Friday, October 23, 2015

Terrence Dawson on the Collaborative Arts and the Developing Musician

Vancouver-based pianist (and former colleague from my time on faculty at the University of British Columbia) Terence Dawson makes a brilliant case for the study of the collaborative arts in the education of every pianist in his essay Collaborative Arts and the Developing Musician in Sparks & Wiry Cries:
Let’s face it: Pianists are often told that the mere act of producing sound on a piano is “too easy”! It is certainly true that pianists do not have to be concerned with breathing or intonation. However, much effort is directed towards becoming physically involved with sound production. Pianists often include these aspects when discussing music. Technique study for pianists involves intense listening to enable a singing line that includes breaths in appropriate places. It includes hearing harmonies, voicing, and discriminatory listening for tone and timbre. We speak of linking notes with the fingers for the development of a seamless, supported legato. In short, we strive to hear our repertoire in a symphonic sense, borrowing generously from the language used by our fellow instrumentalists and singers.

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