Whenever I teach students a slow piece, I always tell them to relax, and think of the melody line. It is important to always keep your chest open. Tension in the shoulders can affect the arms  and wrist in a negative way.

Once you keep your chest open and relax, the sound created is just gorgeous. Take a look at this video of Yeol Eum Son’s Final Recital at the 2009 Van Cliburn’s Piano Competition. Her sound is just exquisite, that you can hear it over and over and it will still speak to you in different ways.

Look at her hands, her fingers are ready over the correct keys before she plays them. Her fingers and anticipating the shape and touch of the next chord. Listen to how “legato-sounding” her chords are.. it is definitely not percussive sounding. How many of us actually anticipate the notes or chords that come after?

Doesn’t the video inspire you to work on your posture and finger technique? Hopefully this video will motivate you to practice in the right way. Practice is not merely just playing notes. You have to think about what you are playing, and how you should make each melodic line and phrase sound so that it can touch the hearts of the listeners. Happy Learning!