Dr. N.A.N.'s Blog

News, views, and how the world skews from San Antonio, Texas

Archive for John Perry

Piano technique

I would describe my technical approach to piano playing as a combination of the Dorothy Taubman technique, the John Perry technique and an invention of my own ears.  I think technique should be the servant of the ears. So often, I hear pianists who have chops to burn but no discernible musical ideas. For example, a pianist came to our school and played a recital filled with very technically demanding pieces. As the program wore on (and I mean wore), my ears grew tired and I found myself searching for other things to think about so that I could leave the hall without actually going anywhere. Each successive piece got faster and louder until the piano was literally quaking on its dolly. The piano wasn’t just out-of-breath, it was exhausted. And what did this pianist accomplish? Not much. I want my students to listen and not just hear what they are playing. Often, during a lesson, I will ask, “What do you hear when you listen to this passage? Do you hear dialogue or do you see an image?” By insisting that they actively listen, the music and thus the performance becomes purposeful.