Technique: Training Musicality

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Exercises and advice to help build musical awareness and understanding

Music is a universal language that we use to communicate with others through sound. It allows us to be expressive without knowing any words at all. But what does it mean to be ‘musical’? To me, a musical person is someone with a need and a drive to express emotions, moods and drama through musical sound, using nuances of dynamic, pitch and pace. A musical person does not see music simply as notes written on a page: instead it is something internalised and felt. Some people believe that you either have this ability or you don’t. My teacher, János Starker, disagreed: he said that it was possible for anyone to play musically, if they learnt to break music down into meaningful units and manipulate their sound. Once you can do that, you will start to find meaning in the music, so that you sound more musical when you play…

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