(Chinese translation by Klaire Kung and Teresa Wong)
[anti-rclick]May 24, 2011
“Be vulnerable” is a concept hard to explain.
I have read about this concept in some books about piano performance before (I cannot recall which book as I have read too many). When we play, we have to be vulnerable to our emotions. We have to express emotions in music we play. And in the music we play, there are emotions we rather not touch or feel (especially in Romantic music). They can be sadness, misery, agony, passion, melancholy, heart-aching, heart-breaking, yearning (for something or someone), loneliness, sickness, death, feelings of being abandoned, being alive but rather not lived, love found and love lost etc. We would rather not be exposed to these feelings and go there, to face them and be vulnerable to them.
When I was younger, I did not know how to express all these feelings in my playing. Now I know, because I have experienced love and life.
When I was younger, I did not know how to express sadness. Then every time when I needed to show this feeling in my playing, I used a story, a real-life experience. I would think about my Grandmother every time before I played a really sad piece – my Grandmother died when I was nine. Sometimes I would cry after thinking, feeling and playing. It was heart-aching. But I kept using this. Eventually, I did not need it, as I could just go there straight for the extremely sad feeling and present it right in my playing.
Think and feel the emotion of a piece before you play it. Even for a cheerful mood. Use a story or an experience to get into the mood. It is like an actor/actress who needs to cry for a movie scene gets prepared for it before the set. Sometimes s/he would get into the emotion required to get the tears ready. Otherwise, s/he could just resolve to using eye drops. But those would be fake and not genuine tears. And so be the emotion.
Be vulnerable, and you will become courageous and strong. And your music will become alive.