Feeling stuck? Take a break from your piano practice and try something new. Here, St. Augustine, FL teacher Heather L. shares five incredibly inspiring piano videos to renew your excitement…
For new pianists, the importance of inspiration should not be underestimated. Listening to and watching great musicians, especially live music, is just as critical to your success as piano practice itself. Most of the pianists whom I know, including myself, could probably point to several musical experiences that ultimately inspired them to pursue music as a career. For some of us, a couple of those musical experiences were as an audience member. For most of us nowadays, online videos have become a wonderful link to all kinds of different music, musicians, and interpretations of well-known literature. In many ways, they have replaced live music in our busy days. Much of our experience as an audience member in this post-modern world is watching videos. The following are five of the most inspiring videos for new pianists.
First, Jason Pelsey rocks out below on an incredible piece of music. The title of the video claims that he’s the best piano player in the world, and once you see this video, you might agree that he is! His speed and agility look like someone is fast-forwarding; it’s almost too amazing to be true. And seeing it from his perspective with a GoPro only made the performance extra cool.
Next, Thelonious Monk, a Juilliard School alumni and jazz pianist extraordinaire, has inspired generations of piano players with his inimitable intuition. He seems to lack any self-consciousness, and yet possesses total self-awareness. Watch how freely he dances before sitting down at the piano at the beginning of this biographical film, “Straight, No Chaser”.
Not all inspiration needs to come from famous pianists — here, a little girl named Emily, who has Down syndrome, plays Clementi’s Sonatina, Opus 36, Number 1 beautifully and from memory. This is a perfect example of how much all of us, even those of us with special needs, are capable of.
Sometimes, maybe a handful of times in each century, pianists come along who quite obviously understand their music from the inside and underneath. Their interpretations are so completely certain and fluid at the same time. Mitsuko Uchida is one of those pianists. Here she is performing Mozart’s piano concerto number 9 in E flat major.
Finally, child prodigy Aimi Kobayashi outperforms most pianists twice her age. Her impeccable rhythm and understanding of dynamics is stunning. Now 19, she continues to study just as hard as she did as a little girl. Here’s a video of her playing Mozart’s piano concerto number 26, still young enough to have a lunchbox.
Did you notice that I didn’t choose only the fastest or the most famous pianists in the world as the most inspiring? Speed and fame are only two inspiring elements in a big world of piano playing. Things like connecting with the music, focus and determination, a lack of self-consciousness, and musical intuition are just as inspiring, and frankly, not as easy to learn from a teacher. These are parts of the pianist’s spirit that can be cultivated and nurtured with the help of lots of hard work, a passion for learning, and an open heart.
Heather L. teaches singing, piano, acting, and more in St. Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons. She is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has performed with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir, and the internationally renowned opera star Andrea Bocelli. Learn more about Heather here!
Photo by peddhapati