The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

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various touch methods must be at once proceeded with. Where to begin in this respect must entirely depend on the state of each particular pupil's Technique at the time; the most obvious faults being first taken in hand.1
These practical lessons in Touch should largely consist of explanations of the pupil's particular difficulties as to Key-treatment,—muscular, instrumental, or both. Understanding these difficulties, he will then be in a position to start forming and enforcing the particular muscular-habits which will lead to correct Key-treatment, and will be able to master each dif­ficulty in turn,—be it of Agility, Tone, or Duration.
Exercises, Studies, and Pieces best suited to the pupil's stage of advancement, should be selected for this purpose; these selections should contain examples of the particular technical difficulties forming the pupil's weakest points at the moment.2
His deficiencies being thus brought home to him, one at a time, he will be only too ready to listen when the teacher points out how these can be directly overcome, by strict adherence to the particular laws of Touch concerned; the teacher taking care to urge the necessity of unremitting attention to these laws note by note, during every moment of Practice, until correct habits are formed; and how non-attention to these laws will cause the Practice-hour to be wasted,—by forming wrong and undesirable habits in place of the right ones.
The student's attention should meanwhile be directed to the particular paragraphs bearing on his difficulties, found in the present little work, under "Directions for Learners" and in the "Extract"; and, if he be sufficiently earnest and intel­ligent, to the further study of the matter in "The Act of Touch"
1 Further remarks on this subject—the Order in which to study the various touch-methods—are to be found in The Act of Touch: Note xi, Appendix of Part III., from the seventh paragraph onwards ; also §28, Chapter XIX.; § 18, Chapter XX.; and concluding chapter of Part IV., page 320.
2  Thus, if the pupil is deficient as regards " singing " touch, a more or less easy Nocturne must be given him; while if his passage-work is faulty, we must choose a Study, Toccata, or Sonata requiring such touches, and give him Techniques besides," which include his particular difficulties. The teacher must of course insist on attention to every note; only by this means,—and sufficiently slow practice therefore,—can the learner hope to combat old-standing habits.
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