Take Advantage of Masterclasses

When I used to see a masterclass for piano pop up in my Youtube feed there’s a good chance I would’ve ignored it. Generally because it would be a masterclass on repertoire that I couldn’t play. Either a piece that I have never looked at or it was a professional player getting feedback from some legend of piano.

A few years ago I decided that I should have a peek at what these videos could offer. Checking the viewing figures on some of them I would see 100’s of thousands of views so I wondered what I was missing.

It was one of the best things I’ve done. 

Instead of having a super focussed view on what the piece was, I decided to check the type of passages that were being checked. Or even just have a look at the technique advice. I suppose, thinking about it, there are so many strings of notes that can be put together. Looking at a scale for example, they’re found everywhere in repertoire. Whether it’s complete scales or just a fraction of one, there is no escaping them.

A piano teacher of mine from a long time ago used to say that everything we learn gets added to a library of techniques in your brain. The longer you play, the larger the lilbrary gets. When you see something in music, you can quickly see if it’s already in the library or something you need to add. Over time you end up with extensive techniques you can call upon when you need them.

Over the next few weeks or pieces you start, take some time to have a closer look at your music. Look at small sections. Could be 2 beats, 2 bars or something else. Is it something you’ve seen before? If it is, that’s great. You’ve just successfully shrunk the amount you have to learn in this piece. If it’s not something you’ve seen before, that’s great. You can add something else to your library.

Players can learn music very quickly. Whilst there’s no substitute for putting the hours in, having a long list of techniques at your finger tips saves time.

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