Violinist and cellist playing together“To perform at a high level, you have to attain a kind of unity with your instrument.”
The Musician’s Way,
p. 257

Masterful performers exhibit ease in all that they do on stage. Their performances appear easy because they are easy for them, thanks to the fact that, in practice, such artists invariably execute with a minimum of effort.

Student musicians might believe that they can struggle in practice and, over time, will garner similar fluency. But experts know otherwise.

Ease is a habit that has to be fortified at every turn.

The Origins of Ease
Although ease includes many physical features, such as supple movement, facility originates in the mind. It arises from building awareness of our material and of our playing or singing actions.

Nonetheless, the amount of brainpower that we can expend to be aware is finite. The more attention we use up supervising technical elements, the less we have available for artistry and coperformer communication.

The key to easeful performance is the ability to command our music making in an integrated manner without exhausting our capacity.

Fostering Easeful Habits
To foster easeful habits, choose manageable material, and practice with your effort meter far out of the struggle zone.

Establish a standard for easefulness whereby you make the quality of your experience while playing or singing as significant as the quality of the music you produce.

In the words of violinist Kato Havas, “Playing is never difficult; it is either easy, or it is impossible.” (The Musician’s Way, p. 21)

Related posts
Dialing Down the Effort Meter
Feeling Ahead
Playing with Ease
Projecting Ease

© 2016 Gerald Klickstein
Adapted from p. 21 of The Musician’s Way
Photo © eAlisa, licensed from Shutterstock


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