Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 18
"freeze" (pause on purpose)
right after the first one so you
can experience how it feels to
sustain a note in one hand and
not the other. Then gradually
reduce the pause time to zero.
When practicing subito piano, put
in a one- or two-beat pause before the
change to avoid tension and to keep the dynamic
contrast as clean and wide as possible. Then
gradually reduce the pause time to almost zero
(some situations are more expressive if the piano
note is slightly delayed).
Mastery at several contrasting tempos (especially
slower) makes your playing more secure.
After you know a fast piece well, you should
occasionally also do a slow-motion run-through
with exaggerated expression. This keeps it accurate
and allows you to polish your gestures.
Master a piece at several distinctly
different tempos, including slow motion
Use various practice techniques to play
with better balance
If you find that you have to play a passage fast in
order to perform it, then you really don't know it!
To practice playing one hand softer than the other,
use any or all of the following:
Occasionally "pull the camera back" on
slow movements. Practice them fast to
more clearly perceive the overall picture
This helps you hear the overall structure of the
music and the continuity of the melodic lines with
* Play the softer hand with
a repetitive two-measure
"introduction" before bringing
in the louder hand.
* Pretend that one arm feels
very light (but still make welldefined finger motions in that
* Exaggerate the shaping
in the louder hand-this
sometimes inspires the softer
hand to stay out of the way.
* Use "ghosting" at first: the
softer hand plays silently on
the key tops while the louder
hand plays normally.
Feel the beats you don't
get to play on with more
To be rhythmically accurate
with, say, dotted quarter
notes or downbeat rests,
loudly speak the beat number
that you don't get to play
on. Grunting, breathing, or
clicking will accomplish the
First practice scales in
one direction only
The physical technique of
securely playing scales is
different going away from
the body than it is going
towards it, so first learn scales
several successful repetitions,