Ten ideas to connect with your inner musician
- Open up to a fresh take on an old piece in your repertoire.
Pay close attention to the way you're playing each note, your posture and breathing, and think of how you are making those hammers hit the strings. Try playing loud, soft, fast, slow, sustained, snappy, straight, or swinging - see how the piece can change completely when you mix up the dynamics. You can also try changing the piece itself by adding notes or doubling up on them, changing words and melodies or altering the rhythm.
- Watch someone else play.
YouTube is a great place to find videos of people playing songs you know, so you can be inspired by the different styles you come across. When you find someone whose sound you like, try mimicking their gestures, hand positions and phrasing.
- Find new daily inspiration from Instagram.
Some of our favourite accounts are pianoeasy.fremantle (of course), as well as piano.fan, piano around, scottbradlee, classicalpianocovers, _piano_music_, keysuniversity, and piano_piano_jazz.
- Take an old piece that you know well and change it until it's unrecognisable.
Remember the song from term 1 that you may have played to death? Make a completely new song out of it by playing it back to front, on different parts of the piano, with your hands in different positions, with the rhythm of another song, or with notes missing.
- Sound out a piece, or parts of pieces.
This can improve your listening skills as well as inspire you. You'll make a lot of mistakes at first but there's a chance some of them might sound good - save those for your own compositions! If you've never played a song by ear before it's a good idea to find out what the chords are (TABS) and just work out the melody on your own. Take notice of the parts of the piano you're working with (white/black keys, high/low) and the way the chords progress.
Take the left-hand part of a piece you can already play, then try to find notes that go with them in the right hand. If you play a note that sounds awful, move to the next note up or down; once again it's good to take note of the landscape you're working within one hand to understand what will sound good in the other hand. With PianoEasy we do a lot of that in term 2.
- Write your own pieces.
Try experimenting with some notes or chords you like and slowly build them up. Some people start with lyrics and search for chords to match them. Some people start by choosing chords they like, then singing along. Whatever your creative process is, it's important not to judge your ideas before they're finished - that way you'll never get anything done! Just keep working on the piece and bring it into your PianoEasy class.
- Be inspired by other art that touches you; a play, a movie, an exhibition or any live music.
While you're still fresh from seeing it, get to that piano and play; you will find that you play differently.
- Play when you're experiencing strong feelings; whether you're sad, stressed, worried, happy or romantic.
Don't push the feelings away, but let them drive and inspire what you play. If you're going through a difficult time emotionally it might help to play music.
- Set yourself a project with a (self-imposed) deadline.
Like "I'm going to create a new blues piece for our end of term party". Start it, finish it, don't judge it.