The role of emotions: The summarizing effect

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A-level Music By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Music » A-level Music
Last updated: 20/06/2018
Tags: piano lessons, piano lessons london, piano teacher, piano tuition, piano tutor

The six different memories

The six different memories
There are six different memories used by pianists to learn their pieces. The most used ones are five. These five are:

  • The memory of the name of the notes
  • The memory of how the music looks in the paper -photographic memory of the score.
  • The memory of how our hands look when we play a specific piece
  • The memory of how the music sounds
  • The memory of how the music feels -muscular memory.

The emotional perception of the piece

The one that ties all the other ones up
When we work with beginner to advance students, we focus mainly on developing the first five memories. The main reason behind that choice is that we can easily relate these memories to the academic components of music. In that way and following our memorizing process we can quickly put together a robust and comprehensive abstract image of the piece. Find more information about these two topics at XXXXXXMemorizing process and Different musical memories

The feelings
We always leave the work on the emotional side of music for our most advanced students. The work of organizing and planning the feelings we will link to each music passage or element requires us to use all our intellectual and emotional resources. There are several ways of working on building up this imaginary version of the piece. In a sense, it is like decoding the very message of the piece.

Music is an artistic language. From all the artistic languages, music is the one that shares more characteristics with traditionally spoken languages. Both music and French are written languages. Music is also “spoken.” We “speak” music when we play an instrument or sing. The main difference between music and a traditional spoken language is that music describes subjective matters. If we want to define a robust version of a piece, we should then have a clear perspective on how we feel about a piece. The feelings can be more physical or more abstract, but they should be projected and related to specific sections of the piece. In a way, this is the same work we do when we choose dynamics. It is the next step, one that involves aligning our soul with the emotional message we intend to deliver with our performance of a specific piece.

We usually work on creating a visual representation of the piece - synesthetic approach. We first work on defining the background and then on the characters. The accompaniment and the harmonic content represents the background. One question I like to ask my students is how would they describe in an image what they want their listeners to see when they play. The latter is the starting point; then we should restrict the question to a particular element of the piece like two bars of the accompaniment or a phrase of the melody.

The ultimate objective of the procedure is to help students create a music storyboard to follow. The students need to decide on what kind of version of the piece they will work towards strengthening. It can be introspective, extrovert or just there own very personal way of understanding the music message behind it.


Juan Rezzuto Classical Piano Teacher (West London)

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Let's start working together! We can: 1. learn how to enjoy music; 2. seriously prepare for any particular musical goal ;or 3. prepare an ABRSM or Trinity College exam.
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