One of the things I have changed about my practice time in the last few weeks is to create instead of imitate. Rather than play repertoire by other composers, I play from the heart. It’s been eye opening how much I’ve had to say musically!
Then, on a rare trip to my office this week, I found a book that a student gave me which reminded why this is so important.
Playing From the Heart
Raj loves to play the piano. His father gets him a teacher. But a strange thing happens. The better he plays other people’s music, the less he enjoys music. Until one day he just stops playing.
Sound familiar? Whether it is you, someone you know, or a past student, there has probably been a time when we’ve lost the ability to play from the heart. Or, at least misplace it for awhile.
In this touching book by Peter H. Reynolds, we meet Raj & his father. “Playing From the Heart” is about Raj falling in love with music, losing that love, but ultimately rediscovering it in a touching moment with his dad.
Sometimes in lessons, we can get so focused on getting through the repertoire, technique, & theory that we forget to nurture our students’ ability to play from the heart. Or, maybe even our OWN ability to play from the heart.
Planning With the Heart in Mind
It’s been a conscious decision to include more improvisation & composition in my studio. And while I’ve had some pretty epic fails on projects, thankfully I’ve improved how I’ve taught these two concepts each year.
Another conscious decision has been to ask more questions of my students. To guide them in making their OWN interpretations of the repertoire they play. Even when it doesn’t exactly match up to the notes shown on the page exactly.
As you look forward to next year …
What will you be doing to encourage your students to play from the heart?
How will you guide them in sharing their own voice?
Let us know in the comments below!
P.S. I would highly recommend getting your own copy of “Playing From the Heart” by Peter H. Reynolds! At only 32 pages, it’s a quick read with fun artwork & fabulous message.