Playing the piano to a high level, in fact all music-making, allows us to communicate the feelings we have about the music we are playing through sound. A listener might experience the same, but probably also different feelings as a result – and that’s great! When we make music, we do not play to a sterile room, but into the inner thoughts and feelings of those that listen to us. Each audience member gives us their time and attention, and as musicians, we have a responsibility to value this gift and to treat it with care.
Music is an inner language of human life. Recent anthropological studies have found evidence that the primal function of music may lie in the connection between mother and child; the mother’s singing voice conveys a feeling of closeness and safety to the child, even when physically separated. This idea strongly resonates with me – that the most basic message of music is actually: “I am here, you are there, but I am with you”. At its heart, it is about communication.
No matter if we make a sound with our voices, our bodies or using an instrument, a sound can already touch someone else emotionally by itself. But music is also proportion, character, drama, contrast, all together forming compositions of sound, each unique and unrepeatable.
In order to feel at ease at the piano, to make music at this instrument, we need presence of mind and awareness of our body, sensitivity and virtuosity, imagination and attention to detail. We should sharpen our senses for the messages of a score, and view the composer’s written text with great humility and love. To be able to trust in our own inspiration we need to learn craftsmanship; the physical craft of playing our instrument, as well as an intellectual one, based on an intution for harmony, rhythm, form and style. The deeper we delve into these phenomena, the more familiar they become to us, the more we perhaps reaslise that all these things are connected to one another.
Therefore it is important to me to impart a healthy way of playing, one which agrees with the natural forces of the body. This requires an awareness of one’s own breathing and posture, as well as the important ability to be able to respond to one’s own inner sensations. Even if the piano simply sits there on stage in front of us, the moment we touch it, it can become part of us.
I feel immensely honoured that I can explore the world of music together with my students!