Acquiring fluency in the “language” of Classical Music
First: We all play what we hear in our heads. Second: Beautiful music is “heard” in our heads and our hands obey.
What we hear...
What we “hear” in our mind is a combination of experience, education, and reflection. Experience includes all the listening opportunities we’ve had in life. (My advice is start early) When the our listening experiences are linked to a moment of high emotional arousal: a concert trip with a beloved family member, attending a concert with a date, the impression is going to last. Impassioned listening I call it. For links to studies click this sentence.
Education is musical appreciation, music theory studies, ear training, analysis, and score study. Sophisticated music does not give up her charms easily. You must work for it. Piano students too often want to skip this stuff and get right to the good stuff. Believing that the score tells you all you need to know to create a beautiful performance is an unfortunate fallacy in piano education. It is just a bare minimum. Artistic insight and performance go way beyond the ink.
Reflection needs to be deliberate. Another form of deliberate practice. It is listening with intent in the performance of a great artist and ourselves. Reading biographies, autobiographies, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube interviews, and concerts. Asking ourselves, “what is going on here?” “How did they do it?”
What we can execute...
What we can execute is all about deliberate practice, time, patience, and access to resources including teachers.
Now go practice,
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.