Piano Inspires Podcast: Robert Weirich

To celebrate the latest episode of Piano Inspires Podcast featuring Robert Weirich we are sharing an excerpted transcript of his conversation with Nicholas Phillips. Want to learn more about Weirich? Check out the latest installment of the Piano Inspires Podcast. To learn more, visit pianoinspires.com. Listen to our latest episode with Weirich on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or our website!

Nicholas Phillips: I know that your path in music and your career in academia took several turns along the way. Can you talk a little bit about the process of making hard decisions because they can ultimately lead to other really enriching opportunities?

Robert Weirich: Well, yes. The problem with making hard decisions is you don’t know what the result will be; you don’t know what the future will be. When you make a decision, you simply have to live with what ever comes next. My very first teaching job—well, actually, before I had my first teaching job, I was a student at Yale, around New York City a lot. I had some connections there. I really debated whether to stay there in the New York area and try to make it as a soloist. But instead, I took the Tulane job, and the rest is history, as it were. I ended up really loving teaching. Even at Tulane, I—two years later, I had an offer to teach at Northwestern. It was really hard to make that decision even though it was a prestigious jump in the job. I really loved New Orleans, and I still miss it. So you just never know what you’re going to come up with. I think it is proof of that saying—what is it? If you’re dealt lemons, make lemonade. So you just have to make lemonade all the time, whatever it is.

NP: In the book, you talks a lot about how learning is something that begins at a certain point, but never really ends, and it’s an important point for us all to remember, don’t you think?

RW: Yeah, for sure. I think the thing about learning—you do want to learn new things, but I think it’s also important to learn more deeply the things you already know. There’s a chapter in the book about the spiral curriculum, which is a term coined by Jerome Bruner, an educational psychologist. The idea is that in learning anything, you learn very basic things first, and then as the learning continues, it’s like you’re on a spiral up, and you keep coming back to those things that you learned at the lower level, and then you go a little higher and higher and higher. So you are in fact, learning those basics more deeply every time. I just think that’s a good thing to keep in mind.

Robert Weirich with his former student, Allison Shinnick Keep, at NCKP 2023: The Piano Conference.

NP: It’s really important for us to continue to be open to new experiences, while also enriching previously learned things.

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Piano Inspires Podcast’s latest episode, listen to the entire episode with Robert Weirich on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or our website!


Not yet a subscriber? Join for only $7.99/mo or $36/yr.

piano inspires logo, black with colored stripes in the tail of the piano