The piano is an instrument that might seem intimidating at first sight. It is a big instrument with 88 black & white keys and a wide range of dynamics. When you look at a pianist perform, there are many actions happening at once. Pianists play with both hands, read two lines of music and also use the pedals. It is clear that the brain, that is handling this instrument, has many abilities that creates what we call piano performance. But what we need to think about is, what is the education and training that makes a pianist multitask during an intensive situation like live performances.
What does it take to be a performing pianist? What we see on stage is the result of years of practicing on just the basics of the piano performance. At Lessons In Your Home, our job is to prepare you for your future music career path with piano lessons in Washington D.C.. Let’s focus on what it takes to become an accomplished performing pianist.
Sit Up Straight
Good posture helps you to feel comfortable from day one sitting at the piano. It looks like a small detail but it is one of the most important, according to Washington D.C. piano teachers. Sitting long hours at a piano can be challenging, especially if you are not using the right sitting habits. So how do we sit at the piano?
We sit right at the middle of the bench with a straight back. Your hands need to be curved and the shoulders should feel relaxed and comfortable. The touch of the piano should be light and effortless but active.
Pianists should be brilliant in reading music, after all that is their job, whether it be an accompanist at a church, in a school or professionally in an ensemble. The ability to sight read needs to be very strong so a pianist in any level of expertise has to have daily practice of sight-reading. As your level of reading gets stronger, the harder the pieces you can sight-read. With this skill, pianists will feel more comfortable on the stage playing with an ensemble.
Listening and being present
It takes a while for pianists to become mindful about their practice. Being present helps someone become a better piano player. A pianist is just a robot if they are playing at a concert but thinking about their list of groceries for the next day. The consciousness in playing helps with the sound we create. We need to listen to what we play and make it less mechanical and more musical.
Expressing a feeling is one of the main reasons we play our instruments. We want to transfer through a piece of music, a mood or expression. Making phrases and being able to articulate is one of the key elements in piano performance. That is what makes each pianist unique, because every person has their own interpretation. Composers tend to have stories in their minds when they compose a piece or some think of colors. As performers we need to use our imagination to create something new for our listeners and to make them interested.
This is a topic that is often neglected.. Confidence is the basic aspect of any performing arts. It is the fuel for a person to walk on the stage wanting to be seen by others while they create their art. In order to be confident in performing an instrument like piano, they need to become solid on each of the skills mentioned above, separately for years.
There is much more to piano performance which comes with experiencing the stage. If one wants to learn about piano performance there is no better practice than actually performing. It could be only for your family or friends, at a Lessons In Your Home recital and later in bigger concert halls like Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
If your child is interested in taking up music lessons, we could help set you up with a wide array of teachers. They can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child.
By Mehrnoush Aghagholizadeh