Robert Estrin - piano expert

The Importance of Walking Around a Concert Hall

An important tip for playing in a concert hall

In this video, Robert tells you the importance of walking around the concert hall before playing in it to know its full potential.

Released on December 18, 2019

    
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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 here at livingpianos.com. Today we're going to talk about the importance of walking around a concert hall. What am I talking about? Well, if you ever have the opportunity to play a concert and you get the chance to go to the hall beforehand, there is no better experience than to get somebody else playing the piano and walk around the hall. You will learn so much. It's incredible. The fact of the matter is, no matter how fine the hall you're playing in, the sound that you're going to get in the front row compared to the last row, even the left to the right, the balconies, could be dramatically different. Unless you have the opportunity to hear music in the hall on the instrument you play, whether it's piano or another instrument, there's no way you can really be sure of what you're projecting.

I had the opportunity with my father, Morton Estrin, in so many halls, from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center, to walk around and listen. You get to understand, for example, some halls, you might alter your touch or your tempo of what you're playing because things are going to become muddied in certain areas of the hall. Other halls, it might be overwhelmingly loud in one section and soft in another, and you might want to be able to kind of moderate your expression to be able to suit the hall.

Now this isn't just for concert halls, by the way. Anywhere you play, you want to listen in different parts of the room. Imagine you're having an in-home concert, for example, and the piano is opened up and you go in the room and people out there are getting blown away because you don't realize how loud it is. You're just playing at your regular volume that you practice all the time at home or in your practice room. You want to make sure you're playing appropriately for the space you're playing, and there's no better way than to get another person to play so you can walk around and listen to the sound. That way, you'll know exactly how to create the sound you're after.

Now, if you don't have the luxury of a second person to play, if you have a good quality portable recorder, you can try recording at different sections of the hall and listen back and get some idea of what you're getting. But there is really no substitute for being there live.

Now, one of the coolest things is if you have a recording, a player system on a piano where you can actually play on the hall, on the piano, play it back and walk around the hall. That's an ideal situation. But short of that, getting a friend to play for you, try it out first. Listen to what you're getting and temper your performance to make sure you're getting the optimal sound for the space you're playing in.

Thanks again for joining me. Robert Estrin at livingpianos.com, your online piano store.
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