Dr. Richard Stanton will be performing in a Rush Hour Concert this Friday, January 29, 6:00p.m. at Spoleto Festival USA, The Murray Center, 14 George Street, Charleston. He recently moved to Charleston from Minnesota and is one of our newest faculty members! Here’s an interview we did with him, where he talks about music, teaching and his life.
Come this Friday to hear him perform music of Bach, Schubert, Franck and Chopin.
- What brings you to Charleston?
My wife and I retired from our jobs in Minnesota and moved here because we had come as visitors and loved the city. We were looking for a place where we could be outdoors all year round with no snow or ice. We also came to be closer to our son, who lives in Maryland.
- Tell us about some of your favorite music.
I have loved the music of Rachmaninoff since my teacher in high school first introduced me to it. For piano students I would recommend listening to the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the 3rd Piano Concerto.
- Do you have any particular teaching philosophies?
I want to help my students catch the thrill of playing this wonderful instrument, the piano. In my last twelve years of teaching I taught mostly by the Suzuki method. There are many points of commonality between Suzuki method and traditional teaching. I believe that when parent, child, and teacher are all part of the training, children will be more successful. I assign specific strategies for practicing the most difficult parts of pieces. Young students generally do not take a piece apart and practice it in chunks. When parents attend the lessons and supervise home practice, more frequently than not I see students who progress and learn to enjoy the piano.
- What is the role of music at this point in your life?
I love to practice and play the piano. Now that I am retired (except for one teaching day a week at CAM), I have more energy and time to devote to my own playing. Teaching five days a week is draining for many teachers, and me, and now I feel fresher and more creative on the one day that I do teach.
- What else do you do outside of CAM?
I love to run, bike, play board games, and hike. Most of these things I do with my wife. We are loving our retirement here!
- Please share some of your favorite stories from your performing or teaching experience.
In Minnesota I had many students who began lessons when they were four or five and who are now in junior high or high school or college. I have loved watching them grow in ability and confidence. For some music has been life altering for them and for their families. Two of my families planned a going away gathering for me last summer. They took pictures of their children and me and told stories of what my teaching had meant to them. They also stunned me with a gift of over $1500 to help pay for moving my piano to Charleston!
- What do you think are the benefits for a young student studying music?
Learning the discipline of daily practice, learning how to do something that is very difficult, not quitting when things get tough, self confidence in front of an audience, and an appreciation of classical music in addition to the other kinds of music they enjoy.