Joe's Blog

“The Three Faces of Irving”?

September 17, 2018

Three pronouns that refer to the same pianist: I, you and s’he”

The reference is to the movie “The Three Faces of Eve” in which a woman with multiple personalities gradually learns how to integrate the first personalities with a newly arisen third personality.

Irving is playing a short Schubert waltz.  He is having difficulties at certain particular spots.  In my ‘position,’ mentally as well as spatially apart from him, I could tell not only with my ears when there was a problem (a hesitation, a wrong note, etc.), but I also could tell what procedure would offer a solution to the problem.

I wanted him to develop the ability to be, as I was, an observer of himself, and be in fact be a teacher to himself.  He need not be the person who just in a passive sense suffers from the “slings and arrows of outrageous” notes, but to step out the “first person singular” (I / me), and into a more lucid observer of himself.

We thus tried to create a second person singular, a “you”,  who was still nonetheless Irving, but who was , especially in an emotional sense, apart or separate from the first person, who was able to observe dispassionately what was going on and not react emotionally to any difficulties that the first person was experiencing.   This second person could take a calmer notice as to when and where the first person is having difficulties, and dispassionately making mental notes to himself  where they occurred.

We let this second person singular become the ‘teacher’, of the first person singular.  This second person can feel as if they figuratively sit beside the first person, and thus can have a different perspective on what is happening.  This second person has the ability to use his or her reason and reflection to find a solution to each problem.

The first person becomes the “student in you” and  is  the part of ones self that is actively involved in making the music.   The second person can become “the teacher (or older person) in you”.    Everything that goes on during the lesson between Irving and me are sample dialogues between the first and second person that the student can then internalize.

There can be a third person singular too (he / she / him / her ), who observes the first two people.  This self is even more removed from the active player than the second person.  She may be the one who is in the audience listening to the concert or perhaps writing a review of the concert.

She not only notes, but can reconcile, the interactions between the first and second person.  She can tell when, during a performance, the first two are communicating well with each other, or when they should have been communicating with each other.

So, thank you to Irving, Irving and Irving.  Reminds me of an old Jewish joke about a law firm (write me if you want to know the joke).

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