It's an exciting time of the year - Christmas trees are going up, carols are in the air, we even got a little bit of rain yesterday. Hallelujah! The highlight of my week was an excursion on Saturday night to see one of the most famous piano players on YouTube, Peter Bence! I've linked to his videos before and was very excited to see him in the flesh and he certainly didn't disappoint, running through his most popular repertoire as well as a few unpublished original songs. As I was listening to his performances I had my teacher hat on, analysing what makes his style of playing so appealing to musicians and non-musicians alike.
Firstly, he creates drama with the music. Massive contrasts in dynamics (volume), use of the full register (range) of the piano and choosing when to go for broke or ease back on rhythm and speed make for compelling arrangements.
Secondly, he creates drama with the visuals. Peter moves like a player possessed, torso bending, arms waving, feet stomping. His videos are immaculately shot and his live performance was accompanied by a choreographed lighting show that emphasised dramatic moments.
Thirdly, even though his arrangements are supremely creative, his choice of repertoire is instantly recognisable. By using popular songs and movie themes, we're left to enjoy the change and difference from the original songs while also still feeling like we're on the same ride. It's a giddy mix of familiarity and unfamiliarity.
These three points are all things that I love to work on with my students. For those of you who have been with me for a while, none of the above points will be a surprise to you, and for those of you who are newer students, we've got some exciting territory to cover in your future lessons.
Things I've been watching/listening to this week: