Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today, I’m going to show you how to recharge your piano playing. Have you ever gotten a piece to a really high level and played it on a regular basis, but somehow it goes stale? It’s just not quite there. It’s not like there are trouble spots you can practice. The whole thing just doesn’t have the spark that it once had. How can you get it back into shape? I’m going to show you today. There are some very basic techniques that are going to do the job for you.
Slow practice is one of the most important aspects of piano playing.
I have had the opportunity to study with some absolutely stupendous piano teachers, including my father, Morton Estrin, Ruth Slenczynska, Constance Keene, and John Ogden. They all practiced slowly. Every fine pianist I have ever met practices slowly. Even when you can play something up to tempo, going back and practicing slowly is absolutely essential on the piano. You should also take your foot off the pedal. Listen to what your fingers are doing. The pedal covers so much. I can tell you that these two tips I have just given you are so fundamental that every great classical pianist uses them.
Use the score.
Even if you have a piece memorized, it’s not good enough. You have to reinforce your memory. Do you think you can remember every single detail, like where a slur ends, where a crescendo begins, or the exact voicing of every chord? You must constantly reinforce your memory!
Use the metronome.
Practice with a metronome to keep yourself honest. Put the metronome on a nice, slow speed. Play with no pedal and keep your eyes on the score. The amazing thing is that just going through it slowly like that a few times will already clean up your playing enormously. But if you really want to develop a stellar technique, you can do all the speeds in between, where necessary. You might not have to do all the speeds everywhere. But any place that doesn’t come out consistently or feel comfortable, do progressively faster metronome speeds on those sections.
I remember watching my father practice when he was preparing to record his Brahms album. I used to watch my father practice all the time. I loved it! It was really enriching. I remember he got to a point where he was playing through everything just slightly under tempo without the pedal. It was totally relaxed and clean. That’s what you want. You want to get to the point where you get it up to tempo and it’s all comfortable. The notes are just there. You don’t have to work to make it come out. And because you study the score again and again, slowly seeing every detail, you really perfect your performance.
This is a great way to get any piece back into shape!
If you have a piece that’s gone stale or a piece you’re performing and you want to make sure it’s still in good shape, this technique is bulletproof. Practice slowly, with the score, no pedal, and using a metronome. Try it in your practice! You’ll be amazed at what this can do for your playing! I hope this is valuable for you! Let me know in the comments here at LivingPianos.com and on YouTube! Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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