Fermata Series

Fermata • Time to Pause

Take a little time to pause before playing on…
Written by Andrew Eales.

The fermata sign is an indication that we should take a little time to pause before playing on.

Pausing is a musical activity.
When we pause we should notice that we have paused.
And our audience should notice that we have paused.

The pause should not be ignored.

An effectively measured pause on a note or rest will often radically alter the quality of the narrative flow, performance choreography and communicative power of a piece of music.

Take a moment now to consider whether you make the most of fermata in your piano playing…

As in music, so it is in life.

Just as the expressive power of music depends upon the pace of its delivery and the space allowed for silence to speak between the notes, so too human wellbeing depends on the timing of our activity, the tempo of our thoughts, and the permission that we give ourselves to pause.

We all need to regularly reboot. Just like the misbehaving computer we have to switch ourselves off and, after a short pause, start back up again. We need to empty out the cluttered cache of our minds and allow the kinks of our ever- developing tension to naturally and gently unwind.

And when we forget to do that, things start to go wrong for us. Many of us have experienced significant burnout during the last couple of years for exactly this reason.

The Fermata Series on Pianodao is the outworking of my original vision for this to be a site which positions our piano playing and teaching within the context of our broader lives, incorporating articles that probe the intersection between my expertise as a piano educator and my interest in the natural philosophical wisdom of Daoism and health benefits of qigong practice.

After (ironically) pausing the series I am now rebooting it, believing that it is needed more than ever. Previous fermata posts can be discovered here, and as time allows I will add more, inviting readers to pause and reflect.

Quoting from pianists, poets and philosophers, sharing my own ideas and music, the Fermata Series is returning to Pianodao to encourage wellbeing for every season, and to inspire all our ongoing piano pathways.

Just for now, take a moment to pause.

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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is the author of HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC, published worldwide by Hal Leonard. He is a widely respected piano educator and published composer based on Milton Keynes UK.

4 thoughts on “Fermata • Time to Pause”

  1. I am truly looking forward to your upcoming Fermata Series and the thoughts you will share by others as well as yourself. Your particular writing today exhibits so much insight into the human experience. In the meantime, here is one of my favorites that perhaps you might be familiar with.

    “It is only when we become aware that our time is limited … that we can channel our energy into truly living.” Ludovico Einaudi

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