Monday, September 15, 2014

Habit Hits Happening

Emphasizing technique* in piano study is closely related to the sort of  conditioning produced by constant re-listening to the same recorded performance of a piece of music.  After a repetition or two most people stop listening, unless they are listening for specific details or with an agenda that requires repeated hearing.

But for most people repetition is a turnoff of real attentiveness.

So what happens when you are in the same room with a live performance of, to pick one of my favorite over-heards, Fuer Elise?  I get a great kick out of playing such pieces imagining Beethoven is right there, making it up as he goes along.  Just how far apart are those first two notes: in terms of tonal weight? in terms of timing?

Wait 'til you hear it!

*Every time I think of piano technique I am reminded of what Busoni said about teaching it:  To paraphrase: Technical exercises should be assigned the way doctors prescribe toxic medicines.