The Virtuoso Pianist Piano. Dohnanyi just takes these problems to the next level — kicks it up a notch so to speak. Czerny and Chopin balanced that. However, this book is cumbersome because of the multitude of exercises that help bring this dream to a reality. Do they have any musical value?
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Standard A few months ago, while excavating long-unseen boxes in the garage of doom , I found a book of piano exercises I forgot I even had. I suspect I bought it at the suggestion of my piano teacher at Duquesne University in , shortly before I transferred to a different school. I have vague memories of trying the first few exercises and being totally incapable of playing them.
The author, a Hungarian composer and conductor, was also a noted pianist, and became a United States citizen in I spent my childhood working through the books of Schmitt and Hanon. Everything else—even Czerny, is superfluous; it does not contain anything of essential importance which might not be acquired through finger-exercises, or by conscientious practicing of appropriate passages of pieces.
Funny, I found those exercises easy to memorize, due to their repetitive nature. For example, No. Schmitt also has exercises like this one. I used to teach elementary general music, and as a way to introduce music of other cultures and explore it more physically, I also taught my students folk dances.
The fifth and sixth grade boys were less enthusiastic until one bragged he could do the grapevine step used extensively in Greek dances very fast, and proceeded to demonstrate. If you can move like that, you have greater flexibility to evade those who want to tackle you. When I returned to folk dancing about eight years ago after a year hiatus since college , I felt as though I had two left feet. Each dance session overwhelmed me; there was so much to learn, and it was all so hard to remember.
Every time I returned, I felt like I was starting all over again. But after several years of regular practice, I began to feel competent. Until a few weeks ago.
Playing an instrument is also a physical task that involves harnessing brain impulses. When we struggle to learn a challenging piano exercise, we are literally exercising the portions of the brain that transmit instructions to the specific muscles whose actions are required. We are training the brain as we train our fingers, increasing our fine motor skills, enabling the necessary coordination between the mind and the fingers that translate the notes on the page into the desired sound.
The payoff for perseverance is that when we encounter a similar passage in a repertoire piece, we have a facility for mastering it. I was happy to discover that other pianists find this book challenging. Check out this forum on Piano World. What about you? What do you think about them?
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