Monday, June 29, 2009

The Craft of Piano Playing

As I am not in a position to engage a teacher at this time and acknowledging the importance of a sound technique, I ordered this wonderful treatise by Alan Fraser.
Having read some considerable part of the book, interestingly, it seems my years spent developing a sound technique for playing the classical guitar, has equipped me well to intuitively understand some of what is required of the relationship of the fingers, hands and arms for piano playing.
So I think I am on track and am looking forward to applying more of the information that is so clearly explained through the use of the most wonderful drawings. I am also keen to get my hands on Heinrich Neuhaus's The Art of Piano Playing.
I am now into the second grade book of the John Thompson Modern piano course (a quantum leap form the first, I may say)and have started the process of learning and playing the scales and arpeggios in all keys now that I have a better understanding of the techniques required to play them. I plan to regularly go back to the first grade John Thompson book to reinforce what I have learnt.


  1. Hello,
    First of all thank you for your blog entry, I have found it quite useful.
    It is quite a lot time passed since your entry, could you elaborate your experience with the books you mentioned? Thank you.

  2. Hi Krisztian

    My pleasure. Since I posted this back in 2009 I have had a year of piano lessons with a good piano teacher who has added to significantly and reinforced a lot of what I had learnt through teaching myself. The main issues that he addressed were:

    1. Playing too loudly as I had only had a digital piano to practise on. Apparently, this is a common trait and I have now addressed it by purchasing a Yamaha U3 The U3 has made all the difference and I am a far better player now that I have played it for a year.
    2. Forcing myself to play softly has made me far more aware of the role of the wrists in the production of good tone and facility. IE I have learnt to keep them soft and if I am not playing well it is usually because some tension has crept in.
    3. Having learnt the benefits of soft wrists, I am now working on the role of the forearm in the production of tone and facility having recently discovered a great video by Edna Golandsky. The one she does on arpeggio playing is also very instructive.
    4. In terms of books I am using now, I am mainly working on Bach's Inventions and the easier Preludes and Fugues from both of the WTC books.
    5. Another important part of my practise is a minimum of 10 minutes sight reading everyday which I do in the evening and is something I really look forward to and always do even if I am feeling to tired to do so.