How to Teach Musical Phrasing

What is musical phrasing? It is a mysterious and elusive concept even for experienced musicians to explain.

Musical phrasing is essentially about grouping notes in performance to make the music more meaningful and enjoyable for the audience. Notes within phrases can grouped and interpreted in a myriad ways, with different kinds of connections and articulations, dynamics, weights, colours, styles, variations in speed and phrase rhythm – all to give listeners a clearer musical experience.

Stephanie Novacek

Stephanie Novacek, mezzo-soprano

Violinists (and other instrumentalists) commonly draw on analogies and similarities with language, such as sentences, lyrics, poetry and punctuation; or with visual terms like expressive shaping.

These allusions are very useful for understanding phrasing, especially when combined with listening to the music and above all, playing it for yourself.

Even very young students understand and appreciate phrases quite well and benefit musically from studying how to play them.

How to Teach Musical Phrasing

Breathing Life into the Music

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