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· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
March 8, 2005
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· Pianoforte-Style: Russell Sherman on Spontaneity and Tension ·
Long with the New England Conservatory, Sherman is also a fine teacher and, for me, in Piano Pieces, his rare gift of bringing theory to practice is what makes his writing appealing. Take these elegantly, neatly styled two paragraphs on "fluid sponaneity":
One sees here that Sherman asks much of his students, and rightly so. But in such cerebration look also on what he asks of their working a "distributive tension" into their performing bodies. It reminds me of Frank Conroy's Body and Soul (1993), a fine novel by another pianist, and, indeed, by yet another teaching writer.
Today I've thought to note Sherman's book not so we can perform on his keys, but so that we can grasp "the keys to performance" — in writing and music alike.
The two go hand-in-hand, don't they?Permalink
As a pianist and writer, I know that the craft comes in the practicing/rewriting. I compose my own music and am occasionally called upon to perform warm-up music in front of hundreds or thousands at seminars. How much I have rediscovered my own music and remade it my own again through diligent study and practice means the difference between a "nice" performance and one that approaches "inspired."
The same is true in writing. Often I post spontaneously on my blog, fully aware that more rewrites would result in a finer product. But I also know that because I have invested so much time in writing, both fiction and non-fiction, that I can often do "well enough" on a single draft (with many minor hurried corrections after it's been posted and reread).
Of course, I do feel a fairly constant pull to go back and recraft some of the older ones, knowing that they are unlikely to be read. But sometimes recrafting can make a very big difference to a few readers or even to one's own self in the rethinking.
Thanks for these thoughtful, and thought-provoking, observations. I'm no pianist, but I understand the analogy. It's apt to all creative processes, is it not?
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