Friday, December 23, 2011



Have just typed this status to post on my "Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist" Facebook page:

Ridiculous as it may seem, I have been working for months on lesson 1D: "Being Your Own Editor". With any writing, I can't stop working and re-working until it feels finally settled into place. I just locked page one in to what it should be. Now, the snowball can amble down the hill (the lesson has been written and re-written many times, so it's not like I have no additional content). One thing I'm counting on, is that this process becomes easier (or more efficient) for me over time. This, and the last lesson, have been especially challenging. Be assured that this material is not a simple re-hash of what is already out there, or a parroting of what was taught to me. Speaking the intuitive has been a challenge indeed, but one I continue to believe worthwhile. Thanks for your patience.

Though I can't guarantee that it won't continue to evolve, I am comfortable in finally laying a foundation that seems solid to build upon. Will share the content of the (current) first page with you here:

"Soon after setting up the structure for this course, it became clear that the art of musical interpretation needed it’s own space, distinct from the consideration of physical piano technique. It is (at least) sometimes the case, in formal piano study, that proper interpretation is presented as the end product of sound, informed technique. “Do this with your wrist here … to get that result … when the notes go the other way … over there … to lighten this … and emphasize that …”. Makes me dizzy. Authentic human expression and communication shouldn’t be that difficult. When we want to express something verbally, for example, we don’t give thought to the shape that our lips will take, or where our tongue is placed in our mouth; in order to produce a particular sound that communicates the desired meaning/feeling. In other words; (physical) technique, however it is learned, is (generally) not consciously considered in human expression. In musical expression, we practice technique in order to have command over the expression we create. This expression is shaped by musical context and guided from within, most often without conscious thought. As a musician matures, the ease and agility of playing the instrument increases, and the process grows to resemble speaking, in the manner described above. To put it simply; expression happens. Anxiety, agitation, relaxation, tranquility and the breadth of human emotion is evidenced in the manner in which words are delivered, or organized sound in presented. The words or (especially the) notes/sounds do not paint the complete picture. Mature, effective communication considers both the content and the delivery, in a single package, where meaning and context meld it all into focus. When the content of our communication is predetermined from the printed page, however; the process of getting the ideas across expands beyond the straight line. We must first take it in before we put it out, and as such, an ability to interpret (make conscious decisions that, in essence, inform our intuitive direction) is required. According to Miriam-Webster, interpretation can be defined as:
-to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms
-to conceive in the light of individual belief, judgment, or circumstance
-represent by means of art : bring to realization by performance or direction
Have you ever considered any of the above definition as applicable when reading music: that you are explaining it’s meaning, in understandable terms, as your performance brings the composition to realization (back to life), influenced by your own beliefs and understandings?"

Words are tough, but eventually, I feel that I can make them work.

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