What's the most important practicing goal? Ask Beethoven!
Leave this field empty
Monday, July 17, 2017
By Joseph E Line
Pin It

One of my favorite quotes about practicing and performance - believed to be from Beethoven - is “Missing a note is unimportant; playing without passion is inexcusable.”

To me and to my students, it doesn’t matter if we are practicing piano or playing in a recital, the most important goal is always the same: to make music – to create something beautiful.


Let me explain.

Every measure and phrase in a piece of music contains something of real beauty that can be discovered if the student understands that THAT is the most important goal they should seek. Even something as small as a measure contains a glimpse of something beautiful – some interesting emotion or idea to be discovered.

But if the student is only looking to play the notes, rhythms or fingerings correctly, if they live only by the “practice makes perfect” slogan, then the joy of practicing will be lost and the only emotion they are likely to create is boredom.

I tell my students “Master something every day. Whether it is one measure or 20 … master it. And if you stay long enough with that passage of music - going beyond the notes, rhythms and fingerings - the beauty of the music will begin to emerge naturally. “

I confess that I’ve missed thousands of notes in recitals and other types of performances throughout my career as a pianist and organist. What professional musician hasn’t? But I have never missed an opportunity to play with passion. 


I invite you to read my MUSICAL MONDAYS blog every week and share it with your friends. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

You and your children can study with me in person if you live in the Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Parkland and Ft. Lauderdale areas of South Florida. Students age 12 and older can also take live interactive lessons with me over the internet from anywhere in the US.

Contact me directly at 954-298-5014


Leave a comment: