Piano Technique: Connect the Dots

Welcome to a lesson that illustrates the critical importance of momentum and preparation in fluid technique…

Imagine that each dot below represents a note in a legato phrase of music in all of its dimensions: sight, sound, thought, emotion, place on the piano keyboard.

piano-ology-piano-technique-connect-the-dots-0

And ask: What is the most musical way to connect each sight, sound, thought, emotion, and place… both mentally and physically?

Let’s explore several options…

Option#1. One way to connect the dots is to draw a straight line between each one, starting and stopping at each place, both mentally and physically…

piano-ology-piano-technique-connect-the-dots-1

This may seem reasonable, but it is a huge musical mistake for at least three reasons:

  • It treats each note as an isolated event, disconnected from the other events.
  • The arrows are not integrated into one idea.
  • It is stiff and rigid and does not flow in time and space.

We can do better…

Option#2. A better way is to start on the first dot, then smoothly carry momentum into and through the middle dots until you stop on the last dot…

piano-ology-piano-technique-connect-the-dots-2

This is a vast improvement, because it treats the dots as a unified and integrated idea, but we can still do better…

Option #3. The musical way to connect these dots into a single flowing phrase, both mentally and physically, is to have momentum going into the first note… and continue carrying that momentum smoothly all the way through, not merely to, but through the last dot in one smooth and continuous trajectory!

piano-ology-piano-technique-connect-the-dots-3

This approach naturally leads to physical ease and beautiful music!

 

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About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
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