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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, practical advice from an experienced teacher
I found new, usable information in this book, despite having studied the piano with several renowned teachers, over nearly three decades. The author integrates just enough up-to-date information on how our nervous systems process and learn new pieces and how best to learn complex passages. He includes several apposite quotations from leading pianists and teachers,...
Published on 22 Dec 2002 by Gazdoc

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars General hints and tips on piano playing
I bought this book in the hope that it would do just as the title promises.

There is a lot of useful and sound advice and tips about how to correct mistakes when playing a piece, how to approach a new piece, how to practise the correct way to get the best out of a session, pedalling and having the correct touch and tone when playing and the importance of...
Published 17 months ago by Celia B


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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, practical advice from an experienced teacher, 22 Dec 2002
By 
Gazdoc (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
I found new, usable information in this book, despite having studied the piano with several renowned teachers, over nearly three decades. The author integrates just enough up-to-date information on how our nervous systems process and learn new pieces and how best to learn complex passages. He includes several apposite quotations from leading pianists and teachers, without overloading the text with show-off passages. There are no fireworks in this book!
Starting with the basics of piano action Dr Meffen explains how we can use its features to our advantage. There is a good section on practice methods with the pithy comment: "Amateurs practice until they can get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong.".
The advice on fingering, tone control, phrasing and learning a new piece is common sense for some, but I think that the majority of readers will find something novel here to benefit their pianism. I am just on my third read through now!
The only disappointment for me was the lack of any mention of sight-reading, but this is a short, focussed book, rather than a long, comprehensive text.
In summary, look elsewhere if you want a gushing, idiosyncratic luvvy text; this is down-to-earth stuff that will simply translate into better playing...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 20 Oct 2010
By 
M. D. Morgan "cruiser" (Tintagel) - See all my reviews
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Dr Meffen has written a valuable book for both aspiring and accomplished pianists. He has successfully managed to convey some difficult concepts concisely and lucidly. I've read many self-help books related to pianism but this is the only one to have earned a permanent place on my music stand.
Please ignore the unhelpful two-star nonsense written by the contributor from Portugal.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impove Your Piano Playing - Dr Meffen, 6 Sep 2005
By 
Stevee (Romford, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This is by far the most interesting and illuminating book I have read on this subject.The approach is from a new angle (i.e. how the brain works when learning), but in a clear and understandable way, devoid of technical jargon .
I would recommend this book to anyone intending to or in the process of learning (the piano or any musical instrument). It would also be of interest to teachers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful, 18 Jun 2011
This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
Has it improved my piano playing? Definitely. The chapters on correcting mistakes and learning a new piece were the most useful to me, but I learnt a thing or two from the others as well. The ways the book outlines on how to improve take a lot of patience, but they do pay off.

Am I enjoying it more? Yes, now that I know what I am doing better.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their piano playing, but it would probably be most useful to people who don't have lessons (like me).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well worthwhile, 19 Mar 2009
By 
Robertson (Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
A book that distils the essence of many other books clearly and and concisely. Particularly good in relation to touch and learning a new piece.Sight reading and playing from memory are not mentioned but what it does cover is useful and helpful. No suggestions for further reading are listed which is a pity but overall it contains more detail than its limited size might indicate.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All applause for Dr. Meffen!, 7 July 2006
Dr. Meffen's book on piano playing is one of the best I have ever read. He goes straight to the heart of learning how to play piano music which is brain work. Music teachers out there, please take note of Dr. Meffen's advice! A pity all piano teachers do not use his method which is sound, commonsense, practical advice. How many teachers waste valuable time by not using this method? Most teachers say ''go home and practice'' however, the how and the why are always left out. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in their musical improvement. Thank you Dr. Meffen for your advice and honesty!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars General hints and tips on piano playing, 26 Feb 2013
This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
I bought this book in the hope that it would do just as the title promises.

There is a lot of useful and sound advice and tips about how to correct mistakes when playing a piece, how to approach a new piece, how to practise the correct way to get the best out of a session, pedalling and having the correct touch and tone when playing and the importance of pencilling in the correct fingering on a piece (which I am particularly lazy at!).

Generally speaking, the book is good at covering each topic in great depth and details how each of these can be achieved. I would have preferred some more illustrations or even an accompanying DVD. You cannot however rely on the book alone to help you improve piano playing. What is in the book is what most piano tutors will tell you anyway if you are taking lessons and I dare say, my own tutor will probably disagree with some of Dr Meffen's advice! This book also lacks covering on the music theory side and doesn't cover the importance of practising technical exercises, scales and arpeggios.

I say this as a former self learner/teacher which was when I bought this book. No matter how much motivation you have and unless you are exceptional like Mozart, no book can take the place of a living and breathing piano tutor who (if they are worth their fees) will tell you whether or not you are playing correctly, with the correct fingering, correct technique and so on. There is only so much you can achieve by teaching yourself with a book.

That said, it's not a bad book as I have mentioned before that what is in here is just what he would tell his students as a competent and experienced tutor. But it is certainly not going to improve your piano playing overnight if that is what you're after as it is essential to get someone to check that you are improving!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting reading, 26 Mar 2010
By 
Leopoldo Farias (Caracas, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
It is not a simple task to attempt to explain in plain words how to practice to avoid mistakes and how to reveal the "aural image" of the piece being played. Several chapters were literally indecipherable for me, for I am completely naive in the realm of music. However difficult this reading was for me, there are two chapters: 3. Methods of Preventing and Correcting Mistakes and 9. Learning a new piece that justify buying the book. They are very useful for the piano player and also they are beautifully written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and useful, 18 Feb 2014
By 
Arne Gunnarsjaa (Trondheim, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
Having practised piano playing for many years, I find this book very useful. It surely helped me! Can be recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars improve your piano playing, 23 Jun 2013
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billinwales (Flintshire,North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Improve Your Piano Playing (Paperback)
this book was not what I expected it is well written but to be used as a guide it does not give any pieces to practice to help you improve or any proper guidance in illustration .sorry I would recommend this book
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Improve Your Piano Playing by Dr John Meffen (Paperback - 30 Oct 2008)
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