This fourth skill is immensely practical, maybe some of you might think it’s a stretch to call it a ‘psychological skill’, but I notice that it’s totally normal for most of my students to have issues with putting this into practice as- like in meditation- we have to practise choosing where to place our awareness in any given moment

Show Notes

  • [0:45] The #4 skill: to begin with, every 5-10 minutes as you practise, change the focus of your awareness. Never just focus only on ‘the correct notes’
  • [4:00] There are infinite ways in which we can creatively use our awareness and focus while practising and performing. I demonstrate some examples of where I can place my focus & awareness while playing. Our awareness can be like a torch/ flashlight with a broad beam, or a tight narrow beam
  • [6:00] Demonstrating focusing on the sound of the instrument and tone-colour, or using different instruments in our imagination
  • [12:20] Imagining and immersing yourself in what you think the piece is about
  • [13:50] Moving awareness to the balance of the different parts
  • [16:55] Staying aware of the sound of all the notes especially as the sound decays- this is one of the most important things to practise at the piano
  • [22:15] Playing with phrasing and shaping
  • [23:10] The one most essential thing to practise resting awareness on in every single practice session- the felt sense of musical tension/release. Some of the barriers that make it difficult for us to feel this tension/release
  • [28:00] Advice for using focus/awareness in the early stages of learning a new piece
  • [30:00] Another essential place to practise resting awareness in- interoception (internal physical sensations) in the body, such as fingers, hands, wrists, arms, etc


The previous podcast where we talked about how a feeling of ‘not good enough’ can take over our ability to have healthy awareness/focus:

The piece of music I’m using to demonstrate with throughout this episode: Ilyinsky- Berceuse (No. 7 from Noure et Anitra, Op. 13)
My YouTube tutorial on this piece:
and my YouTube performance of the piece:

The intro/outro music is my jazz arrangement of the Rachmaninov Adagio from Symphony #2, you can watch the whole thing here if you like:

I have availability for online students at the moment- if you’re interested, do get in touch using the contact page at