How to Play Like an Artist: Play Something!

Music has the power to inspire joy or instill fear, create an air of mystery or anticipation, celebrate triumph or honor a fallen comrade. It has the power to make us want to march, dance, sing, laugh, or cry.Here’s a wacky idea: Next time you play, give yourself a right-brain task that engages the intuitive aspects of your intelligence and see what happens. Don’t think about any of the intellectual left-brain stuff like notes, scales, and chord changes.

Instead, PLAY SOMETHING!!!

Rather than just playing softly (a left brain notion), play a whisper (a right brain experience). Rather that merely playing slowly, play “dignified” or “somber”.

Play a feeling, memory, mood, picture, place, texture, emotion… something that captures the essence of the piece. What images does it evoke? What makes it tick emotionally? What does it remind you of? How does it make you feel? What is the point, the message, the sentiment, the energy? Discover what the piece means to you and play that. Is it release, reckless abandon, solitude, regret, victory, celebration, beauty, anger, joy? Could it be a journey, a storm, a battle, a rainbow, or a babbling brook?

Don’t think. Just play. After all, isn’t music really about feeling something? If you feel something, your audience with feel something, too.  When you do so, the music becomes more authentic… because it comes from a more authentic place… and becomes an expression rather than a calculation.

If you are performing a playful classical piece, pretend that you are Mozart! If you playing ragtime, pretend you are the piano player in a Wild West saloon full of whiskey-drinking poker players and ladies of the evening.

So, tap into this normally invisible part of you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that there is a lot more music inside you than you previously thought!

About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
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