December 29, 2022

About the Author: Laura Bevan

Laura Bevan is a 23 year old piano teacher at the London Piano Institute. She has been playing the piano since she was 7 years old and since then has studied at the conservatoire in Leeds gaining a degree in both Classical and Popular music.

As a musician, learning how to play the piano is a rewarding and fulfilling journey. But, simply being able to play the notes on the page is not enough – it is equally important to understand and interpret the music you are performing. Understanding and interpreting your piano music allows you to bring your own unique flair and personality to a piece, and helps you to connect with the music on a deeper level.

So, What Does It Mean To Understand And Interpret Piano Music?

To understand a piece of music, you need to have a basic knowledge of its structure and form. This includes understanding the time signature, key signature, and phrasing. It also involves becoming knowledgable on the style and genre of the music, as well as any historical or cultural context that may be relevant.

man performing on the grand piano

Interpreting a piece of music goes beyond simply understanding its structure and form. It involves bringing your own artistic interpretation, and making it your own. This involves considering the emotional content and finding ways to convey that emotion through your performance. It also involves making decisions about how to phrase the music, how to shape the dynamics, and how to bring out the various musical elements in the piece.

So, Why Is Understanding And Interpreting Your Piano Music Important?

  1. It allows you to fully express yourself through your music. By understanding and interpreting the music you are playing, you are able to bring your own unique flair and personality to the piece. This allows you to fully express yourself and to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
  2. When you understand and interpret a piece of music, you are able to understand the emotion and therefore can convey that emotion to your audience. This helps you to fully immerse yourself and to create more meaningful and powerful performance.
  3. It helps you to improve as a musician. Understanding and interpreting your music allows you to make more informed and thoughtful decisions about your performance and helps you develop your artistic skills as you understand the context behind the musical writing.
  4. It allows you to communicate to your audience. This allows you to be more engaging, and to create a more meaningful and enjoyable listening experience.

woman reading the music book

So, How Can You Improve Your Understanding And Interpretation Of Your Piano Music?

    1. Study the score. Take the time to carefully study the score of the music you are playing. Pay attention to the time signature, key signature, phrasing, and any other musical elements that are present. Try to understand the structure and form of the music, and consider the emotion and intention behind each passage.
    2. Research the composer and the time period in which the music was written. Understanding the historical and cultural context of the music you are playing can

help you to better understand and interpret the piece. Research the composer, and try to learn about their life and musical influences. Consider the time period in which the music was written, and think about how that may have influenced the composer’s style and intention.

woman playing the grand piano


  • Practice with intention. When practicing, try to focus on specific aspects of the music that you want to improve. This might include phrasing, dynamics, or specific technical challenges. Practice with the intention of bringing out the emotion and meaning in the music, rather than just going through the motions.
  • Experiment with different interpretations. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches to the music you are playing. Try out different phrasing, dynamics, and tempos to see what works best for you. This can help you to find your own unique stance on the piece, and to develop your artistic skills.
  • Seek feedback from others. It can be helpful to seek feedback from other musicians or music educators. They may be able to offer valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.
  • Attend concerts and listen to recordings. Attending concerts and listening to recordings of other musicians performing can be a great way to learn about different interpretations of a piece. Pay attention to the choices that other musicians make in their performances, and consider how they make you feel and how you might incorporate some of these ideas into your own playing. As well as this, think about what you may dislike in someones performance and really think deeper into why you may feel like that.


pianist hands on grand piano keys

In conclusion, understanding and interpreting your piano music is an essential part of becoming a well-rounded musician. It allows you to fully express yourself through your music, and connect on a deeper level with not only yourself but the audience too. By taking the time to study the score, research the composer and time period, practice with intention, experiment with different interpretations, and seek feedback from others, you can develop your understanding and bring your own unique flair to your performances.

So, always try to connect to your piano music on a deeper level to make your performance more meaningful and enjoyable.

Remember, it’s important that understanding and interpreting music is not a one-time process – it is a continuous journey that requires ongoing study and practice. As you become more proficient at the piano and develop your musical skills, technique and understanding of a piece may evolve and change. This is a natural part of the learning process, and it is important to be open to new perspectives and approaches.

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