Listen to this!

In many places Autumn is the most beautiful season, with colourful leaves creating a kaleidoscope of whirling reds, yellows, rusts, and orange-browns, each with its own changing nuance as the days and weather shift. Nuance itself is a delicate word, implying subtlety and fine distinctions. And attention to playing with nuance can begin early. Yes, it’s a matter of touch and technique, but listening is a key component. And discovering that learning to use the pedal is learning to listen expands a student’s ability to play with artistry. Colourful dynamic effects involving sensitive use of the pedal are at the heart of Autumn Colours in Level 2B Technique & Artistry. Two arpeggiated chords create a reflective shimmer, not unlike sunlight reflecting off falling leaves. The soft echo chord must be heard, not lost in the ringing resonance. So, at the point of the pedal change a decision must be made. “Let your ear be your guide,” is Dr. Faber’s advice. “Experiment.” For most students playing at this level using the pedal is still a thrill. And the resonance created by pedal effects is special to the piano. All the more reason to encourage the interdependence between the ear and the foot.