7 Creative Ways to Become a More Passionate Musician

Based on Soler’s Fandango,*parallel octaves

1.  Master the music in front of you. Straightforward suggestion here.  Work towards technical perfection far below performance tempo, slightly above tempo, in a practice room, in a concert hall, outside, very loud, very soft, with distractions around you, up an octave, down an octave, vocalize the part.  The list could go on an on here, get creative in your approach.  Too often we as performers don’t have a firm grasp of the music we are performing.

2.  Listen to yourself. Use a recording device if working on solo stuff.  When playing in ensembles, listen  to blend like a chameleon to those around you.

3.  Focus on what makes a given phrase interesting, then accentuate this point of interest through either through articulation, note shape or volume.

4.  Be creative in your use of vibrato, phrase shape and articulation style.

5.  Hear live performances.  Recordings never capture all the magic that happens in the concert hall.  Besides, with the exception of “live” recordings, technology, including the wonderful “auto-tune” feature, has cleaned up much of what we hear today.

6.  Use your your aural imagination and ask your self, “how would ‘X’ musician perform this.”  Then repeat it with someone else in mind.  What this does is take your mind out of thinking about your performance and focus on imagining.  This is a very different skill that in the end will free your mind to focus the larger picture of an artistic performance.

7.  Listen to the greats in all genres, don’t limit yourself to just your instrument. Listening is like food for both your subconscious and imagination.  (Future neurological research in this field promises to be a gold mine of information for both performers and educators.)

*It should be noted that there is some debate in current scholarship on whether or not Soler was actually the composer.

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