It’s vital to have an overall view of the piece before getting stuck in
David Takeno, my teacher at the Guildhall School in London, used to say that the first thing to do when learning a new piece was, ‘Lie in the bath and read the score.’ Spend time getting to know the work without the instrument; find the shape of the piece; see where the cues are and mark them in your own part; listen to a recording if possible. Practising a sonata without the piano part is meaningless because you can’t tell what your own part relates to, whether you’re accompanying the piano or vice versa. It’s vital to have an overall view of the piece before getting stuck into the nitty-gritty.
David also said, ‘Think of the person in the back row of the auditorium and project what you’re playing to them.’ It’s a state of mind. Making music is a process of sharing and giving. You can always project a pianissimo if you really mean it!
Photo: Thomas Skovsende