improving as a teacher, Teaching Piano

Play forte – but NOT accented…

You know, learning to play an instrument is all about making breakthroughs.  There are so many things to consider and train yourself to do.  It’s a complicated process!  You are never done learning.  There’s always room for improvement.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been realizing that when I play forte on the piano — whether I’m playing my solo pieces or when I am accompanying a vocalist/instrumentalist — it sounds rather “poundy.”  Forte should not necessarily mean accented, however.  Forte can be a big, full sound without the accented front edge of the note.  But how on earth do I achieve this elusive sound?

This week I made a little breakthrough.  Rather than lifting and reattacking quite so much between chords, I need to keep my arm weight the same as I make the chord changes, more with my fingers than my hands (making sure the wrists remain loose and tension-free!).  It’s difficult to explain, but after a few weeks of pondering this issue in my daily practicing, I think I’m beginning to understand how to create this elusive sound.

You know, piano really is all about creating different sounds, colors, tone qualities – whatever you want to call them.  As my teacher used to say, “Music is not a democracy; not all notes are created equal.”  Now I know that this statement does not just apply to balance between melody and accompaniment, but also to various sections of a piece.  Not all forte notes are equal.  🙂

Photo credit: / CC BY-SA 2.0

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