Episode #3 of our Series on the visionary Italian Artisan of Piano Pedagogy Franco Scala is called “The Dynamics of Movement.”
Now an octogenarian, Scala is a master of perceiving how the pianist’s body works at the keyboard. He also possesses a keen intuition of the psychology of developing young artists.
Scala’s ability to analyze the body and predict sound by observing how the pianist sits at the instrument is legendary among his circle of former students and colleagues. He notices where muscles tend to tense up at precise moments in a score just before a difficult passage, where holding one’s breath during those passages causes memory slips due to lack of oxygen to the brain, and how superfluous motions can impede a pianist’s intended sound. In fact, he studies a student’s intention as much as the results.
Scala specializes in teaching extraordinarily gifted pianists, many of whom have innately strong ideas about the music. He developed a psychological style of teaching these students where he remains flexible and open to their ideas while continuing to challenge them. He builds trust slowly while encouraging the student to draw more out of him as a teacher.
This episode features Scala student Giles Bae’s radiant recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.