PLAYING WITH FEELING
It’s very common that I’ve heard people tell me “you can’t just play the music on the page, you have to feel it.” At the surface level, it sounds a bit silly or like a lesson from a cheesy 1990s movie where a child learns about “the heart of music.” But when you play music, you know exactly what these people are saying.
Playing the sheet music exactly how it reads may produce an accurate presentation of the music, but it might feel emotionless. So much of music is affected by the personality of the musician.
I found a TED talk this morning that has given the best, in-depth explanation of this phenomenon that I’ve run across. Evelyn Glennie is a Scottish percussionist who lost nearly all of her hearing when she was just 12 years old. She explains how she feels music not just through her ears, but through her whole body. She demonstrates playing simply the notes and playing with feeling.
Glennie’s talk gives us a lot to think about the next time we sit down and try and tackle a piece of music. Rather than playing it, we should interpret it.