Short comments on Teaching
|A number of articles have been published on the working methods of Geoffrey Madge,
here are a few ideas taken from interviews and master classes.|
Maintaining the most important organic
connections within a composition, the music combined within the technique.
In this area he has made some useful observations, helping the student
to find his or her own voice and physical ease in performance.
He believes in finding and retaining the natural abilities
and individualities of the pianist, observing them he discovers
their characteristics, assisting them in finding their own
solutions. One such basic principle is the making use of the hands unique
skeleton bone structure to give support in all the joints to the
fingers. Playing with a supported hand and an easy wrist and elbow.
|“why didn’t I think of that before, it feels right” a comment
|The study of a wide range of repertoire,
from the baroque, classical, 19th century through to the 20th century.|
|Exploration of the many ways of approaching the piano, including an intensive study of numerous
important historical recordings and films. Knowing the musical alphabet and
being aware of a wide range of possibilities so as to be able to make sensible choices. Without trying to force a “one directional” plan, he directs the student to
listen intuitively to how something is sounding, even naively at
to how the playing sounds to others at a larger distance, what we
actually hear and how this is projected to the rear of a large hall. Experimenting to find new directions in performance.|
|Organic connection with the sound. The technique.|
From the more basic technical side it is important to discover new different methods of practice, believing that we need not just one or two approaches to performance but various contrasting ways of making use of the instrument and our physical potential. Studying at times with slow movements, he believes in certain basic principles like making use of a supporting arched hand, using an extended long finger, but also playing with the natural curve of the fingers, the fingers falling into the key from the supported knuckle, relaxed, easy elbow and wrist joints, fingers slightly diagonal to the keys or flatter according to the content of the music. No unnecessary arm or hand movements, a slow easy flowing of the hand and arm from key to key, the upper arms and shoulders at ease.
A connection of steady flowing movements throughout the phrases. Breathing
in and out like movements of the arms and hands based on a connection to
the phrasing and pedaling. These are the starting points towards a basic pianistic
foundation. The practical side of performance.
|He believes strongly in giving the intuition room to
speak, at times letting go of the endless control. So much of playing is technically
and musically so over-stiffly controlled, but this is only possible when we have
trained the ability to be aware of what we are doing. Allowing the intuition to soar like a bird, to sing, go over bar lines and first beats, finding the deeper melos. Obviously to achieve this we need to
become masters of the material first.|
|From Geoffrey Madge's viewpoint a pianist develops best by intense
and especially understanding of movement.
Finding our inner musical instincts by a process of asking the
right questions at the right time, learning through our own experiences.|