The Feel Of The Keys

“You don’t think you really feel like doing it,” Emily said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.


“Well….” she hesitated. “It’s just like taking a bath. When you think about it, you don’t think you want to do it. And you keep saying, ‘I don’t want to take a bath’ and then you finally go and take a bath. And you know what?” she asked.

“No, what?”

“It feels really, really good. Yeah, practicing is just like that.”

Emily, age ten, was just starting to love to play the piano. She couldn’t quite figure out why it felt so good. So physical. So pleasurable. When she equated it with a warm bath it suddenly made sense.

The best musicians revel in the physical sensations of playing. I love the feel of the keys, the shape of a chord, the contour of a phrase. 

Remember to teach the love of the sensation of playing the instrument. The importance of a gesture. The joy of an interval, a staccato note, a first chord. These are all new, treasured experiences for our students – both young and old.

Take the time to enjoy them with your students. 

One of my adult students just left. On his way out he was chatting with his duet partner about why he and his wife hadn’t accompanied her and her husband on their recent trip to India.

“I didn’t want to go through piano withdrawal,” he said.

I’ll bet it wasn’t the intellectual part of playing he didn’t want to be without. It was the joy of the piano. The wonderful, physical, delight of making music.

That’s what we all need to teach today. And every day.