10 Keys to Expression

THREE

Finding your audience.  Strategic preparation.  Trust.

I often see discomfort immediately in piano students when I mention an opportunity coming up to perform  Yet, I also witness how powerful performing can be when students share their music.  Finding the right audience, strategic preparation and trust are the three essential pieces to having positive and meaningful performances.

Audiences vary so much in today’s digital age, yet at the same time, they can be no different than before the word “digital” had any meaning.  For some students, playing for a small gathering of close family or friends is what gives them joy and propels their work.  For others, posting a performance on YouTube anonymously might give them the interaction they are looking for in their development of ideas.  It was in graduate school, that I became aware of which audiences fueled my work and which audiences threatened to extinguish my drive to continue growing and sharing.

Strategic preparation is also a necessary component.  Performing a piece is extremely different than practicing one.  It feels different, it sounds different, and our brain processes the music differently.  If performance isn’t viewed as a process to practice, students can be left with the idea that they simply aren’t good performers.  This is a dangerous label – it’s limiting and it’s simply false in a developing pianist.

Once you’ve found the right audience, thoroughly prepared and are ready to share your piece, there’s nothing left to do but trust yourself.  Hours and hours of practice can be meticulously completed, yet if you feel insecure and unworthy of someone’s listening ear, your power to communicate will be undermined.  Own your voice, trust your preparation, and let the music be the center in the room.

With the holidays approaching, there’s no better time to put the piano in the room to use.  Pull out those favorite old pieces and share your joy with those you choose to be your audience!

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