On a balmy Bowen evening, island friends, neighbours and children gather, eager and poised for the night ahead. We are at the beautiful home of Elaine Taylor for one of Bowen’s annual treasures: the end of year recital by Elaine’s piano students. From little ones as young as five clutching music for their first recital, to the confident and flourishing princes of the piano with virtuosic deliveries, all the students have prepared their favourite pieces and have stepped up to offer their best. This is all part of the training ground for the arts and culture that we value so highly on Bowen. Elaine has been contributing to that since 1997, when she opened her piano studio in our community.
Elaine Taylor is a gold medal-delivering ARCT piano instructor. She consistently sets high standards for her students whilst carefully nurturing them to achievement. That achievement translates as first-class honours for those who sit the Royal Conservatory of Music exams. For those who take a different path, this musical training with a much loved teacher sets a foundation of confidence and committed work ethic that yields not only professional benefits, but also a lifetime of musical knowledge and pleasure.
In Elaine’s conservatory, gold stars sprinkled across a deep, dark blue ceiling, and walls featuring art by favourite local painters, we listen as each student settles at the grand piano and delivers his or her best. I was moved by the students’ rendering of impressionistic pieces, noting their careful attention to timing and sound modulation. Whether these were scenes of Arctic wonders, the prancing of clowns, or Mozart’s jaunty Rondo alla Turca, students’ nimble fingers evoked pictures of sound. This is how art is born. Sometimes the small hands are guided by Elaine to get beyond a falter; other times, she sits in duet with her young charges, easing their growing confidence with her participation. Certainly, her older students have claimed a confident musical world they are proud to inhabit, having worked with commitment and diligence to hone their performance skills. This is what comes of years of training. Those little ones with their tiny feet swinging in the air as they wend their way through a basic tune will get there too.