Play Skillfully

Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.

Psalm 33:3

It’s hard to hide the music of an instrument. Even when I play my digital piano with headphones on, the others in the room can hear the tap-tap-tapping as I depress the keys.

As a pianist, I love to listen to piano music, and I’m thrilled when I get to hear someone play the difficult pieces with great skill. In fact, I’m awed by it.

I’ve never been able to play a song perfectly, not with consistency anyway. For that reason, I’ve had to learn to hide my mistakes. Some cannot be hidden, at least not from all ears, but most can. I taught my students this same technique. . . .

Practice, practice, practice.

Practice with hands separate.

Practice with hands together.

Pay attention to your fingering. Repeat it measure by measure, line by line, until muscle memory takes over.

Practice with the metronome. Start with a slow and steady tempo, then gradually work up to the indicated tempo. Learn what the proper tempo feels and sounds like.

Turn off the metronome and work on coloring your piece with variations in dynamics and speed. Pull back now and then, but always add back what you take away.

Let it rest, then practice some more.

And when you’ve done all you can do to perfect it, if errors persist, then just keep going.

Don’t stumble.

Don’t fumble.

And whatever you do, when performing, don’t go back and try again to get it right.

Just keep pressing forward with a relaxed expression on your face, and most folks will not even notice. Some may think it was written that way. And those who do hear the mistake will easily forgive it if you don’t call attention to it.

. . .

Some folks are gifted musically, and their fingers, eyes, ears, indeed their entire body flows with the notes on the page. Even they have to work, but their work yields excellent results.

Then there are those of us whose greatest skill is in making the mistake sound as though it belonged there.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Published by Angela Umphers Rueger

Hello. I am a joyful wife and mother of three, just turned loose the last of my little chicks, and getting ready to spread my own writing wings. Twenty-six years ago I earned a B.A. in English because my heart's desire was to write. Since that time I've worked as a teacher, musician, cleaning lady, tax professional, and artist, but never as a writer. In the past year, several friends have encouraged me to pick up the baton and run with it. By creating this blog, I took the first baby step toward becoming a published author. The journey will likely be longer than I can imagine, but it has finally begun, and that's all that matters.

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