Archive for February, 2015

Ronald Farren-Price Melbourne University

February 26, 2015

There are some people who are a cut above the rest of us and have the humility to be unaware of this fact. Ronald- Farren Price is one of those people and I was delighted to find an article about him in the February edition (2015) of the MCM (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music) News when he earned a University of Melbourne Award.
He was the inspiration for my career in music I had always I loved playing the piano but I had no intention of ending up using it as a basis for a career and of becoming a music teacher in schools. He was my examiner when I sat for a grade 8 piano exam when I was a schoolgirl in Hobart Tasmania. He saw through the moody teenager that I was and managed to overlook my huffing and puffing through the first pieces, making the odd mistake here and there, I finally relaxed for the final piece. By then I’d decided that I must have failed the exam, so what happened next didn’t matter so I relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed playing the final piece for my own pleasure. At the end of the exam, as a typical teenager, I didn’t even have the courtesy to say goodbye properly, I stormed out of the room and went for a long walk – not caring if anyone knew where I was. Later, when the results came in, I was amazed and delighted when he awarded me a distinction on the strength of the final piece and so provided the foundation for my future studies and career. It was he that I asked to have as a teacher when I went to Melbourne University.
He taught me a great deal and, most importantly, taught me how to relax when playing so I was able to get through the final piano recital in spite of my nerves.
I also have memories of spilling tea all over him when I forgot that there were two doors to the music room, babysitting for him once and he was especially sympathetic when my mother died before the written finals which had to be postponed. I also remember being miffed when he showed special interest in my friend who was playing second piano when I was supposed to be having my lesson on the last two movements of the Schumann Piano Concerto. My friend was sight reading the part, I guess, so I suppose I have to give him his due.
No doubt many other memories will be brought to mind as Ron’s name is mentioned – like him playing the Beethoven Sonatas in Melba Hall and the gentle crunch of lettuce as he ate his lunch during one of my lessons because his time was so limited. There were also the 8.30 in the morning lessons – very hard for me to focus at that time, but for Ron, it was no trouble.
I look forward to hearing more about this famous pianist who somehow manages to remain human in spite of his amazing talent and high profile career.