Violinist and cellist playing together“To perform at a high level, you have to attain a kind of unity with your instrument.”
The Musician’s Way,
p. 257

Masterful performers exhibit ease in all that they do on stage.

Their performances appear easy because they are easy for them, thanks to the fact that, in practice, such artists invariably execute with a minimum of effort.

Student musicians might believe that they can struggle in practice and, over time, will garner similar fluency. But experts know otherwise.

Ease is a habit that has to be fortified at every turn.

The Origins of Ease

Although ease includes many physical features, such as supple movement, facility originates in the mind. It arises from building awareness of our material and of our playing or singing actions.

Nonetheless, the amount of brainpower that we can expend to be aware is finite.The Musician's Way book cover

The more attention we use up supervising technical elements, the less we have available for artistry and coperformer communication.

The key to easeful performance is the ability to command our music making in an integrated manner without exhausting our capacity.

Then, we can emote through our music, maintain full control, connect with fellow performers, and have ample reserves to be spontaneous and handle mishaps.

“Ease is a habit that has to be fortified at every turn.”

Fostering Easeful Habits

To foster easeful habits, let’s choose manageable material and appropriate tempos, and then practice with our effort meters far out of the struggle zone.

Let’s establish standards for easefulness whereby we make the quality of our experience while playing or singing as significant as the quality of the music we produce.

Let’s strive in practice to be masters of ourselves as well as the technical, mental, emotional, and interpretive aspects of our music making.

In so doing, we acquire the inclusive command that enables us to be expressive, accurate and uninhibited on stage.

In the words of violinist and teacher Kato Havas, “Playing is never difficult; it is either easy, or it is impossible.” (The Musician’s Way, p. 21)

Related posts
Dialing Down the Effort Meter
Feeling Ahead
Playing with Ease
Projecting Ease

© 2016 Gerald Klickstein
Adapted from p. 21 of The Musician’s Way
Photo © eAlisa, licensed from Shutterstock