Many piano students tiptoe through a parceled voice reading of a new composition instead of choosing a relaxed, behind tempo approach that allows a deep, dead weight COMMITTED connection into the keys.
Thinking that the notes are strange and unfamiliar they distance themselves from phrase shaping, and tend to breeze quickly through a score in a hit or miss, skimming-the-keys fashion.
In my own first stage learning process that I share with a crop of enthusiastic adult pupils, I establish a gravity-centered relationship to notes, and think of them in groups rather than as pinpointed focal arrivals. (One must look for key relationships, symmetries, sequences among what might first look like a dizzying display of double beamed notes, for example.)
In Bach’s two-part Invention in A minor, the very character of its broken chord Subject, introduces the concept of unraveled harmony with a rolling contour. So why not absorb the musical nature of the figure from the outset instead of delaying its absorption in a subsequent learning stage. (The concept of SUBJECT and overlap or imitation in two voices, is an important foundational dimension of early assimilation that should be imparted in a form framed introduction)
If tempo is attuned to the readiness of a student, and not pushed beyond his ability to assimilate what’s on the page, (fingering included) then musicality and centering can co-exist side-by-side without delay.
What we first hear in our own practicing makes an impact on each day’s perception of the music and its subsequent growth. To dryly learn the notes, without including phrase contouring and projection at the outset, sets back the clock, exposing the ear to what we do not intend to communicate in the final analysis.
Play through in tempo: