Monday, July 28, 2008

Better focus with singing

The idea of singing while performing is often debated. While some think it helps, some thing it's actually a hindrance.

One fact however:
Most top pianists sing. Or hum. Or vocalize. Call it what you want, they make noise.

Depending on microphone placement, it's more or less obvious.
Some do it very openly. Keith Jarrett, Lionel Hampton or Oscar Peterson come to mind.

But exactly why do they vocalize?

Something happened last week as I was attempting to record a version of "There is no Greater Love" :

I had difficulties focusing.
Some of the things that went through my mind:
- Darn I played that one too early
- Hmm, should have played Eb instead
- Wow, I'm feeling good right now!
and so on...
Whatever goes in my mind, the same thing always happens. I lose track of the tune a few bars later .
I believe it is due to the fact that I think a few bars ahead. Anywhere between 2 and 6 bars usually. When my mind wanders, I can play whatever I have already thought about, and then draw a sudden blank.

The solution: sing
Sing those lines that you are about to play. So long as you are singing, it's difficult for the mind to think of other things.

Something I am going to investigate more...

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