At its best, Internet is just wonderful!! It connects me to great people from all over the world. A few months ago, I got an e-mail from a woman with whom I had an interesting discussion about creativity. She made me aware of English online Magazines on the topic, among them the Lifewide Magazine. Please look out for my contribution in the January issue! The topic is EXPLORATION, and I will explain my approach to exploring improvement potential on the physical, mental and emotional level. I realize that I do preach technique almost all the time, but the main thing in creating connection through music, is nevertheless EMOTION! Here is a short excerpt from my forthcoming article:
Despite all this talk about technicalities and systematic exploration of piano playing, my honest opinion is that music, first and foremost, is about transmitting and sharing human experience on the emotional level. For this reason, I explore how I better can connect with both the emotional content of the music and with the audience. In the old days, people said that music was the language of the heart. Nowadays, classical music has sadly become more sterile, perhaps due to the recording industry and the many competitions for young musicians. Emanuel Bach, one of the sons of Johann Sebastian, wrote a gem of a piece of advice in his piano treatise of 1753 (English translation by William Mitchell, 1949):
A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved. He must of necessity feel all of the affects that he hopes to arouse in his audience, for the revealing of his own humour will stimulate a like humour in the listener.
I think the most important part to advance the emotional level is to actually feel the music – first in the practice room and then by daring to share the feelings with the audience. I take Emanuel Bach’s advice and actively practice feeling the various emotions in the music. When practicing a happy piece, I practice feeling happy until I laugh! In a dark piece, I sometimes practice feeling the heaviness until I actually cry while playing through the piece at home, all by myself. In my experience, this embeds the emotions deeply in a piece and makes it easier to portray it confidently and convincingly when on stage.
On a side note, I have one great tip for any hint of performance anxiety (the topic as such must wait for another time): Stay happy. Do whatever you need to keep your mood up. I ignored this fact for way too long: It is very hard to be happy and scared at the same time. Make happiness win!!
That was all for the article so far. You have to wait until January to read the conclusion. But you already got the most important part! For now, I conclude like this:
PLAY the PIANO