Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. Today the subject is about what it means to be musical. Sometimes you hear people say an artist is so musical. What does that mean? Well, there’s a lot to unwrap here!
The piano has so many different facets of abilities that are necessary in order to be able to play successfully.
You might think that somebody who has really good technique must be musical. But technique is something I put under the umbrella of musical abilities or even musical intelligence. Good technique doesn’t necessarily equate to being musical. It does indicate talent for the instrument. Another aspect is security in performance. There are some people who just play their best in front of people. They are good performers, but are they musical? That is really something different, isn’t it?
If a performer doesn’t have security in their performance, it’s difficult to be musical.
Just like if they don’t have technique, how are they going to be able to express anything? There are other aspects too. You need to be able to digest the score. It is crucial to be able to look at a piece of music and make sense of the structure of the piece. Once again, that’s musical intelligence. These are all important aspects of piano playing. All of these things are related. They really are important. How could you possibly be musical if you can’t digest the piece, if you can’t hold it together, or if you don’t have the fingers to be able to to execute the music? But assuming all of those things are there, what does it mean to be musical?
I believe being musical is being able to elicit emotions in the listener.
There are some people who are astoundingly accomplished at the piano. They can play the most difficult music with fluency and security. And yet maybe they leave you cold. But sometimes there’s a student, maybe even a young student who doesn’t have much technique or experience, and they don’t even necessarily do all the things that should be done in a piece, but there’s a beauty to their playing. It makes you feel something! It brings a smile to your face, or maybe sadness. Their playing makes you feel emotions. This is something that is really elusive to describe. It’s even more difficult to teach.
A certain amount of this is inborn.
A certain amount cannot be learned. But like many other things in life, someone who is naturally musical can become more musical by exposure. With good training, and by listening to other musicians who are more accomplished than they are, they can grow musically. Somebody who just doesn’t have much sense of where the music should go, maybe they can learn a great deal. Their musicianship and their ability to elicit emotions and create excitement or sadness can be improved. But somebody who has very little of that natural ability will have a tougher time with musicality.
Everybody can improve!
This doesn’t just go for musicality, for lack of a better word, but all aspects of piano playing can grow. Technique can be improved. Security in performance can be improved. The ability to digest a score can be improved. All of these things can be improved along with that elusive musicality. So don’t fret if you are lacking in one or more of these skill sets. They all can be developed! Nobody has all of them in spades. Everybody has to mitigate their weaknesses and develop their strengths. Thanks again for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
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