What Does "A Nice Touch On The Piano" Mean?

A piano is an instrument, a piece of equipment that makes sounds when you press the keys. Anyone can take piano lessons, and with some practice and a patient piano tutor, can manage to make the piano play a tune. But there's more to playing a piano that being able to bang on the keys in the right sequence as dictated by the piece of music.

Music isn't just about technical know-how as taught by a teacher, or even self-taught. It's about feeling, and that's where this statement comes from. Someone who has a nice touch on the piano is someone who really feels what they're playing. They know the music they're playing, they understand what the composer intended, they're sensitive to the emotion that is supposed to come from the piece of music and they convey this through the way they play and the atmosphere it creates.

Sometimes real piano playing genius doesn't move between head and fingers, it also passes through the heart. When you hear music that is played with that kind of emotion, whether it's soft and tender, or it's loud and filled with passion, the piano player conveys this raw emotion through the way they place their hands above the keys, the force with which they strike the keys, the way they move their body as they play and the way even the slightest of mood changes are reflected in both the player and the sound from the keyboard.

To have a nice touch on the piano doesn't mean that you can read a piece of music and make it loud and soft in the right places, that again is technique that can be learned. The emotion is something that comes in time to those who not only practice the actual playing of the music, but also have done some research and have an understanding of what the composer was thinking about when he created the piece. If the pianist has the right emotion for each piece when they start to play they will be able to produce music that doesn't just sound fast and loud, but rather urgent and afraid, or happy and free. It won't just sound slow and monotonous, but rather sad and lonely. This isn't anything to do with the notation on a piece of manuscript paper that sits on the music stand, but everything to do with the pianist's empathy and understanding of what the composer intended entwined with the technical skills that come from hours of practice.

Anyone can learn the basics of piano playing, but if you want to be great, if you want to have a nice touch on the keyboard, then you need to not only think about the notes and chords you play, but develop a sensitive understanding of each piece of music's history that you play, and deliver the emotion accordingly. Listen to how various pianists play the same piece of music, you might be surprised how some of them touch you, and yet others playing the same music go right over your head. The pianists with the nice touch, they're the ones that play from their heart and their music touches yours.


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