Friday, May 21, 2010

Yes, but aren't exercises simply exercises? If the body were a machine the answer might be "yes." But the body is not a machine. (Perhaps one cause of many sports-related injuries is that people expect their bodies to behave like machines.) Our hands, being no less expressive than our eyes or our face, are ill-served by being subjected to mechanization.

Once that has happened a person will understandably have trouble reconnecting the hand to auditory nuances. It is a bit of an uphill battle to teach children to respond to what they hear; nothing in our culture favors subtlety in that department. But once children realize that they have this power, "technical" problems become expressive extensions of their inner experience. They become fascinated, even (I would go so far as to say especially) with scales.

Our piano-playing culture seems to conform to the "first-kill-the-horse-and-then-it-will-obey-you" school.