Why students don't phrase

It takes music students years to start phrasing at their instrument.

Phrasing is constantly referred to by teachers, but it is rarely given a clear definition and a clear method to apply it.

When students don't phrase, it isn't because they aren't practicing enough or because they aren't musical.

It's because they have yet to be taught both what it means, and how to apply it.

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  1. I should say, since I am playing with a chamber music orchestra, I am phrasing so much better!! I think that practicing on your own with other musicians makes your idea of phrasing more precise. you need to share the same phrasing in order to play together...

  2. I explain phrases in music to my students (most of whom are quite young children) by saying they are like a musical sentence, each with their own punctuation. For older/more advanced students, singing phrases helps shape the music - as one often takes a breath where one phrase ends and another begins. We also look at ways fingering schemes can affect the way a phrase is shape or signalled to the listener. Of course, some students just don't get it (the really unmusical ones!) and they continue to play in a flat, unchanging way.....!


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