Pianist to Pianist

A collection of pianistic, pedagogical, methodical, musical, artistic, and cultural contemplations, concepts, observations, and concerns, from pianist to pianist, pedagogue to pedagogue, musician to musician and from a curious and critical observer.

In every solar system in the galaxy is a range around the sun within which the ideal distance and trajectory for a life sustaining environment is provided. Astronomers and astrobiologists term that range the Habitat- or Life Zone, colloquially the "Goldilocks Zone", the "just right" distance from the sun. Not surprisingly our planet is in the Goldilocks Zone around our star - 2% further out and global glaciation would envelop the planet.

"Um die erforderliche Bindung zu erzielen, hebt sich der Finger nicht eher von der ersten Note jeder Gruppe, bis die vierte Note anzuschlagen ist."

"In order to achieve the necessary connection, the finger shall not lift off the first note of each group until the fourth note is to be played."

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Why do you think your right hand is superior to the left? It spent at least twice the time actually playing the piano due to the amount of key depressions, complexity of patterns, ornamentation &cetera. Imagine practicing your left hand twice the time in the next...

When engaging in Holding Exercises, it is imperative to 'plant' or 'ground' the fingers supporting arm weight into the keybed and engage the other finger(s) from within the hand (lumbricalis) independently and without the involvement of arm weight, not to claw with five fingers at the keyboard and lift against resistance. Proper Holding Exercises are executed analogous to standing on one leg and tap-dancing with the other. Two different mechanisms are at work at once:
The pillar and the caterpillar – finger(s) supporting arm weight and finger(s) moving independently. Not – fingers working against each other’s tension.

The objective of Holding Exercises is not 'holding' but support, relaxation, and controlled finger movement. And it is not isolation we seek from the fingers, but independence. Let's re-name Holding – with Maulstick Exercises.

The development and principles of Piano Technique must be comprehensive and teachable through two approaches: An analytical and systematic method, starting with arm weight and finger independence on five-finger-patterns, scales and arpeggios; followed by simple studies, and only then études and more advanced teachnical repertoire. Think...

Gould erred in his prediction about the demise of live performances though he was right about the advent and domination of the recorded media. He did not foresee MTV and MP3, though, alas his predictions would perhaps have been less enthusiastic; and if he knew about the best-laid schemes of John Q. Walker's Zenph Studios, he might have - flattered - reconsidered.

The Oral Tradition, the ancient art of transmitting historical and mythological information in spoken word with a corporal presence in front of a crowd, is the foundation of the continuous desire for live performances. Art is a multifaceted phenomenon and a metaphysical need of individuals and civilizations. The Epic and the Tragedy are but some of the manifestations of high art; Drama, Sculpture, Painting, and Music from Orpheus to Orff and from Marsyas to Messiaen are others; they all have a systemic imperative of material manifestation, a physical performance.

The classical music world hurts for appropriate, responsible, intelligent, and critical mass commentary. Music critics should contribute to a secondary and informed memory in the minds of the audience, as well as formulate an expectation to future listeners.

Information about an event given to us by witnesses (e.g. music critics) can eventually override the memory of our actual experience. It is thus critical to receive an educated and sincere opinion, which should also serve as a foundation for future experiences.