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The physical side of piano performance

The physical side of piano performance

Our piano students are pushed to practice using any spare time they can find. The latter can prove to be a bit challenging for concentration. It takes some time for a pianist to get in the momentum. Sometimes we lose 30 minutes before we manage to direct our undived attention to what we are studying. What should we do during that first "intellectual" warming up period? While our intellectual resources load, we can spend some time in initiating our performing apparatus. Practising scales, arpeggios, thirds, trills and sixths is a specific task. We need to have a toolbox of exercises that require no musical involvement and therefore allow us to focus on the physical side of music. When we play a scale our primary focus of attention should be on analysing how we are dealing with our body weight and the sound we produce. The idea is to acknowledge the maximum volume we can produce with each pianistic movement. Once we are aware of the dynamics we can produce with each pianistic movement then we are ready to make our technical choices. To make this technical trials, we need to reach the musical learning stage with a fully engaged performance system. Counting on it, we proceed to apply the rightmost movement for each specific passage. Once we are positive about the choices we have made, then we perfect them. Perfecting a performance implies practising not only the delivery of the piece "note-wise" but also the technical coordination. This interpolation of movements is oriented to facilitate the production of the dynamics that we planned and the articulations specified in the score. Achieving the right balance between perfecting our technical skills, learning new material and maintaining our repertoire is our primary concern as professional pianists. For further reading on these matters, visit WKMT's last article on "How to practice more efficiently."

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