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How to make Mozart's pieces sound good on piano

Mizue Murakami

Young Mozart at a piano

Piano compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the classical era are really challenging, more so than other composers' pieces in some ways. The scores look easy. It sounds easy when you hear someone playing his compositions. Often, a section repeats a lot in different keys or the same key. So, why is it so hard to make his pieces sound good? 

When you play his pieces, you can't disguise your skill by anything. These are why:

  • You can't hide behind something (notes, pedal, dynamics)
  • His piano compositions are so delicate and precise and need to be precise.
  • Every single beat needs to be right on!
  • You can't use much damper pedaling as the romantic composers' pieces.
  • You also can't use too much rubato as some impressionist composers allow.

All these mean that your playing must be so honest and naked. Any small unevenness or the failed attempt will show so obviously. If you don't believe what I'm saying, you can play and record one of Mozart's compositions. And listen to your playing objectively. 

So, what can you do to improve your skill for Mozart's piano compositions? Unfortunately, there is no short cut. But I can suggest 6 things here: 

  • Regularly do your exercises to develop your muscle strength and independence. All 5 fingers should be equally strong and independent to play Mozart's pieces. 
  • Watch your energy level during your daily practice and learn your own energy level and control and preserve your energy so that you don't burn too much energy unnecessarily. Eventually, you will develop stamina and endurance as well, which is necessary for playing long pieces by Mozart. 
  • Make sure to warm up properly. There is no way you can play Mozart pieces nicely when you are not warmed up. 
  • Mozart's piano pieces have a lot of runs. Therefore, practicing scales is helpful. 
  • Learn suggested fingering or come up with your own fingering (if they are good ones) and stick to the ones that you decided to use. 
  • You should be alert but completely relaxed. If you are tensed even just a little, you are not going to be able to play his pieces nicely and effortlessly. But if you follow 5 items above, they will help you and support you to play more relaxed. 

Of course, these suggestions above apply to any pieces that you want to play. But if you want to play Mozart's pieces nicely, you really need to "bootstrap." You may think "bootstrap" doesn't sound like an appropriate word for Mozart's pieces. A lot of his compositions are considered "pretty" or "delicate." They don't sound powerful like some of Rachmaninoff's pieces or Tchaikovsky's pieces. However, any of your small shortfall on Mozart's pieces will show out of proportion a lot more so than other composers' pieces. So, keep practicing wisely.

We have piano sheet music by Mozart at multi-levels. Please check our Mozart's collection page. 

To learn scales, download our free exercises below: 

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