Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

What does your face do when you're playing?


mwisniewski

Recommended Posts

What does your face do when you're playing?

 

When I'm really into a piece or into a groove, especially a classical pieces that I've known forever, I'm finding I play it better when I let the emotions out through my facial expressions. I almost completely lose myself in the song, it's like it makes me more connected to the song and the instrument.

 

I experimented by improvising some blues and consciously letting my eyebrows, eyes, and mouth express whatever emotion was coming out, it made a difference in the fluidity of my improvisation. It also helped when I wanted to go a certain direction, I'd make a thoughtful look, or a naughty look, or an angry look, and I'd start improvising differently.

 

I also noticed Andre Watts doing the same thing, except sometimes he was almost kissing the piano.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 38
  • Created
  • Last Reply
My face contorts from the displeasure of the dissonance caused by my poor technical skills. This is involuntary because I suck...good thing no one is watching or listening. For the rest of you that can play, express yourself. I find the best musicians seem to "channel" the music from the depths of their souls and you can see it in their faces and body language.
Heeeeeere kitty kitty kitty
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I am in a similar situation to Midispaceho. Most of the time I am in tension trying to learn a piece, so it's not often that I can relax and really enjoy what I am playing. In fact I've been told by my family that, at those circumstances, my face is pretty funny: extremely serious and hieratic or something like that (when I have sheet music in front of me, I really lose track of what I'm doing with my face or any other part of my body except the hands). But I must not be so strange because I have seen some experimented classic pianists (with just a few more experience than me, maybe... I don't know, one or two decades) playing with a similar serious rictus in their faces, which totally disappeared as they stopped playing (I mean the graveness rictus disappeared -- not the pianist, of course).

 

But when I am comfortable with a piece, even with the pretty simple stuff I play, I like to let myself "hang loose" and follow the flow of music slightly moving my head and allowing some facial expressions, trying to pretend to be a virtuoso. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

I also allowed myself some facial expressions some time ago, when I was into tracking (protracker, fastracker etc). Once the music was recorded, edited, etc, and played back by the software, I could lay back, close my eyes and arch my eye brows, move my head, etc, trying to get more and more into my own music and find more ideas to improve the composition. Unluckily for me, my "ideas" used to outnumber by far the number of available tracks on the tracker -- but that's another history! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

blue.

= blue =
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Blue:

... I must not be so strange because I have seen some ... pianists ... playing with a similar serious rictus in their faces, which totally disappeared as they stopped playing.

 

See that's interesting because to me that "rictus" is their concentration showing on their face. Then there's the point where the rictus disappears, and your other emotions can start to shape the music ... and your face http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

If you get a chance, try to see a video of Andre Watts, whose body language and face are just oozing emotion. It's really strange to see him play, especially when he's playing a real fast stacatto that's getting really soft, his face is about 3 inches from the keys, and his lower lip is trembling so much you think he's crying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've noticed that I behave in totally different ways, depending on the kind of musical situation I'm in.

 

When I'm onstage playing keyboards, I am usually relaxed, so I can indulge in a few gestures for the audience benefit... especially if I'm playing standing up. The exception is when I play with my own electric jazz group; there, the music is so complex that I remain totally serious and economize my moves.

 

If I'm playing jazz piano, my concentration is such that I often find myself with my mouth open, eyes closed, head close to the keys, and emitting occasional rants in correspondence of tricky passages.

 

I was utterly surprised to discover, quite a few years ago, that when I practice piano technique at home, I'm constanting producing the kind of orgasmic vomiting sound Keith Jarrett is famous for... Only, thank God, at a much lower volume! It was probably there for a long time, I just never realized it before. This ONLY happens when I practice, and even during the simplest arpeggios. Go figure!

 

If I'm playing classical music, I'm totally silent and almost motionless - It's another type of concentration, I guess. But a funny thing happened a couple of years ago: I was in the studio, recording Bach's Toccata in E minor; toward the end of the final fugue, I emitted a heavy breath, almost a grunt. The engineer noticed that, and said, "Please, give me the ending once again". I did, and exactly at the same spot, I did the same thing! We laughed, tried again, and guess what... I wasn't able to play that passage without grunting! So we just left the less noticeable one in, and that was it.

 

We could write a book about the idiosyncrasies of musicians... One I find particularly stupid is when classical pianists do a sort of vibrato motion on long bass notes - as if it had any effect on the sound.

 

Funny thread!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I PLAY... I do look like THIS .

 

Sometimes my face looks as if the keys were on fire... ya know, pain !!

 

 

When I sing, I do ALWAYS have my eyes closed ... go figure !! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

 

 

------------------

Gus Lozada

 

Moderador de:

MusicPlayer.com/NuestroForo

"La voz en Español en Música y Tecnología"

 

Gus TraX @musicplayer.com

Músico, Productor, Ingeniero, Tecnólogo

Senior Product Manager, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus

at Fender Musical Instruments Company

 

Instagram: guslozada

Facebook: Lozada - Música y Tecnología

 

www.guslozada.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have pictures of myself playing from several different types of concerts (classical, rock, etc.) over a span of about 14 years, and as I look at them I have to laugh...

 

In all the pictures, from ages about 22 to 36, give or take, and then some rare ones after that, I have absolutely no expression at all besides concentration, except for 1 pic: In that one, I have both hands in the air and this look of consternation on my face, and my tongue sticking out. I remember it well. We were doing a gig and my Casio CZ-1 decided to get stuck MIDI notes on about every third note. I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on...

 

At Julliard, we were actually taught to be rather stoic about our body language when we played. The attitude was "Let the music be the expression, and you be an extension of the music." a la Horowtiz style of playing. People actually criticized Watts for his physical involvement in the music. Do you guys know that he grunts and sings along with what he's playing to the point that generally the first three rows at his concerts can hear him distinctly over the music??

 

I never bought into that, because I am a great admirer of Andre. The first time I saw him live, in 1977, at school, he did the Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto in Bb minor and just blew me the hell away. I got to meet him afterwards, and he's a really nice guy with no attitude at all. I was reviewing the concert for the school paper and he was genuinely interested in what I had to say, like MY opinion made any difference in the music world...

 

This message has been edited by joegerardi on 09-09-2001 at 04:05 AM

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I have a look of pain on my face because my front teeth hit the microphone I am singing into ! Than I have a problem with the metal bridge in my mouth causing static feedback and look of "what's that" on my face .................dano

Oh.....than there's the mud on my face along with tomato's . I carry a squeegy .

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great thread! I do some weird things on occasion too. When I play a technically difficult piece, I tend to lock my jaw. A lot of pianists do that. Also, what I've noticed is that it only hurts me to TRY to let out emotion. When I work on showing the anger and passion of a piece in my face and hands, I usually don't hit the right notes, but when I play the same piece naturally, I play it right, but still show plenty of expression. One time, I recorded myself to see what my hands look like and the expressions on my face, and to my surprise, I looked angry and down-right scary.

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool thread. When I'm playing keys, I frown at my inability to play keys. When playing guitar in a live sitaution, I sometimes move around so much that it interferes with my ability to execute my parts. This spasticity is usually an attempt to find the groove and, in some cases, transmit the groove to bandmates who are not presently grooving.

 

Fortunately, I have been told that I do not make "jazz guitar face" when I perform. I am pleased to know this, because, even though I love jazz, I still feel like smacking that silly little smirk off the fusion guitarist's mug. Pat Metheny makes jazz guitar face, but is saved by the fact that the little smirk often blossoms into a big, awkward midwestern grin, which is involuntary and cool. I don't think there is an obnoxious equivalent to jazz guitar face in the keyboard world.

 

John

Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have just remembered how funny is to watch a Guitar Player's face when they are playing a solo using a "WAH WAH" effect ... they move their mouths as if the sound is coming from it... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Músico, Productor, Ingeniero, Tecnólogo

Senior Product Manager, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus

at Fender Musical Instruments Company

 

Instagram: guslozada

Facebook: Lozada - Música y Tecnología

 

www.guslozada.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always wanted to be guitar player . As for the wah,wah ....I feel you on that my brother . While demostarting Ketron SD1 at summer NAMM show I used a wah wah effect . My volumne control pedal is assignable to be a wah,wah . My face was doing exactly what your talking about even on the keyboard. It was FUN ! dano
www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well when i am with the band i dont do much... but you should see me alone, especially when I am programmíng drums. I imagine myself doing the fill ins, and make all types of hand motion, facial expression, and noises and then i overdub each hit in the fill in bar... http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/cool.gif isnt it?
Rebuilding My Self
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 years later...
My family is background is Hungarian and Russian, and I'm told I look really serious, in an Ivan the Terrible sort of way, when I'm playing. There's a guitarist I played with for years before he asked me once if his playing bugged me, because I was always scowling at him onstage. I totally love his playing, he's an awesome musician, it's just my Eastern European genes! We had a good laugh, and we still play together. I consciously try to lighten up onstage these days, and actually smile sometimes and stuff. I probably just look goofy.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sort of disappear to myself when I play, so I don't know what I look like. I'm oblivious. If I'm playing on the edge or through a nebulous mood of music, I found out from recordings that I hum sometimes - but not during most playing.

 

I also almost stand up sometimes when I play something technical - a sort of pulling away from the keyboard as if I'm going to get up from the piano, which makes it more challenging. It causes a different expressiveness and makes the sound more objective to my ears, but it's just a natural thing - I can't plan when it happens. And I'm sure it looks weird.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange Thread to bring back, but lately Ive been told I need to smile, which is weird because I used to be always rocking in my shoes.

 

Dancing behind the keys has been my thing. But, in the last couple years I have been playing more serious and have stopped the dancing and carrying on most gigs. Of coarse that could be age. But, as far as facial expression goes, it changes with the mood of the gig and if I dance.

 

I need to dance to have real fun and hopefully when my new Bend Oregon band plays its first gig, next week, I will be dancing.

 

Pete

We play for free. We get paid to set up and tear down.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From photos I usually have my eyes closed and mouth open (if I'm singing!). They seemed to be closed a lot although I don't seem to remember that.

 

Boy, this was originally and old thread! I think I dredged up a thread from 2000 once. It's nice to revisit old topics once in a while.

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

Soundcloud

Aethellis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, one could look like this,

 

http://blue-funk.com/NonBandPictures/kanker.jpg

 

But I look like this

 

http://blue-funk.com/NonBandPictures/withCHmed.jpg

 

or this when I actually stop looking at the keys

 

http://blue-funk.com/NonBandPictures/withCHclose.jpg

 

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also almost stand up sometimes when I play something technical - a sort of pulling away from the keyboard as if I'm going to get up from the piano, which makes it more challenging. It causes a different expressiveness and makes the sound more objective to my ears, but it's just a natural thing - I can't plan when it happens. And I'm sure it looks weird.

This sounds very familiar...

 

http://img.listal.com/image/196814/600full-keith-jarrett.jpg

 

;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I try not to make weird or painful looking faces when I play. I'm consistent, my face is ALWAYS ugly! :rawk:

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a monkey face, like I'm going "ooo! oo! ooooooooo!" that makes it's way into photos a lot. But I'm pretty sure I make lots of weird faces.

 

I've been trying to acknowledge the audience more, to look at them and make "I'm playing this... for YOU" gestures. When the gig is going well, I tend to grin a lot these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, what's funny is, when my wife is at a gig, I often look at her both because I like to and because I want to see how she's responding. For some reason that she doesn't understand either, she often looks like she's scowling or confused when I look at her during the gig. I'll ask her later and she never feels that way (she would tell me if she did).

 

One time, I was sitting in with a friend of mine, his wife was there as well (she's his manager and muse). So our two wives are sitting there, I look over, and there are these two lovely women with the same "concerned" look on their faces. I'm thinking, "what ARE we screwing up??" Asked them both afterward separately and they both said, "nothing, it was fine." LOL

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...