discover your inner musician...
Thoughts On Music
From Anthea: Performance Preparation
Please remind yourself of these important points when practising towards any performance (including your weekly "play again" revision music).
- You must be prepared to play a piano that is not the one you practice on at home. That means you have to be completely secure on your own piano, able to play with no slips and no hesitations, each time you play the music. Use slow motion practice and repeated section practice to make it all secure. Then do it all again (and again). The reward of this is that you will feel more comfortable playing a "strange" piano, and the world is full of new pianos out there waiting for you to meet them! Your piano at home can be like your "best friend" piano (mine is), but the others can be an interesting adventure.
- Work on using your fingers effectively the way I keep showing you. I keep talking about it because it makes a real difference. If you hold your fingers curved, with your wrist, back of hand and arm relaxed, the finger muscles will be stronger and able to work better. Then you will have more strength and control of every note in your music. The ends of your fingers will be playing straight down into the keys, not at an angle. That will pay off every time you meet a new piano that feels different to your own, as you will be able to adapt to playing it faster. You will also be able to play your piano and mine, better, every time!! You are using two main parts of your body to play music: your brain and your fingers. But (I hope) only your fingers are touching the keys! Therefore training them to work well is the way to make them able to carry out what your brain is telling them play. Your mind needs to be clear, and your fingers need to be strong and agile.
- Practice playing to an audience. Your family, your friends, your class, school assembly. And also you can imagine the concert situation every time you play that music in the last week before the performance. Picture clearly how you will smile at your audience as you go up to the piano, taking big, purposeful steps. Picture sitting down and taking some time to have the seat exactly how you like it, and making sure your music is all ready in place on the stand. Picture calmly hearing the first few bars of music in your head at exactly the best tempo before beginning to play. Then play it at that tempo. When you come to the performance, do all that in reality.
- Very importantly, remember that you have a responsibility towards your audience. It is a delight to them to listen to you play well. It is uncomfortable for them to listen to you play badly (by which I mean, so badly that they can’t help but notice). If you have followed my advice in preparation you really will never play badly. A slip here and there will be easily played past and will not ruin a well-prepared performance. This applies to every audience you ever play to – including your parents, your grandparents, your friends and me. It’s true for me every time I hear you play, particularly with those "play again" pieces and your recital pieces every week leading up to the Recital. It is a delight to listen to you play well. It is uncomfortable to listen to you play poorly.
- The reason why we choose your Recital pieces early and I hear them each week is because it takes that long to be completely sure of them. You can’t do as good a job preparing them if you leave it to the last week to do it! It takes longer than that for your brain and your fingers to be completely sure of everything. The time you spend on preparing the music will be time well spent. It will bring you and your audience satisfaction and pleasure. Also when you have learned music this well, you will never completely forget it.
- Keep remembering, you have a responsibility to both yourself and your audience to do the best you can in a performance.
From Anthea: Developing Proprioception
Unfortunately when editing just now this information was lost, and I will need to rewrite it. I hope to have it back soon!