Musical Expression

musical expressionMusic is such a subjective thing to assess. The technical ability to play the instrument, the right notes, and get a decent sound are all objective, but when it comes to music performance, musical expression is subjective. It is personal preference whether people will enjoy what you do or not.

I don’t know why this is, but for some reason, musical expression seems to be the hardest thing to teach. It is easy to teach someone how to get a sound out of an instrument, how to play the notes, and how to play them in the right order at the right time to get a tune. But to get a tune to sound like music is another thing altogether.

What is musical expression?

Music is an art form. Music is designed to make us feel certain emotions, evoke memories and tell stories. The composer is trying to convey to you various feelings and emotions through the notation on the page. You are the messenger, and it is up to you to then convey these feelings and emotions to the listener through sound.

How do you know what to express?

Decide which emotions and feelings the composer is trying to convey. Are there markings in the piece such as scherzo, dolce or appassionato? Does the music make you feel happy, sad, joyful, agitated, playful or something else?

Once you have decided on the emotions and feelings that the composer is trying to convey to you, then you make active decisions on which techniques you will use to convey these emotions to the listener.

Analyse the music and make deliberate decisions on which dynamics, tone colours and articulations will accurately express these emotions. Work out how to effectively phrase everything so that the listener can hear the emotions that you are trying to convey.

When put simply like this, musical expression is not that difficult. Once you master the pillars of musical expression, and can use them to convey emotion in music, your musical ability is taken to a whole new level.

No one wants to listen to someone play a bunch of dead-sounding notes. When we listen to music, we want to be taken to another place, we want to feel what the composer is trying to express. Good music with good expression makes us feel emotions, and this is why we enjoy listening to music!

Put as much effort into your expressive abilities as your technical abilities and you will take your playing to the next level!


musical expression



If you are struggling trying to effectively express yourself in your music, you will love my ecourse Musical Expression Made Easy! Get it here.








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