Looking Beyond the Notes: Techniques for Bringing Music to Life
Playing the piano is multifaceted. As pianists grow, the way that we play the piano should grow as well. In the beginning, we learn about note names, dynamics, and articulation. These are important factors in our success as pianists and, oftentimes, when we master these techniques in a piece we dub the piece as “completed.” But, there is another facet: techniques to help bring our music to life. Every note has a purpose, a musical word that creates a story, and it is up to us to discover the story, and play the story for our audience.
Elementary/Middle School Students: Listen to a recording of the piece, or play the piece. Does it have lyrics? Next, using a pen and paper write a short story about what YOU think is happening in the piece and keep the short story handy to look over. Every time you play your piece imagine the story unfolding on the keys.
Junior High/High School Students: Research the composer and the piece. What time period does it take place in? Ask your teacher for more background about the musical time period. For example: classical period dynamics and romantic period dynamics are very different.
Our goal as musicians is to create beautiful music. Let’s use every resource available to achieve our goals.