Enjoying What You Are Playing

Written on July 3, 2013

I'm reading The Art of Practicing and one thing that struck me was that practicing should be enjoyable!  I thought it was work!  I've been practicing certain phrases with a very specific number of repeats hoping that it will sink in eventually.  I allocate my piano time and plan out each session with so many minutes.  But Bruser says that we rob ourselves of the beauty of the sound itself.  Get this:

The less pleasure we receive, the more we try to force the instrument; gripping it tightly instead of moving simply and comfortably.  This tension impedes the flow of musical vibration through the body.

This is so true.  So what I've done today and yesterday was concentrate less on the technical and more on just listening to the music.

Listen up:

Practicing is artful, creating something fresh and genuine.  We can practice being spontaneous rather than mechanical.  The spontaneity that marks a strong, communicative performance is actually cultivated during practice sessions.  The qualities of openness, uncertainty, freedom, and aliveness that characterize performing permeate practicing.

So I chose to hear the music.  To actually listen.  After all, I have to remember why I chose that piece in the first place.