WHAT EVERY PIANIST NEEDS TO KN Paperback – 1 Apr 2004
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Techniques on how to gain greater fluidity of movement while playing to improve the quality of the experience are offered in this manual for serious piano players. This book encourages musicians to develop a broader understanding of the involvement of the entire body in playing -- and the strains playing places on the body -- by focusing on body mapping to increase awareness of the body's function, size, and structure. Ways in which piano, organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and digital keyboard players can eliminate or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other debilitating conditions without traditional medical treatments are also explored.
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Top Customer Reviews
The best thing about it is the intelligent approach it takes based on understanding how the body actually works. It's not a polemical, 'how-to' book, although it does make some actual recommendations.
It's a must-read for any pianist with aches and pains (I guess that will mean all of us).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have found that after studying this material and making these concepts my own, I have been able to communicate and demonstrate these ideas to my students, regardless of their age or level. It has revolutionized my teaching and playing, and the playing of my students as well.
This book is so well researched and written it should come with a satisfaction guarantee. It's just that good!
Learning the practical human anatomy involved in playing my instrument has made movement easier and more enjoyable. I spent many years as a music major feeling extremely limited in my technique (especially my finger technique). Practicing Taffanel Gaubert finger exercises for an hour each day was doing nothing for me except causing a lot of emotional and physical pain. This book showed me how to use my fingers, and whole arm structure, in a more mechanically advantageous way. My scales, or any technical passage that I might encounter in a piece of literature, are faster, more even, and sooooo much easier to play.
The information from this book also made my required group piano class at the University of Northern Iowa a lot easier to get through:) I can't imagine being a piano major or professor and not having this knowledge. The information in this book is what every piano professor needs to be teaching in piano pedagogy. This information needs to become standard knowledge for all musicians--especially those who intend to make music as a living.
I cannot say enough about this book. If you're frustrated with your technical abilities, if you play in pain, if you want to be a responsible teacher....buy this book.
My goal as a teacher of adolescent string players is to prevent performance injuries in my students before they ever happen. Too often, students quit playing because "something hurts." By having a clear idea of how the body works as a structure, how bones and joints are designed to move and how they are NOT designed to move, teachers can offer their students an opportunity to learn to play pain-free forever. I wish for my students to develop a life-long love of their own performance, whether they choose to be professional musicians or amateurs in a local community orchestra or string quartet. This book enables me to understand my own structure and, in turn, to offer that information to my students.
While the original book on which this work is based, Barbara Conable's "What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body," may be more user-friendly for kinesthetic learners, especially younger students, thanks to its clear graphics and limited text, older students and teachers may find the Mark book more appropriate with its indepth explanations of experiential anatomy. I refer to both books frequently in my day-to-day teaching.
I got interested in this book because an acquaintance of mine has been traveling to Portland for lessons and workshops with Mr. Mark, and the resulting improvement in my friend's piano playing has been striking.
I was able to make several improvements in my own approach to the piano almost immediately, based only on Mr. Mark's presentation in this book, which is both clear and detailed (the book is also attractively bound and well laid out.). I also learned a bit about the Alexander approach.
This is not a book on piano technique, but there is valuable technical information here, and the anatomical information Mark provides is directly relevant to technique. I expect it will help one learn any technique that is soundly based on anatomy. I followed this book with Barbara Lister-Sink's video on piano technique, Freeing the Caged Bird, and I found that the two approaches go together beautifully (Lister-Sink apparently also has an background in Alexander work).
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