Notes First — Notes on Notes —

For Gifted Young Pianists

JB GIves a piano lesson … to Natalie Kh.


Why CAN’T feeling be added after the fact?


Have you heard a musician say, “I learn the notes first, then add the feeling”? Here’s a Cylon warrior giving us words without feeling:



Some people find it scary!

Do your Cylon imitation on these:

“After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die.” Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen.

“To be, or not to be, that is the question— / Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer / The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, / Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them.” Hamlet, Wm. Shakespeare.

“Mrs. Landingham, what’s next?” “The West Wing,” Aaron Sorkin.

e. e. cummings “Since feeling is first….”

Our connection to the material begins from the feeling.

“Fingering is first.” Charles Rosen once wrote in “The New York Review of Books” that his first activity with a new piece was to work out the fingering. Means phrasing is first; e.g., Schnabel LH 1,1 in Op. 111, i. To be or not to be…. “Since fingering is first…” But…how make clear to tyro? … Feeling is first… Outlining… use my videos … You can’t learn the words without saying them “a certain way,” or without trying the saying in multiple ways. Willy-nilly, you will be developing an interpretation; the only diff. is that you’ll be doing it unconsciously instead of thoughtfully. If you haven’t thought carefully and completely, you may be missing an entire line of meaning. Ditto w/ music. [One useful approach to this mess is Tz.’s idea of making the most of one simple idea: a rhythmic motif, a harmonic ‘taste.’]

Right feeling makes right technique *easier*.

One diff. betw words & music is that the words are so easy to say, and we can get right to the expressiveness. SO…ONE GOAL in music training is to make reading & playing the notes as easy, as taken-for-granted, as we do the words.

Copyright © James Boyk 2017. All rights reserved.
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