Fermata Series

Fermata • Time to Pause

Our Piano Journey in its Living Context
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 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 our personal 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 in recent years for exactly this reason.

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.