Photo Credit: Ann Marsden
Tuesday evening is the best part of my week, as I have my weekly piano lesson with Stephanie Wendt, my teacher for the past 6+ years. Last night's lesson was bittersweet, as it was my final regular lesson, for awhile anyway, with Stephanie; next week I'll begin my studies at Hamline, with a new teacher, learning new things.
Stephanie is an extraordinary pianist, and if there's a word more hyperbolic than extraordinary, she's that as a person. Kind, genuinely caring, insightful, she's also an amazing technician, a compelling performer, and the most "complete" teacher I've ever had. I am a different (better) pianist than I was six years ago, and I owe that to Stephanie's ability to force me--ever so gently--to really listen to what I'm playing, and to decide how I want a note to sound before I play it.
The person I study with next starts at a deficit simply by not being Stephanie. I will keep an open mind; I'm eager to explore new perspectives, to continue moving forward as a pianist. But the voice in the back of my head, the arbiter of my musical good sense, will always be the distinctive, Australian-accented, warm alto voice of Stephanie Wendt.


Eric V. said...

Stephanie Wendt (2000–2007)

deb said...

Lovely lovely lovely.

Well said, and every word of it is true.

She's incredible. In addition to the ferocious performance talent, she knows how to be whatever kind of teacher each of us needs.

I feel anxious on your behalf about transferring your piano self to another. Isn't it nice to know that she's here and available for a second opinion whenever you need one?

Ann said...

While "best part of my week" and "piano lesson" never quite made it into the same sentence for me, your raves about Stephanie still resonate. We should all be so lucky as to know a "Stephanie."

Stephanie said...

Hey, this is awfully nice of you to say! You'll thrive in your new life, even with all the ups and downs that are part of getting degrees. I'll be checking your blog regularly, probably on Tuesday nights when I will miss you coming to your lesson. And I know young Elgin, who followed you, will be asking me, "Have you heard from Scott?"

veloride said...

I had the pleasure in seeing Stephanie perform about 5 years ago at a library close to Ridgedale Mall. I brought my daughter and her friend- both students of the piano- to hear her as well meet her afterwards. Wonderful experience.
At the time I was looking for a teacher and spoke to Stephanie about it but for many reasons I stayed with a teacher closer to my St. Paul home.
Question: Is Stephanie still teaching? Can you send this message to her as I lost her contact details?
Thank you,