Robert Estrin - piano expert

Performer Noise During a Performance

Discover how some performers like to "make noise" during performance

In this video, Robert talks about the peculiarity of some famous performers of making noises and other extraneous sounds during performances and recordings.

Released on June 21, 2017

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, This is Robert Estrin at and Today the subject is extraneous noise during musical performance. Now, years ago I made a video, an extraneous motion during musical performance, and there are some amazing examples of people who move around and gyrate. Sometimes it can enhance the performance, sometimes it could be distracting. Well there's a whole other element of noises that some performers make. Some great performers of all time, as a matter of fact, from Rudolf Serkin to Glenn Gould. They really had trouble recording these artists because they made so much noise out of their mouths, and sometimes I've seen performers kicking their feet, stamping the pedals.

How does such a thing happen in the first place? Well, sometimes people just get used to singing along kind of, but they're not really singing, so it's kind of an unearthly sound that you get, and I guess, you know, they're forgiven when they're on the level of the artists I mentioned, but it's something you really want to avoid in your practice because it could become so ingrained that you lose control over it, and you won't be able to not make noises during your performances. And, you know, you don't want to distract the audience for what you are trying to achieve.

Now perhaps in a large concert hall it's not really an issue, but in an intimate setting or in recording, that...the grunting sometimes you'll hear, you know, pay attention to a recording and you'll know what I'm talking about. I remember years ago, a pianist who shall remain nameless, I remember he made so many noises and stamped his feet, and that when we got all done with the concert, it was a solo piano recital, I was joking with my further how it was kind of a song and dance routine because there was so much extra stuff going on. It's like, "Why didn't somebody stop this man when he was a child?" But sadly when it gets to that point, it's...there's no way you can control it because the emotion of the music makes you make this sounds, you know, and it's out of your control. So if you have students, make sure that you get them to stop doing this. And if you find yourself are making these kind of noises, have the self-control to stop it before it becomes so ingrained that it controls you.

That's my advice to you. We can forgive the great artist, but it doesn't really add any positive element to music, does it? Love to hear from you if you have any stories about, you know, people who make strange noises while they play instruments. Thanks so much for joining me. Robert Estrin here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Bill McClellan * VSM MEMBER * on April 6, 2019 @4:09 am PST
Thank you for your great videos.

Why do so many brilliant professional musicians seem to prefer playing music that is so dissonant music that you could never possibly sing to?
Robert - host, on April 6, 2019 @3:00 pm PST
Here is a child who is brilliant and incredibly wise about this very subject:
Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on June 22, 2017 @8:11 am PST
I have a tendency to sing along with what I play, especially if I like the piece very much, it may be even a simple study of Czerny. Well, at least I am not a performer so nobody complains!
Ioannis Raftopoulos * VSM MEMBER * on June 22, 2017 @3:07 am PST
hi! I see that some performers in movies, move their bodies and hands, as if they are swimming, moving their body back and forwards, their hands move in a wavy way. is this an acceptable style or is it a trick they teach to movie stars to give the impression that they are actually playing? some jazz pianists move their bodies and lower their left and right elbows following the rhythm! thank you!
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