaborating or to think about teaching maybe. Those sort of things.

Teresa Ling: I love what Jeanette said about all of the new possibilities that are out there, because there are so many ways in which you can just find your own niche, and then find a way to build a following on various social media and whatnot. But I think that as a young person who has an interest in music it is important to develop technique at an early age. Very often people think that it’s enough to just play in their school program or try to get by just playing in the orchestra, but I think it is important to establish a good foundation early on — which makes things so much easier later. You can play music that you’re excited about, I mean, it doesn’t have to be total drudgery. But at the same time, you want to find a good teach who can help guide you and who can give you some great ideas. Somebody who can motivate you to put in some of the hard work, and then I think it becomes even more fun to play what you to play, or to sing. It opens up all sorts of avenues: the better you can be at one instrument, the more possibilities it opens up for all different kinds of instruments, if you decide you want to play many things.

While performing Classical music may take quite the commitment, Jeanette and Teresa encourage anyone with interest to take the plunge into listening to more chamber music. 

TL: There’s enough variety that I think everybody can find something that resonates with them or that touches them. I’ve heard some people say, ‘Well, you know, I don’t know when to clap, and somebody glared at me when I clapped in the wrong place’ (JF: Oh no!). You know I have to say, that as a musician, I’m just happy when people clap. I don’t care when they clap. (JF: *words of agreement*) They can clap while we’re playing, they can clap between movements. I’m always just so pleased when they do! And sometimes, a piece can be spellbinding enough that people just won’t clap at the end.  So to me, it’s just whatever response people have is genuine, and we’re just happy for them to respond in any way. And even when people don’t like something — they let me know. I’ll ask them! I’ll say, “Well, you know…which pieces did you like?” Not every pieces needs to be your cup of tea — not every piece is my cup of tea. But, there’s just enough variety in Classical music that I think it’s relevant to every person. I mean, that’s why it has stood the test of time, and I think live music especially, is important.

JF: We really encourage conversation with audiences. Developing that relationship, as Teresa said…I think it’s actually my favorite part: meeting people who haven’t actually ever been to a classical music concert. It’s just… that feels so great to benefit someone in that way, and also have them discover something.

For more information, www.garthnewel.org

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