I had an interesting chat with Amir. It stemmed from one of my tweets, where I said that I hadn’t really played digital pianos and electronic keyboards for years (from memory, 2006 was the last time, when I played with Gadsby), and he responded that he now rarely practised that his skill deteriorated. My response to his response is the gist of this blog post.
To quote what I had said, “one of my routine exercises is pretending to be deaf, and ‘listening ahead’ (i.e. knowing the sound before playing every note)”. This is one of the exercises (breathing is one other) taught by my late teacher. Well, he never really said the “pretending to be deaf” bit, but I guess the spirit is the same: We should know the sound before playing every one. In other words, we should be aware of what we plan to do, which is a principle also worth practising in daily life.
How useful is it? For one thing, we won’t just willy nilly press the keys. We will estimate how hard we’ll do it and when, and also how the notes will relate to each other. We will play better melodies, harmonies, and rhtyhms. We will be a better player overall.
[Photo by xamyxjayx]