Dec 032014
Finding the Kinesthetic Feeling of the KeyboardThe piano and the pianist have a relationship. It’s different from the violinist who cradles the instrument under his chin or the cellist whose body enfolds the instrument. It’s different from the woodwind or brass player who constantly breathes the life of music through the instrument. It’s certainly different from the singer who is their instrument. read the rest
Jun 132013
We know we ought to concentrate, be aware, and focus on what we are doing. But for most of us it’s rather difficult. We all know people who seem to have an uncanny ability to do this. For a few, it’s so strong they can be totally unaware of what’s going on around them. But many of us are easily distracted, sometimes so much so it’s even hard to get to the piano in the first place. read the rest
Apr 112013
“Everyone wants to feel in ‘control’ – feel ‘inspired’ – feel themselves ‘relaxing’ – ‘focusing’ and ‘concentrating.’ That is why we love our effort so much. But it just doesn’t work that way! When you are all of these things you ‘feel’ nothing – for real control just controls. You simply ‘are’ – concentrating, inspired and in control. read the rest
Feb 242013
Recently I’ve been reminded how valuable slow practicing is. For most people this is extremely important, for a few, not so much so. I don’t mean any absolute speed but rather one in which we can play the notes and rhythms successfully. Easier pieces won’t need as slow a pace as harder ones. As one’s music reading gets better, the pace can and should increase. read the rest
Oct 022012
Performance The nervousness of performance is like distraction during practice, it doesn’t go away. However, some days are better than others. The trick is to accept the feelings of the day and ultimately use their energy to enhance the performance. Cold yet sweaty hands, tremulous fingers, tight chest, and angst in the pit of the stomach — they all characterize performance anxiety. read the rest
Feb 282012
The Work of MusicFor some adult students, the love of music creates a paralysis of learning that is remarkable and surprising. We always assume that the love of a subject is an important ingredient in learning; but too much can get in the way. For some, music is so precious and wonderful that their awe of it makes it hard to approach the nitty-gritty work necessary for mastery of the common physical tasks of music making. read the rest
Feb 282012
Finding the Kinesthetic Feeling of Rhythm

The Problem

Rhythmic pulse is spontaneous and visceral, straight from the mind of the body. Counting out loud feels forced and comes straight from the mind of words and concepts. A basic task for any student is to bring these two minds together to form the rhythmic unity which is the energy of music. Finding this unity is especially difficult for adult students. read the rest