Random ideas about piano playing and teaching

  • First develop your powers for imagining the sound — ‘the vision’ — then develop your muscular awareness so that you can mate the vision with the physical feel of making the sound. This ‘mating’ can only be achieved by constant experimentation — by imagining a sound, trying to produce it so that it matches the image in your head and then by remembering the feel and associating the two together. All of this practice being driven by a profound ‘need’for the sound. “Feel the sound,” as Warren Jacobs has said. To which I would add “Listen with your muscles.” Ernest Empson used to say “The music makes the muscles.” Pupils do not often realise that this process is the way to develop a brilliant technique. They think that slow, thoughtful practice produces slow playing and that fast, mechanical practice, with little thought, produces showy fingerwork. In fact, once you have developed a reliable connection between mind and muscles, you have only to think music — at whatever speed — to physically produce it.

Originally published at www.musicandhealth.co.uk.

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