Playing the Piano involves a lot more than just reading notes and playing the correct rhythms.
Have you ever listened to someone play a piece that gave you chills, or maybe even made you cry?
That's because the performer has reached a level in his or her playing where they can play a lot more of what music is about, than just the basic notes and rhythmic patterns that we all have to learn.
This lesson will guide you into exploring several different ways that we can play with more depth, passion, and brilliance by simply doing these few things.
Let's take a look at the first thing you need to incorporate into your playing to reach a deeper level.
Step 1: Phrasing
Phrasing is one of the most important aspects of music in terms of playing with a greater amount of depth and emotion in your playing.
Phrasing groups notes together so they sound more like a sentence or a paragraph, instead of just one word at a time.
In music, phrasing is demonstrated in our music by slurs. Any number of notes can be grouped together with a slur, but typically you'll have anywhere from 2 - 8 notes in one slur unless you're playing really advanced music.
You can actually find that including the phrasing that is marked in your music in your playing, might make it sound a bit different than what you're used to playing. This is a good thing, and the music might even make a bit more sense now.
Next, let's look at another really important thing to include in your playing to create more tonal textures and feelings.
Step 2: Dynamics
Dynamics are just as important as Phrasing, just in a different way.
Anytime you play your piano music louder or softer or change the volume during your piece, you are playing the Dynamics in music.
Some of the most common dynamic markings are:
- pp = pianissimo or really really soft
- p = piano or soft
- mp = medium piano, not as soft as piano
- mf = medium forte or loud
- f = forte or loud
- ff = fortissimo or really really loud
Once you've learned how to play these different dynamics in your music, you'll be amazed at how different it will sound, and you can even feel different types of emotions just by changing the dynamics. They add in contrast of sound and tone from one note to the next and will help you step into the story of the piece, rather than just playing the notes.
Now let's look at the final thing you need to start including in your playing for lots of brilliance and excitement - especially with this one.
Step 3: Articulations
Articulations are any markings in your music that are not dynamic markings; including slurs that we talked about in the first step on Phrasing.
Some examples of different articulations are:
- Dots for staccato notes
- Dashes for longer notes
Just like dynamics, different articulations are used to convey a specific feeling, visual image, and even physical response to music. Dynamics accentuate articulations to make the musical message even stronger. There can be any mix of dynamics and articulations and they will often change throughout an entire piece.
When you combine phrasing, dynamics, and articulations in with your playing of the correct notes and rhythms, you will really love how rich your sound is and how much more engaged with your music you will feel. That's one reason that you want to really buckle down when you first start so that you get your notes and counting down and then you can start adding in these different tools to hear a whole new you on your piano!
To make sure you understand everything in this lesson, go to the next step and take a few minutes to watch the video tutorial and practice with me!
Step 4: Come Practice With Me!
This visual lesson will take you all the way through a piece where we have examples of each of these different articulations and how I play them on the keyboard.
I discuss each one of these one-by-one and you'll get a chance to play them on the piano with me.
There's also a link for you to download the music example that I'm using in the video so you can practice the exact same piece along with me. Make sure you bookmark it so you can come back to it anytime you might have a question.