The harm that accumulates from trivial acts of evil, according to Hannah Arendt, is mostly not the result of a nefarious purpose but rather of a mindless lack of intent.
The harm that accumulates from trivial piano practicing is mostly not the result of a nefarious purpose but rather of a mindless lack of intent.
First do no harm
to the physical machinery of the body,
to the universal principles of music, and
to the ethical responsibility of an artist.
Even Zeus must, in 10,000 pieces, sacrifice
Chronos, the god of time, to
Hēphaistos, the god of craft, and pray to or seduce
Athena, the goddess of wisdom, to win the favors of
Apollo, the god of Music, and
Kairos, the god of the inspired moment, as to not fall into the talon grasp of
Phobos, the god of fear, and avoid the wrath of
Acrasias, the god of bad decisions, on the Olympic Stage.
Schubert threw his hands in the air, cursing, while playing his own Wanderer Fantasy in public, most likely 18 bars before the end of the third movement, and stated in dismay: "This piece is impossible! The Devil shall play it!!"
I deduct that he didn't think of the Dark Lord of Evil, Diábolos, Satan, Master of the Four Horsemen, the Destroyer of Worlds, Enemy of all divine and human,
but rather of the Light Lord of Lies, Mephistopheles, Loki, Lucifer, master of might and magic, not maleficent but cunning, the trickster, the shapeshifter, the illusionist, part of the Power that ever schemes Evil, but always creates Good.
I further deduct from Schubert's vigorous vituperation a virtual pedagogical advice, perhaps his only piano lesson: Read more
How often have we heard from our teachers: "You have to let the music flow".
And when asked further, we were told: "It must be natural". And when we still inquired more, we were given a picturesque metaphor, such as "Imagine a river; your melody must be like a leaf carried by the flow." or "The lines of the bars in the score are like prison bars: you have to escape them." or "Imagine carrying the holy grail slowly towards the light."
At that point we were hesitant to question further, as the impatience of the master increased in proportion to the assumed evidence of our ineptitude. We returned to our practice rooms and tried harder.
But one more persistent quandary would surely have yielded this very practical advice: Read more
Absolute speed is relative to perceived clarity.
Ah pity the fool who shows up to a finger fight with knuckles. Superior technique is important on the path to truth a beauty!
There is not a single type of technique, not one school ... but there are basic principles that emerge from indubitably inevitable fundamental laws.
Three major mistakes misinformed music teachers pass on to their unfortunate students:
• The slow to fast fallacy: “Play slow, melodic, and very legato, heave the hand over the thumb. And now do the same in a fast passage.”
The two modes of movement – melody VS passage – are fundamentally different from each other, like the walk and the gallop of a horse.
• The wrist fallacy: “The wrist is the originator of expressive playing. It is also the mainspring of technique.”
The wrist in mostly only the stable transmitter of arm momentum and accommodating suspensor to the fingers. Like a feather quill. Like the suspension of the car ~ from the engine to the wheel.
• The note value fallacy: “Four sixteenth have the exact value of a quarter.”
On paper: yes; but in musical interpretation, in performance, in rendering of score in time the bigger note is heavy and a fraction longer while the smaller notes are drawn to it by rhythmical gravity and thus hurry a bit in a compressed cluster. Like Pixar’s little blue birds (involuntarily) leaning against the big bird that landed on their sagging telephone wire.
All three enthymemical statements are ignorant of proper physical and rhythmical gesture, which in these cases would enable fast playing, an efficient use of the wrist, and natural musical expression.
The hand has to glide over the keyboard in runs with the same balanced ease as the shuttle in the weave-loom.
An exercise: Let the open hand glide evenly over the keyboard and play the middle c with the thumb in such a way, that the hand doesn't stop nor jump, nor skip nor drop. In the ideal case the thumb makes a dipping arc towards the key underneath the palm, tracking the key as it moves under the looming hand.