Music Appreciation · Piano Lessons · Piano Practice · Piano Teaching · Piano Technique

A Holistic Approach to Piano Playing

When we think about piano playing or piano lessons, a lot of times it seems to be about playing correctly: playing the right keys at the right time.

Certainly there are the basics we need to learn and work on first. But once we have passed the basics (or at least are familiar with them), it is time to advance to a bigger picture of piano playing.

First of all, I think a lot of piano teachers don’t talk about is body awareness. By body awareness, I mean feeling one’s body and incorporate that feeling into our piano playing. Most piano students (not only piano beginners, but even the more advanced piano players) are not familiar with the body mechanism and how that affects our piano playing.

So, start with how you feel, not just your fingers and hands, but how your whole body feels when you are playing the piano. Many of us were taught to sit still and maintain certain posture. But if you look at how other non-piano instrumentalists play, they hold their instruments and move along with the instruments AND the music. Since we pianists cannot move our pianos, we have to adapt and move our bodies to adjust to the instruments.

Learning about how different parts of your body do and react when you are playing is important: it helps you understand that there is so much more than just moving the fingers. Just a small adjustment can help provide you not only more efficient playing but also create more beautiful music. Incorporating your whole body into your piano playing gives you freedom, and allows you to feel all the glory and beauty at the piano.

There are a lot of books out there about piano technique. But only a few provide insights. My most favorite books are György Sándor’s “On Piano Playing” and Seymour Bernstein’s “With Your Own Two Hands”. You can easily find them online.

Ultimately, you have to feel the music in your body to express your music.

Teresa Wong