Is it okay to fake at the piano? Many teachers would say that you must not fake on the piano. I would tend to agree with them. But is this all encompassing?
Let me give you some examples where faking or not playing totally accurately might actually be necessary.
Everything we strive for in practice and in teaching is geared to ensure that you know the score faithfully and can perform accurately. So, why would you want to ever play sloppily?
There have been times where I was called upon to accompany someone at an audition when their pianist didn’t show up at the last minute. Imagine sight reading the Hindemith Trombone Sonata under such circumstances if you had never played the piece. Hindemith scores are extremely complex pieces of music that are nearly impossible to read accurately at first glance. There may be some parts you can play accurately depending on the level of your reading. But some sections will be impossible to grasp initially up to tempo without working things out.
In this instance, if the trombonist didn’t have an accompanist, they couldn’t even take the audition. In situations like this, I have reluctantly accepted the challenge to rescue the soloist. I have gone in and grabbed as many notes as possible. Most importantly, I stayed with the soloist never allowing any problems to interfere with the fluidity of their performance. This is one instance where faking will be inevitable.
Here is another example. You are playing a concert and you are well prepared and are in great shape. Then you get to a certain part and something happens where you find yourself over the wrong set of keys. This could be due to a number of things such as a mechanical issues with the piano or you simply got distracted by something in the room. There is nothing better that you can do than to fake it until you get back on track because if you stop you will ruin the performance for everyone. Not only that, but people will be very uncomfortable for you. An eerie silence in the middle of a performance is not something you ever want to subject anyone too much less yourself! You are much better off faking your way through a little bit to get back on the right track rather than to correct or go back to the beginning of the section.
So there is a place for faking in some unusual circumstances. But we do everything in our power to avoid doing it. But when the situation comes up, the show must go on!
Thanks for joining me, Robert@LivingPianos.com.