The Big Sound: Piano Performance Courses

3 Sep 2018

I've heard some very good musicians complain that an audience can't tell an average performer from a really great player. I disagree: audiences do recognise a really good performance.


You can tell because they shut up completely... and just listen.


Live music performance is an art in its own right, and getting your audience to hang on to every note is a rather different skill to being able to play something technically brilliantly.


Performers need to make their music sound "big". I remember listening to music when I was a child, thinking, "What makes them sound so much better than me?". The chords were right, so why didn't it sound anywhere near as good?

 With Field Manual


After years of trying to work out and emulate how really good piano players played (rewinding tapes every few seconds takes up a lot of time), I was asking for some advice from an incredible jazz pianist - a chap called Steve Plews, who attains the most enormous sound - almost impossibly, with a touch lighter than a trickle of elderflower presse bouncing off a sparrow. He listened to my playing and said, "You get that nice, big sound" - hurrah!


And, indeed one of the things I have been repeatedly asked, by audiences, musicians and pupils, is how I get such a "big" sound.


For a long time, I simply didn't know the answer; I just played! I knew how I learnt to do it, but saying, "listen to lots of music for a decade and try to memorise and copy everything you hear" isn't a very satisfying reply. So I listened back to some recordings, analysed the MIDI, scored out my playing, and endured slow-motion videos of my own fingers.


Happily, from the analysis, I have been able to develop a much more satisfying answer! My Piano Performance Course systematically teaches the fundamental techniques of how to make your live performances really stand out: the absolute elements of what makes an audience automatically shut up and listen.


It's the sort of training that most piano teachers really can't teach you!


In the same way that you can only express how you feel within the limits of your linguistic capabilities, the breadth of your abilities as an instrumentalist will limit the sentiment you can impart musically.


In one-to-one sessions, we'll start by looking at your own music - whether it's covers that you love to play, or your songwriting. Then through the course we'll see how to create the best sound you can possibly achieve.


Soul Music face: performing with The Lack of Commitments

(C) Simon Moore Photography

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