As a teenager, there were weeks when practice time was minimal due to swim team practice and meets, time required to nurture friendships, boy crises, papers to procrastinate and write, and orchestra rehearsals. I would often arrive at lessons with pretty much the same Mendelssohn concerto as the prior week. My teacher, Nickoli Sikorsky would ask, so how was your week and I would say oh fine and begin sight reading the Kreutzer etude assigned weeks ago. After gamely listening to my reading, Nicki would sometimes pull out a Mozart duet and a instead of an hour of struggle, an hour of bliss would ensue.
Kicking back playing a duet I could play along side my virtuoso teacher buoying us on and gave me confidence and opportunity to use the skills I’d already acquired. We soldiered through scales, etudes, new techniques and the Mendelssohn some weeks, but the duets kept me feeling grounded in music through my rocky adolescence. Taking lessons was something I did whether I practiced or not during a time I questioned everything else in my life. How grateful I am to Nicki for working with me through my teenage years and to my parents to continue to support my lessons when they must have questioned at times what the benefit may have been.