students playing from the heart : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I'm trying to figure out how to get my students to play from their heart, to play with passion. I'm really not sure how to go about it. Its obviously an internal thing, and I am really unsure if you can teach it. Just something I've been thinking about lately. Any suggestions or ideas would be great! Thanks so much.

-- Jen Carley (, April 22, 2003


I try to have them put words to pieces. And I sing words to them. You can also create an image. You can say, "That sounds like an elephant who's late for work. Can you make it sound like a bird who is alighting on a telephone line?" But I too wonder if some of my very talented students will ever have that special quality of sound we are looking for.

-- Anita (, April 22, 2003.

Hello Jen, Well, as you say before, it is hard to tecah a student to play with the heart., Most of them have to have that talent already, However,I do believe that every student has sensitivity and the capability of learning the art. Have you tried to teach them phrasing by making analogies? I always use that with my studnets and things have worked out, I usually compare music with other arts,,,,,like theatre, dance etc.

-- gabriela fernandez (, April 23, 2003.

Young students are especially good at imitating, so if you can play passionately, languidly, angrily, joyfully for them and point out some of the things you do, most of them can add these moods to their way of playing. But it's a little artificial, or imposed. Whether or not they use these expressions naturally or without your prompting, I think, is more a matter of their temperament (some will, some won't).

It seesm to me more helpful in the long run to help them find their own voice at the piano. Then the inner feelings come out with the instrumental voice, just as emotions come out in the voice when we speak.

It starts by singing melodies, and then copying the sound and inflections of the voice on the piano. I ask my students to play the melody on the piano so that I can't tell which is their singing and which is their playing. It is an impossible task, but the improvement in the musicality of the playing is undeniable. And the simplicity and honesty of the expression is moving. More so, in fact, than somebody who thunders and storms and moons over the keys.

Good topic!

-- alan (, April 24, 2003.

I had a teacher who would use phrases such as "Put more of '(student's name') into it. Or "I don't hear '(student's name)' It gave us freedom to hear that because we knew our teacher wanted the piece to be a personal expression, we then knew we were free to "be ourselves" as we played.

-- deborah white (, May 18, 2003.

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