Musical and Athletic Motor Learning and Performance
Edited By Adina Mornell
Strategies for Pianist Improvisers (Walter Norris)
Strategies for Pianist Improvisers Art in Motion is unquestionably the fundamental nature in all performances of music; a ﬂowing momentum from the beginning to ending tones. For musicians and improvisers in particular, the physical motion of fellow performers reacting to the music’s rhythmical pulse (an aspect of conducting) is visually necessary for a togetherness of timing; especially, if the musicians are separated by a distance of several meters, such as in televised stage settings or in recording studios. This is because sound vibrations travel slowly compared with the immediate detection of our eyes. When practicing piano, I may consciously apply a minimum of motion with hands and arms to help produce a convincing quality of tone or rhythmic surge. Even nature triggers our body to respond in motion as we listen to music. One tool I have for mastering difﬁcult phrases or patterns is to play the right hand notation while rotating the left hand and left foot horizontally in contrary motion, all simultaneously. In addition, I will use variations of this handicap 1 , such as executing a ﬁgure eight or the Roman numeral ten in contrary motion. I also invert clefs and practice right hand notation with the left hand and vice versa; since this is hands separate, my free hand and foot executes, simultaneously, the above coordination with difﬁculty. Such examples belong to a time worn adage that the more ways you practice one thing the better you can play that particular thing; also, it helps...
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