"Tales of a Musical Journey" by Irina Gorin, Debussy Arabesque no. 1, Debussy Arabesque No. 1 by Claude Debussy, learning piano, mental imagery, mind body connection, Mozart sonata in C K545, music, music and heart, phrasing at the piano, pianist, piano, piano addict, piano instruction, piano instructor, piano lesson, piano lessons, piano pedagogy, piano playing and breathing, piano playing and phrasing, piano playing and relaxation, piano practicing, piano student, piano teacher, piano teaching, Pianostreet.com, pianoworld, pianoworld.com, playing piano, producing a singing tone legato at the piano, Scarlatti, Scarlatti Sonatas, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Kirsten blog, Shirley Smith Kirsten, slow mindful practicing, slow piano practicing, studying piano, Teach Street, teaching piano, The art of phrasing at the piano, W.A. Mozart, whole body listening, whole body music listening, word press, wordpress.com, you tube, you tube video

Jello and other mental images for pianists

Here comes the jello again. I thought I was the only one swimming around in it until I found the good company of Irina Gorin, piano teacher and author, who served what amounted to a jello substitute at her piano lessons. She had packed away a small tub of colorful putty that she dispensed to her very beginning students when they occasionally pounded the keyboard like it was concrete. Ouch! The impact alone should have stopped them in their tracks.

Tracks could have been another tone booster, if thought of as soft tracks of silky snow, before the meltdown or freeze! Better yet, Molasses would work wonders for an image starved pianist, without all the artificial coloring.

With a collection of volume enhanced images, a pianist could milk the piano for its singing tone while sculpting phrases par excellence.

The music of Debussy is sampled below:

Following this musical snippet, I’d skimmed the surface of a Scarlatti sonata, replacing jello with yet another image. Bouncing through light and lively staccato in K. 159, I imagined my springboard trampoline fueling my duetto in 3rds, 4ths and 6ths as it spilled into a shimmering trill.

After a fanciful display, I shifted my landscape in the first section of Mozart’s Sonata, K. 545 in C Major.

All I could think of was beautifully spun out operatic lines that the composer embraced. As a singer, first and foremost, I would shape phrases with the assistance of a supple wrist. Molasses and jello would support an outpouring without intrusive accents.

Mental images are always helpful to a pianist. Best integrated into a program of daily practicing that is mindful and phrase attentive, they fuel the imagination and allow the spirit to soar.

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