Heroes, just for one day...

WHAT is "a terribly heroic instrument"? Murray McLachlan, who will be one of the speakers at the European Piano Teachers Association (UK) one-day conference in Nottingham, offers a clue: "We're like the Fausts of music. We can do everything and nothing. We can evoke, imply and imitate other instruments, sounds and sonorities. It is the instrument for thinkers, the instrument of ideas."

Answer: the piano. But is there a future for the piano in the age of keyboards and digital sounds? Murray McLachlan adds, "The pianist is seen as the solitary and lonely artist."

The EPTA conference, which will take place on July 1, aims to bring together the fragmented community ofpiano teachers. As well as Murray McLachlan, who is head of keyboard at Chetham's School of Music, speakers include Louise Gibbs from Goldsmiths College, John Sloboda, professor of psychology and music at Keele and Renna Kellaway, head of keyboard at the Royal Northern College of Music. A rousing question time will focus on key issues: the need to improve accessibility of pupils to good teaching, to improve teaching skills and for new initiatives in piano teacher training. Says Murray McLachlan: "There is not much training to be a piano teacher."

Details: pound;40; members pound;35; students pound;25, from Joan Greenburgh, tel 0161 973 6275, e-mail: waldeks@compuserve.com

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