Communication and Partnerships

Communication is so important.

If I were to go to a ballet performance, there are so many things that I would miss.  I know that dancers do little things to help each other.  I know that fact but seeing it is a different thing.  I am not a trained dancer so these little things would not be so easily seen by me.

I go to a performance by pianists, even in a solo environment, and I see so much.  I see the breaths, the nods, the lifts, the technique.  I see so much.

The CanAm Piano Duo is amazing.  I went to a performance of theirs tonight.  I am not saying that they are amazing just because they are alumni from The University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!).  Go ahead and check them out on Amazon or ITunes.  You will be awed and feel the power.

Tonight, I saw the small nods, the breaths, and the eye contact.  I am sure that I missed some of the cues but it was amazing to be aware of not only the incredible music but the level of communication occurring on stage.

When I was an undergraduate student, I remember one of the vocal professors talking about the communication between singer and pianist.  I was accompanying in her studio and was probably only a Freshman at this point.  She talked to us about the breaths and the eye contact and how we need to be hyper-aware of each other.  We were not singer and pianist – we were a duo, a partnership.  This concept has always stayed with me.  I have gone on to play in all sorts of groups – piano duos and trios, small and larger chamber ensembles, and with instrumentalists and vocalists.  There is always this period of figuring out each other and how best to communicate.  Each grouping is different – each partnership is different.

I find that even when I am playing solo, there is a level of communication between myself and the music.  I breathe differently in one spot than in another.  I move my arms differently in one piece than in another.  I use different techniques in different pieces to evoke a certain sound.  In all cases, I am completely connected to what I am doing.  I am more aware of my place on the stage, my place in the music, my surroundings than at any other time.  It is a surreal feeling.

Tonight, I was not performing.  Tonight I was an active observer of the magic that was created.  I say that magic was created because the CanAm Piano Duo brought the music to life.  There was a point during one of the pieces where the music felt so thick that I could breathe it in.  I felt like it could very easily become a part of me.  I can only name a handful of times when that has occurred to me as an audience member.  It is palatable.  It is all-encompassing.  It feels like it will take over your body.  It is wonderful.

So, we learn to communicate with each other and with ourselves in order to make the music become magic.  We learn the technique in order to impact the sound.  We learn the breaths in order to literally breathe in the music.  We learn the music to change the world.

I’m ready to change the world.  Are you?

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