Over 100 Days of SMART Work
and 24 Years of HARD Work…
Dear piano player,
What is piano phrasing?
A skill that can be developed or simply the result of our inspiration?
Can we explain, ‘tame’ or control it?
Introducing “A New Perspective on Piano Phrasing: How To Transform A Boring Performance Into A Captivating One In 3 Creative Steps”
This eBook is the result of more than 100 days of SMART work and it synthesizes my phrasing experience acquired during 24 years of HARD work (studying, playing and teaching piano).
The real price of this book is $47. However, as a token of gratitude for your support, I decided to share it free of charge.
I’m giving away a complimentary FREE copy to all my subscribers!
Sign up and enjoy!
Make sure you enter a valid email address and confirm your subscription in order to get access to the ebook.
Now let’s get back to piano phrasing… 😉
Have you noticed that many pianists (especially beginners) play like mechanical dolls? The text is there, the dynamics are there, their posture seems to be correct, yet something is definitely missing!
Why does this happen?
Why sometimes an (apparently) impeccable performance seems so boring and lifeless?
Why do we get the feeling that the performer hacks his way through the piece with such difficulty, one bar (or even one note) at a time? Maybe because the pianist is not practicing enough?
Maybe because he lacks the necessary experience?
However, most of the time this happens because a simple (yet powerful) ingredient is missing – the art of phrasing.
Our ability of understanding musical phrases and bringing them to life makes the difference between a boring performance and a captivating one.
You don’t have to be a genius in order to shape expressive, convincing phrases on the piano.
You don’t have to practice 10 hours a day for 20 years in order to have a captivating, meaningful performance. You simply need to acquire a new perspective on the art of phrasing!
My eBook on Piano Phrasing…
- reveals the phrasing secrets of the Russian piano school, adapting them to the realities of our fast modern life, to the necessities of all piano students and enthusiasts;
- offers you a step-by-step guide for a convincing performance full of musicality and awareness;
- explains how to overcome the most challenging phrasing difficulties and how to ‘tame’ this extremely ‘capricious’ element of piano performance.
In only half an hour, you will learn what took me 24 years of hard work to figure out. By acquiring a deeper perspective on piano phrasing, you’ll bring your piano mastery to a new level!
Sign up, enjoy your reading…
…and don’t forget to leave a comment! 😉 Post all your piano phrasing questions and ideas below!
If you enjoyed my phrasing ebook, here are some other free tutorials you should not miss:
Piano Playing is a Lifetime Commitment
Chopin – Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48 No. 1. Detailed Piano Tutorial
The Matrix – Clubbed to Death. Piano Tutorial. Lesson No 85 (Video Course for Beginners)
Wrist, Arm & Shoulder Warm-Up for Pianists
The Power of Perseverance in Learning to Play Piano: Why Musical Progress is Not Linear
I was very interested in reading your ideas for phrasing, signed up for a subscription, but was unable to open the document. Is that because I’m using a Mac? Are you able to send it in another format? Hope you can help me.
Thanks for subscribing! 😉
Please check your email – I just sent you my report in pdf format!
Have a wonderful day!
(I just read your response on Bach, etc. – in separate Questions section.Your comments and advice are so valuable. Thank you. You touched on so many things that I was unaware of. Looking forward to your response on Schumann, when you have the time. )
I was not able to open the Piano Phrasing document also. (I live in Japan and have a Japanese pc platform; there was an alert that said I needed to install some other type of additional program…?)
Have a peaceful and harmonious day!
Please check your email – I just sent you my report in pdf format ;).
Yesterday evening I had a great time playing through Schumann’s Kinderszenen suite – I played it too during my lyceum years and I enjoyed remembering it! 🙂 I hope to write more about it today, in the “Ask Me a Piano Question” page.
Enjoy the report and have an inspired practice today!
Thank you for sharing all this to us!!! I just want to let you know that reading all of your articles and this report have really help me out to face my “piano failures” and problems in general and to change my habits while practicing and playing. I love this page and what you are doing. Thank you!!.
Glad I could help! 😉
Thank you as well for being a wonderful and supportive reader!
Have an amazing day and enjoy your practice!
Hi Ms Vartic,
I have read and reread your report. You have explained exactly the way I was taught! I was even told not to listen to recordings, for fear that I would imitate. You have really opened my eyes to a new way of learning. do you realize that you gave me a solution in 2 paragraphs to something that I had been working on for months!
Now back to the report, You have an amazing gift of verbalizing music! This is a very difficult thing to do, but you really do write in a way that I can actually visualize what you are saying! And the most profound two things are the simplest! they are you think before you speak, so you won’t sound stupid and the other is driving without seeing the road in front of you! I never would have thought of those analogies, but when I read them it was like a slap in the face! That changed my whole thought process.
Another thing that really helped, was how you explained how a change in articulation does not mean it is the end of the phrase. This was a big one!! This has really made my playing more musical. Once I became aware of what the phrases actually are. I had a tendacy tto take short phrases. I would have broken that Chopin B major op9 no 3 nocturne up into many short phrases. Then I would have wondered why it sounded broken up!
All I can do is to thank you for your report. I am slowly changing my practice habits and the way I view music in general. It is a struggle to not slip back into old habits, for the simple fact that I have been doing it for one way for so long!!
Once again, you have a very amazing gift to translate all of your ideas about the beautiful language music to the written word. You have truly helped. I have made great strides since I have been reading your website! I honestly can’t thank you enough!
Looking forward to more. Take care, all the best to you
I’m really happy that you liked my report and that it helped you have a better understanding of this fascinating piano topic – correct phrasing ;).
Thank you for your support!!! It feels great to hear that my site helped you change your perspective on music and improve your practice habits!
Take care and have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂
Hi again Ilinca,
I have just read, (slowly, while taking notes!), your report on Phrasing. You are so incredibly generous for sharing your wisdom with such clarity, passion (and compassion!), and with such articulation of such a difficult topic: explaining music and, essentially, how to achieve “beautiful sound”!
Your opening metaphor for understanding what “Phrasing” is as a concept was, simply put, ON TARGET; a phrase in language, such as poetry, read by someone UN-inspired, or unable, to communicate the meaning of the words, does not affect the listener in the end. The idea of “Phrasing” in music has always been sort of mysterious to me; music (aside from voice) is already a language of no-words, so the idea of musical “phrasing” always felt ambiguous somehow. Up until now, I could “feel” the phrase and just relied on instinct for expression, but certainly missed out on the expression of beauty obtainable from a more conscious and intellectual approach.
In particular, you point out the importance of “horizontal” thinking and the direction of the phrase, the movement, as well as the intoning of the notes, (Yes! These two ideas really hit home for me…) and other aspects, such as having a more overall feel for the piece in question, and to develop the ability to express the meaning of the phrases in accordance with the composer’s indications.
And, most importantly, Relaxation , playing tension-free! This has been a constant obstacle for me, but recently (I believe from reading your articles and insights and trusting your advice, while trying to stay positive about my own progress), this is finally becoming attainable for the first time ever!! Now, my shoulders don’t lift up, my arms DON’T hurt, my hands are not sore and cramped after even practicing for 4.5 hours, fast and loud passages (and those potentially cause the most strain, don’t they!)
After years of just playing the piano at the same level, same bad habits, because it is what I have always done (?), I’ve recently made the decision to take my “hobby” more seriously and find a proper piano instructor. (I realized, piano is actually not a hobby for me, rather a part of who I am! ). I did find a teacher near my home, but due to living in a foreign country (Japan) and the nuances of a foreign language being, at times, challenging , your forum has become a very important resource for my life with the piano. I cannot thank you enough, Ilinca!! I’m so glad I found you and PianoCareer.com.
I look forward to reading your other posts over time and incorporating all your advice. You have such a great attitude about the art of piano playing and its relationship to our individual lives in all the different aspects. It is so refreshing and much needed!!
Alexandra, thank you for such a wonderful testimonial! 🙂
Indeed, the concept of ‘phrasing’ is often considered only a result of intuition or feeling – and thus many pianists (especially students) tend to become superstitious (I’ve been there myself!), not knowing how to explain the random results of their playing: sometimes they achieve that natural ‘flow’, other times they can’t really ‘catch it’.
My Academy professor, however, showed me that phrasing (among many other fascinating piano playing skills) can be explained, understood, felt, developed and convincingly transmitted to the listeners.
When we understand what lies ‘behind the curtain’ in phrasing, when we SEE how exactly we can develop this skill, we automatically become more confident and our playing inevitably reaches another level of mastery.
And, of course, I’m always happy to hear that my work helps piano players feel more relaxed and comfortable at the instrument; that their hands don’t hurt; and that they can truly enjoy this rewarding activity!!! 🙂
What can be more enjoyable than the freedom of expressing, without any technical or mental obstacles, the beautiful message of a piece by Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff etc.?
By mastering the art of phrasing, we take one more step in our quest towards balance and freedom – in music and in life.
I really liked what you wrote: “Piano is actually not a hobby for me, rather a part of who I am!”
Thanks again for sharing your impressions on my report! 😉
I am exploring your website, and I find it very interesting.
Just I have a problem with your book about phrasing,
I downloaded it, but I can’t open it.
I use a Mac 10.4 Tiger.
Can you help me?
Welcome to PianoCareer.com – it’s very nice to meet you! 😉
Yes, sometimes Macs can’t open archive files (I’m not sure exactly why) – so it’s good that you told me about it!
In a minute I’ll send you an email with my report in pdf.
the piano phrasing report is very clear.
I just listened to your tutorial on Dynamic Gradations, and I found it very interesting. You appear to be a very good teacher, (and I love your beautifully mastered English!) I subscribed and have been anxiously awaiting your free tutorial on Phrasing but I have not received it. Could you please try sending it again? And thank you so very much for sharing your expertise and experience with those of us who do not have the opportunity to learn from someone as talented as you.
Thank you for your comment! 😉
When you subscribed to my email newsletter, did you confirm your subscription? You will get the download link only after opening the confirmation email and clicking on the link there. Then, you’ll be directed to the download page!
I just checked my email list and I couldn’t find your email there – which means that confirmation is needed. Also, did you subscribe here on my site or on YouTube? The YouTube subscription has nothing to do with my report on Phrasing – you have to subscribe here on PianoCareer.com and you’ll receive it automatically!
Good luck and let me know how it goes! It you have other questions, please ask! 😉
I have just finished reading your Phrasing tutorial, and it was so informative. You have an amazing ability to explain things in simple terms. You really helped me understand why my intonation of the phrases under the slurs did not produce the beautiful expression of longer musical thoughts that I heard in professional recordings. But I still have a question. How do you go about finding the larger musical thoughts or phrases in a piece without relying on recordings? In other words, how do you accomplish this without mimicking someone else? Without a good teacher’s guidance, is there a key to learning this skill, or is it a matter of intuition and experience? I hope I explained that well enough for you.
I love pianocareer.com! I visit the site everday and always gain more insight into how I can improve my playing.
I can’t thank you enough for freely sharing your expertise and skill with so many of us who just have a passion for the piano. Thanks again for all you do.
Thank you!!! 😉
For identifying musical phrases you need experience and intuition, of course. However, the most important thing is learning how to decipher the composer’s indications! Usually everything is encoded in the score (especially beginning with Beethoven – when composers started to note down all the little dynamic and articulation details, and not just the plain notes).
Also, you have to learn how to feel and understand musical sentences (because a phrase, in the end, is a finished musical thought). Where do you think a certain thought begins and where does it end? If, for example, you end the phrase in bar 6 (supposedly), does this musical idea have meaning, is it complete, does it sound whole?
How about the harmonic structure? Usually each phrase has a certain harmonic layout – beginning and ending with the tonic, or making a modulation in another tonality (the dominant, the subdominant, the sixth step etc.).
Just like in reading a book you can easily say where a certain sentence begins and where does it end – with a little practice and access to correct information, you’ll be able to do the same in music!
Don’t forget: identifying a phrase is one thing. It can be compared to identifying a sentence in a novel. Performing this phrase, however, is a totally different thing: it can be compared to the art of an actor, who’s reciting on stage a fragment from that novel, from a play or from a poem. It requires knowledge, skills and lots of practice (just like I describe in my report).
Bottom line: the score should be your guide – and not the recordings of other pianists. From recordings you can learn many things – but the structure of the phrase is always encoded in the score – and you should be able to see it only by looking at it and playing it yourself!
Good luck! 😉
I am very interested in reading your article on phrasing, as it is a subject I alway wanted tounderstand myself, but after signing up I was unable to open the document. Please help 🙂
Check you email – I just sent you a copy in pdf format :).
Enjoy and have a good weekend!
I am really enjoying your excellent insights on piano playing and I am very keen to read your phrasing report but unfortunately I am unable to open it. Could you help me please?
Thank your for this wonderful website!
Best wishes, Sara.
Thank you!!! 😉
Certainly – please check your email, I just sent you my report in pdf format!
Enjoy and have a great week,
I also am having a problem accessing the report. Can you send me a copy in PDF? I signed on as well 🙂
Thank you and have a great day!
It’s very nice to meet you! 😉
First of all, have you confirmed your subscription? I just checked the subscribers list – and your email is not there yet.
After subscribing, you received a confirmation email – please click on the link in that email in order to activate your subscription. Then you’ll receive another email with the download link for my report “A New Perspective on Piano Phrasing” :).
If you subscribed with another email address, let me know and I’ll check if there are any technical problems.
Good luck and let me know how it goes! 😉
I have read carefully your report and I must say it’s really good, I love it! And the way you explain is wonderful. Also, I was imagining your voice while reading (~mental play :-). Thank you very much Ilinca for your light and for sharing this high quality work .
You’re very welcome! I’m really happy that you enjoyed my report! 😉
As several others have mentioned, I was unable to open the free document on phrasing. I have an I- pad with Safari browser, and this problem does come up occasionally. I did click the confirmation link.
You have subscribed correctly 🙂 – and I think that you couldn’t open the document because your iPad cannot read archived files of the .zip format.
Check your email – I just sent you the report in pdf format (I hope it will work) ;).
Thank you again for subscribing – and have a wonderful weekend!
Hello Miss Ilinca,
Thank you, thank you so much for all your videos, articles, and tutorials. You explain so simply, yet clearly. I have learned and realised a whole lot of things from your ideas and tips as well. Thank you so much. 🙂
You’re very welcome! 😀 😉
Have a great day and enjoy your practice,
I can really relate to your statement regarding the emotional qualities needed for proper phrasing. I have also been writing and performing poetry for some time now. If someone is reading a poem for the first time, they should always read it out loud; even if they are alone… in order to fully understand the poem.
Years ago I was invited to recite a couple of poems before an audience at a new venue. I did not know who would be attending, so I decided on two poems that I had recently written. However, upon arriving I could see that 90 per cent of the audience were college students; or in their early 20s.
The first poem was fully appreciated by the young group and the judges gave me a score of 9 on a scale of 1-10; however, I “knew” the second poem would not be understood by such a young group of people; for they had not lived enough years to understand the meaning of my poem. Although knowing this fact, I forged ahead and recited the poem.
The result: BLANK FACES. They just did not “get it.” It is the same with music, you have to really “feel” the emotional aspect of the composition in order to understand and play it well. In addition you have to have some knowledge of the composer’s background, his country of origin, the history of the times etc.
Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience! 😉
Yes, in piano playing the situation is very similar – in order to perform a piece well, we have to analyze it first, understanding the style of the composer, his expressive intentions, the character and atmosphere of the piece – and so on!
Moreover, it’s normal that an unprepared audience will have blank faces when listening to a complex piece (for example, a Prelude & Fugue by Bach) – and so will inexperienced young students! For this reason, the duty of a teacher is to prepare the student and help him/her understand the piece before and during learning it – explaining lots of useful things about the composer and the meaning/emotional content of the music.
After that, we can gradually teach the student HOW to bring out the emotions he just felt and understood by using specific technical and expressive pianistic effects (which can be demonstrated, explained and mastered – I share many of them in my tutorials :D).
Have a great weekend and see you on the forum! 😉
hola ILINCA. QUIERO DECIRTE QUE PARA MI SON MUY VALIOSOS TUS CON SEJOS, REALMENTE UTILES. NECESITO QUE ME INFORMES ACERCA DE COMO ESTUDIAR TERCERAS, SEXTAS EN ESTUDIOS DE CHOPIN, FORMULAS RITMICAS PARA PODER ABORDARLOS. EJEMPLO ESTUDIO OP. 10 N 9 MANO IZQUIERDA. QUE EJERCICIOS CONVIENE ABORDAR. GRACIAS
Unfortunately, my limited Spanish does not allow me to give piano advice in this language – not to mention that it’s impossible to answer your very complex question in one short message!
Hello Miss Ilinca,
I am a rugged pianist since I play hard pieces(i think) without proper polishing since I wasnt taught about phrasing since I came back studying piano a yearago (started since i was about 6 years old but stopped about the start of my high school) and I really wish to relearn all the pieces.
These are the hard piano pieces I can play but are I think are very dirty : Mozart’s Ronda alla Turca , Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9 no 1 , Etude Op 10 no 3 in E Mjr(incomplete), Minute waltz , Waltz#1 in A flat Opus 69 , Posthomus Waltz in E flat and currently im practicing Mozart’s Sonata 16 in C major 1stmvment.
Ive been playing and playing them within these year but i dont know if they are technically good.:(
A reply and an advice would be greeeeeaatly appreciated.
Actually want to join your website but for me its financially a problem. Sorry:(
I’m a musician from Portugal, I play guitar, bass and mandolin, and I’ve had one year of piano lessons.
I was very interested in reading your ideas for phrasing, so I’ve signed up for a subscription, but I don´t know how to download de book.
I knew your site “Pianocareeracademy.com” at youtube.
Timely will register me to start with piano lessons.
From what I saw in your youtube videos, I found extremely interesting, in my opinion the russian shcool of piano it remains the best shcool.
thank you Ilinca.
Hi Ilinca, I’m finally able to re-join your pianocareeracademy again (today). I’ve missed going online to watch your informative videos. I tried to download the free book on phrasing but the link won’t open for me. Since I was online with you the first time I switched to a Macbook Air laptop. So I’m wondering if that could be the problem.
Best regards to you. . . . . can’t wait to pick up where I left off with your piano lessons, Lynn Schneider
Yes, it’s probably because you’re using a Mac. My assistant Natalia will send you a pdf copy of the report in a minute! 😉
Have a wonderful weekend and see you on PianoCareerAcademy.com! 😉
Thank you for a wonderful site and document! I was not only impressed by your piano play but even more impressed by your clear and concise English in describing musical ideas.
I have always been playing phrases only in a legato manner but your idea of a musical expression or a structured “sentence” has brought in a whole new approach to the pieces. Thank you!
You’re very welcome – and thank you so much for your appreciation! 😀
Although I am a subscriber, I did not receive your new paper on phrasing. I would like to read it very much. So, if you could, please email me another.
This is Natalia, Ilinca Vartic’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com.
Thank you for contacting us about this issue! It’s strange that you didn’t receive the email with the download link for Ilinca’s ebook!
However, technical errors do happen sometimes – so I just sent you a pdf copy of “A New Perspective on Piano Phrasing” via email. I hope you enjoy it! 😉
I’ll also mention that Ilinca’s free piano blog (PianoCareer.com) is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of her online teaching. You can find many hundreds of other exclusive, super-detailed video and written tutorials (including step-by-step courses) in the Members Area of her Piano Coaching Program at PianoCareerAcademy.com. More information about this program in our FAQs! 😉
Thank you – and I hope you enjoy the ebook! 😉
I’m very interested in this! I think it can help me improve very much. However, I subscribed but I didn’t receive it, only the confirmation email 🙁
I don’t know if this site is still active but in case you see this, could you please send it to me? Thank you very much!
This is Natalia, Ilinca Vartic’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com.
Yes, of course PianoCareer.com is still active (and going strong)! 😉
You mentioned the confirmation email: in order to be redirected to the download page for Ilinca’s ebook, you need to confirm your subscription (by clicking the link in that email).
If you still have download problems after confirming your address, please let me know – and I will send you a copy of the phrasing ebook via email! 🙂
I clicked the link again just in case but it still says “A message will be delivered if the publisher has produced new content” and no mail.
Thank you for your kind reply. 🙂
Hi again Alex!
I think that I know what the problem is!
You probably subscribed to the RSS feed (which has nothing to do with Ilinca’s ebook). In order to download it, you have to subscribe to our email newsletter, by entering your name and email address in one of the two fields that can be found in the article above :).
After subscribing, you will receive a confirmation email – please click on the link in that email in order to activate your subscription. After that, you will be redirected to the download page for the phrasing ebook :).
If you have any other questions, please let me know! 😉
I see! It’s so weird, in Chrome I’m not able to see those fields at all. Tried with Firefox and I could. 🙂
Thank you very much for your assistance! And thanks to Ilinca too for sharing her knowledge!
My pleasure, Alex! 😉
By the way, I just tried to open this page in Chrome, and the fields are working for me. Sometimes restarting the computer/browser (and also deleting the cookies etc.) helps in such situations.
I hope you enjoy the ebook! 😉
I too would like Ilinca’s Ebook on piano phrasing. Can you send me the pdf?
You can download Ilinca’s phrasing ebook after subscribing to our email newsletter.
Simply enter your name and email address in one of the two fields from the post above (please don’t confuse the email newsletter with the RSS feed!). After this, confirm your subscription (by clicking on the link in the first email you receive) – and you will be redirected to the download page! 😉
If you have any other questions (or further difficulties downloading the ebook), please let me know! 😉
I just sign up and I can’t get info on phasing
This is Natalia, Ilinca Vartic’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com.
I just checked our list of subscribers at PianoCareer.com – and I noticed that you haven’t confirmed your subscription yet (that’s why you can’t download the ebook).
After subscribing, you received a confirmation email (please make sure it didn’t go to your Spam folder). All you have to do is open that email and click the confirmation link. After that, you will be redirected to a page containing the download link for the ebook.
If you need further assistance, please let me know!
I subscribed with my email and confirmed my subscription, however I did not get the piano phrasing book.
Could you please help me with this??
Good Morning Illinca,
Can you please also send me the Piano Phrasing book for a mac. Pdf.
Please check your email :).
Could you please send me the Piano Phrasing book as pdf?
Thank you so much
You can download the phrasing ebook after subscribing to our email newsletter on PianoCareer.com.
Simply enter your name and email address in one of the two fields from the post above. After this, confirm your subscription (by clicking on the link in the first email you receive) – and you will be redirected to the download page! 😉
If you have any other questions (or further difficulties downloading the ebook), please let us know! ;