Pete Seeger teaching William Boyce "Alleluia" round in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, 2011  Source:  Wikimedia Commons

Pete Seeger teaching William Boyce “Alleluia” round in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, 2011. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Do you sing your music as you practice?  I recommend it (see previous post).

For the past 2 or 3 days, I’ve been thinking about why this works so well.

When playing involves brain work only, one can become caught up in the exact length of each note, the weight given to each, the dynamic changes from one note to another.  That level of detail is crucial to interesting playing, of course, but isn’t that mind-boggling, doing all that thinking?

When I practice in that way, I find that I am physically removed from producing the sound.  I am not a participant in playing phrases. I notice that when I sing while playing, my body takes care of all that.

When the amount of breath sent through the body to produce the sound varies from pitch to pitch, the breath maintains the line.  The body (arms, hands, tips of fingers) produces music, not just mathematical changes. What if someone told you that to reach a certain goal involving myriad details, all you needed to do one thing?

This is the best explanation I can come up with at the moment.  I hope it is helpful.  Singing makes all the difference.  It coordinates separate, much smaller details, making them an organic whole.  And it’s so easy!

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