Piano Artistry - Painting Pictures of Sound in the Ear
Do you appreciate a simple beam of light shining on the side walk, or imagine how a photograph will look as you frame your subject in the camera s lens and snap the picture? If so you have the creative gift of observation. Piano artists learn to observe with their ear.
Piano sheet music is no more than ink blots on paper. So how does a professional pianist or a piano student transform this into a beautiful picture of sound? The same way a painter does, with brushes! Yep, there are lots of different brushes available to a pianist, as well as hues of color. Piano artistry includes a palette of playing styles, rhythms and techniques to tell and illustrate musical stories.
Music always has a story to tell. The Russian Sailor Dance for example is a traditional physical endurance test sailors perform to music in a minor key. It has a steady march beat famous for repeated notes. It s not a happy tune, but it helps sailors impress girls with their physical strength. It s the one where they bend their knees and kick out one foot at a time to the music with their arms crossed over their chests. Get the picture? It s awesome! Now imagine military Muscovites in Red Square performing their traditional dance to a waltz. It just wouldn t produce the same affect! Outraged Russians girls would protest. Hey mates, what gives? If we were impressed by a waltz, we'd marry dancing bears!
Pianists and other musicians tell stories illustrated with music that has the power to bring history back to life and touch the hearts of people everywhere. Just imagine what the movie Star Wars would be like without music?
If you re a piano student who wants to play with more artistry and style, ask What s the story that I m trying to tell with this piece of music? Am I conveying the right picture? How could I get this message across to an audience more clearly? Experiment with different playing styles and techniques until you find the one that tells the story best. Remember you re not just the piano player. You re also the artist and the director. Learn to observe with your ear and snap the right picture!