Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how to play smoothly on the piano. The answer: Avoid the impossible! What am I talking about? Playing smoothly on the piano is something you hear great artists do. The way they play is just so pristinely smooth. You wish you could achieve that same smoothness in your playing. But your playing sometimes can sound choppy. You don’t know how to achieve that smooth sound that you hear other people doing. You want it so badly, and you wonder, what can you do about it?
One of the most important aspects of learning to play smoothly on the piano is to practice incessantly without the pedal.
When you practice without the pedal you learn how to connect things with your fingers. That’s the secret, in a nutshell, of how to play smoothly. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Oftentimes there are things that are just not possible to play smoothly. So, what can you do about that? Do you just smear it all with the pedal? No. It will sound awful if you do that. You will hear the beginning of the second movement of Beethoven’s Pastoral Sonata as an example in the accompanying video. It’s really hard to connect those opening chords in the right hand. So how do you do it?
The secret is that you shouldn’t try to connect everything.
If you just try to connect everything, you can end up with a mess. There’s no way to bring out any lines. It comes out blocked and choppy. So sacrifice the things that are not as important to connect, for the things that are vitally important to connect, which is the melody! So, in your right hand, you sacrifice the lower notes so that you can connect the melody which is the top line. You can grab a certain amount of those chords on the pedal so it doesn’t sound quite so austere. You purposely let go of the bottom notes so you can connect the top notes. That’s what I mean when I say avoid the impossible. If you try to connect all the notes, you can’t do it. It’s impossible, so don’t even try. If you connect the melody really well, it sounds gorgeous.
Try this in your music!
Whatever you’re playing, when you want to really play smoothly, sacrifice what you can’t connect for what you must connect. That is the lesson for today! Let me know how it works for you in the comments here at LivingPianos.com, and on YouTube. Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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