With examples for clarinet, piano and viola
How do I practice for joy in music? How can I ensure that I can play the piece by heart? How do I manage not to tense up when I practice? What should I practice first, the notes or the sound or the music, or something else entirely?
These are some frequently asked questions in my seminars and individual sessions.
In this article I describe my approach, how I practice musical pieces that they get into my system "by themselves" and I stay relaxed and fresh. It consists of four simple steps, simple yet powerful, that can make a big difference in your practice. I apply them also with my piano students, and the best of it: they are really, really fun.
Four years ago, Aneta decided that enough was enough. She needed to balance her architectural studies with some activity away from the computer, just working with her hands. She decided to take up ceramics as a hobby. Oh, to make something with her hands that she could finally look at, even touch! That made her feel good. This is how beautiful plates, cups and bowls came into existence, until today. She forms the fine ceramic containers and glazes them in her own oven at home. Now, she even sells them over the internet.
The bowls, plates and cups that Aneta sells are not perfect: the edge is not straight, the color is not even, the shape is not perfectly round ... And yet, many people want to buy her items. I'll come back to that later.
Exactly six weeks ago, I sat in a concert and had one of the strongest realizations of recent times. On the program were clarinet quintets with the Gerhard Quartet and the clarinetist Victor de la Rosa, in a small but fine festival near Barcelona, where my parents live. Today, it's all about commitment.
In advance, I had learned that the Quartet rehearse for six days a week for four hours daily, and that they also practice a few hours per day individually, and have been doing this for eight years. That is a statement. Quartet playing is often referred to as "marriage of four", and not without reason.
Elasticity allows us to regulate our breathing flexibly, to move smoothly, to bring out a plasticity in our sound, and ultimately to feel refreshed after practicing. (Yes, that's possible!)
Elasticity is attained solely through our fasciae, also called connective tissue.
This new, young and grou...
In the field of body awareness methods there's one approach that happens to find a special appeal among certain musicians. This approach says that a musician who has tensions should just stop doing superfluous, "wrong" movements. These would then be saved and the "right" movements would appear by th...
The most emotive moment in the film "Ratatouille" (Pixar, 2007) is the final scene, in which the antagonist, a restaurant critic, who on top of all things is called "Ego", visits our hero's restaurant to write a review. Of his opinion depends the future of the venue, for through his experience and r...
What happens when your performance nerves get the better of you, when you can't play how you know yourself? In a music university audition, this can decide whether you're offered a place to study, or not.
My colleague Cecilia, flute teacher, approached me to ask if I would work with her student An...
On the video you see her withdrawing her shoulders. The first bars of the d-minor piano concerto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are sounding. Pires, whose facial expressions embody different emotions at the same time - from shame over to desperation to decisive - rests her head on her arm at the piano....
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