Music Seminars

Rollin Wilber

THE ART OF LISTENING: “Mazurka: The Intimate Chopin”


I have designed these series to put you, the listener, in direct contact with the performer.

Firstly, the music is presented in a more intimate setting than the concert stage, Then, as individuals in the “audience”, you work together with me (and possibly other performers), all responding to the nuances in the music. You may ask questions, and share your thoughts and feelings arising from what you hear. No longer just a passive receiver of the music, you actively participate in what I am “re-creating” as the performer. The result is that together we uncover ideas that the composer has conceived. We become focused to listen for a deeper, greater experience, in detail, from the music. We may even discover real ‘inspiration’ together (and we will talk about that). It may well change how you listen.

These series are developed and given by me, pianist ROLLIN WILBER, as performer and your guide. Composers and musical styles are explored in this unique musical interchange, at a level rarely pursued in other educational institutions, concert formats, or seminars. This is a mostly non-academic approach to reveal the beauty of music itself.

It is for MUSICIANS and NON-MUSICIANS alike! This is all about closer listening to great music, so there is inspiration to be found with everyone. During these sessions, you will always hear unadulterated works of fine music given in cultivated, live performances.

Teaching Program

from The Art of Listening series


Frederic Chopin’s Mazurkas for the piano are rich with expressions of the child, the man and his native country (19thC Poland), composed over the span of his life. Given that they are pieces less performed in our country, we are afforded here the opportunity to become familiar with them in an intimate way. Delving into these gems of expression, through active discussion of Chopin’s character, humor and spirit, goes to the purpose of this course, to maximize the benefits we can gain from enhanced listening.



three sessions, three hours per session

WHERE: at my home studio, in the the Manayunk section of Philadelphia –
4400 Dexter Street, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Cell #: 215.803.9725

WHEN: THURSDAY nights – May 14, June 4, June 25 (6:30PM – 9:30PM)

SUNDAY afternoons (repeat of Thursdays) – May 17, June 7, June 28 (1:30PM – 4:30PM)

COURSE FEES: $30.00 per day/sessionFor your convenience, you can make payment in advance, or at the time of the sessions themselves. (I can accomodate all payment types, including credit cards.)

ENROLL: You may enroll in one session only, or in as many as you wish. On this website, go to “CONTACT US”, and use the form there to e-mail me the dates you would like to attend.

*OR* call me on either phone number above. You can also write in by regular mail. PLEASE include all you contact information.

NOTE: These dates are subject to change, based on enrollment limitations. They are all listed on this website under “CONCERTS & EVENTS”.



SESSION #1. about Chopin as man and composer; what is a “Mazurka”? first as a dance, and then for its own value of expression? Chopin’s Mazurkas becomes the writing of a journal. We listen to earlier Mazurkas, their differences and endless variety, beginning to feel their intimacy. The dynamics of the vital “trinity” of COMPOSER – PERFORMER – LISTENER. What it means to all of us to truly listen to music and the ideal experience of it, explored through fine details and special moments in the music, and how each of us is moved or affected by them.

SESSION #2. continuing his life and influences; hearing mazurkas that call up deep sentiment for his homeland that he left behind. Universal attributes in the music. How does this music “speak” to us as individuals? as a people?; getting deeper into specifics on music performance as vital to communication. Hearing other works Chopin wrote, and by others, that have “mazurka” in them. Versing ourselves in the musical “language” of expression, strengthening our confidence in critical listening.

SESSION #3. Delving into great mazurkas, leading to you as the listeners, becoming pro-active music coaches! You’ll become the teachers for the teacher, re-enlivening the performance, through your involved and informed listening capabilities and your own awakened senses. PLUS – hearing other works by this remarkable composer, a Ballade, Scherzo, Nocturne, taking us wherever we may go to appreciate the universal reach of this deep music. The most personal can become the farthest reaching. What do we find through a melding of deeper listening with greater life and caring in the music’s performance, and combining that with our familiarity and some understanding of the composer’s intentions? We begin listening for everything possible to enhance that experience, relating it into the rest of our lives and thoughts. How we can all think differently (which we will), yet somehow share common ground in the receiving of that which music gives, “beyond words”.

….. more about “Listening” and its importance to music …..

Classical music is accessible to everyone, and we can go into the heart of it, enhancing our perceptions in order to share its special “language” of sounds, colors, melody and rhythms.

Composers express the idea that “Music begins where words leave off”. With the absolute focus of our attention on close listening, we will use words to help ourselves discover more of that which is inexpressible but in music! At times, it becomes more rewarding by understanding its human elements. A personal story about the composer can bring a piece to life, re-discovered through the music’s expressive details.

To accomplish this, there are demands on the performer. He or she must take risks, give of themselves, project feelings through their playing; it can make all the difference in the world. By directly sharing this with the audience, the group enters an equal partnership; a living thread between composer, performer and you the listener. This unity is vital to the wholeness of music. In live performance, the music is immediate; the composer lives and the listeners and performer come together. Classical music is anything but “dry”, and there are endless roads to its discovery. In THE ART OF LISTENING genre, the stage is set to explore that world without distraction, remove walls, and generate a meeting of all the minds and hearts involved.
“Mazurka: The Intimate Chopin” is designed to enlighten. Instead of a course in the formal study of music, this is an exciting, in-depth collaboration, exploring our responses to what calls out to us in the music.

FREDERIC CHOPIN was born 199 years ago. You and the pianist explore the gamut of expression in these miniature gems, Chopin’s Mazurkas. This music reflects Chopin’s life and soul; we will discover it together. Though each of these three session can stand alone, we will continually enhance our sensitivities to hear and explore different pieces with even more understanding. We will tune ourselves increasingly to this music’s “language”.
Thank you for your interest and support! Every session is always a new and rewarding experience to be shared with involved listeners.

(Other ART OF LISTENING courses are coming: on Impressionism, more on Chopin, on Brahms, Scumann, and Rachmaninoff)


Performance Inquiries