You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot
I once heard a masterclass in which the artist teacher spoke about the necessity of memorizing the choreography of the piece as well as the notes. I confess that, prior to that class, I hadn’t thought much about choreography of music – except in relationship to dance. But since then, I have thought about it a great deal.
And recently, in an extraordinary concert by pianist Jeremy Denk and violinist Stefan Jackiw , choreography of the music took on new meaning. It is rare to witness a performance in which you feel as though you are actually “seeing” the music itself – not just hearing it – but experiencing a performance in which the performer actually becomes the music in some indefinable way. Continue reading →
A few months ago I wrote several posts about the importance of mirror neurons in the study and performance of music. Mirror neurons, as you recall, are the cells that fire both when we act and when we see someone else making the same action, and multiple studies have been conducted that specifically explore mirror neurons in musicians. But some scientists have called mirror neurons the most hyped concept in neuroscience. So are mirror neurons myth – or reality. And what difference does this controversy make to practicing musicians? Continue reading →
I hate to admit it, but I played the electronic game Simon for years before I realized it was possible to play it by the colors, not by the pitches. I knew the red, blue, yellow, and green buttons each corresponded to a certain pitch and flashed when that pitch sounded, but it simply never occurred to me to remember the sequences by color. For me, the game wasn’t visual, it was auditory – I memorized the pitch sequences. I still remember my amazement when I learned that it could be played by color, not sound. Continue reading →
Imagine being Brahms in 1889 and being the first composer/performer to be able to hear a recording of your own playing, as well as hearing your own voice. Granted, the quality of the wax cylinder was terrible, but hearing a piano performance coming from a machine, rather than producing it yourself or seeing it being produced by another person, must have felt a bit disembodied. Music, after all, had always been about a person using movement to create sound. Continue reading →