On Phrasing
February 14, 2017
When you play notes, you play notes. When you play notes in a context, you are making sense of the music. When you play each individual note with a correlation to the next one and then the next one, you are phrasing—in other words, you make good music. To play a phrase, you need to know more about what you are getting yourself into. It’s not about taking the instrument out of the case and playing—that’s playing notes (read the first sentence of this post). The composer, probably a beast in his field, spent years perfecting his craft. And you will have to as well in order to interpret his will. Everything worth takes time; every award requires you to become awesome first in order to earn it. As a growing musician you can learn from everything. Really pay attention in your classes. Be present and learn what it takes to make good music. A big portion of music making is about phrases that sing; phrases that tell a story. To tell the story that Beethoven wrote for your instrument, honestly, you’ll have to know the guy. You have to learn the reason he wrote it, for whom and where, why, when and who was with him that night. The more you know, the better you will phrase; and the higher your musicianship will get.