The First Principles Of Pianoforte Playing

A complete playing tutorial for self learners or school use.

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124                                 ADVICE TO TEACHERS.
required muscular and instrumental operations, the only course was to make the student practise masses of such exercises, in the hope that he might sooner or later stumble upon the correct ways of playing;—hence the legions of "Methods of Studies" extant.1 Such wasteful practice should now be discarded in favour of a relatively small number of such Exercises and Studies, judiciously chosen to exemplify in a concentrated form the principles of Touch involved in the mastery of the various difficulties met with. The purpose being to enable the student to give his whole mind to the conquest of each difficulty in turn—a far better way than if such difficulties were casually presented to him in the course of a musical work. Such Exer­cises and Studies must also be practised for the sake of gain­ing Endurance—a very important item. It cannot however be impressed too strongly upon the student, that his steadfast purpose in practising (not only such Exercises and Studies, but Pieces also) should always be: to learn to apply the laws which he has learned govern Ease and Accuracy in performance, and never to allow this purpose to be lost sight of—nor his practice to deteriorate into a mere automatic sounding of notes.
Indeed, one should never allow a single finger to sound a note, without its musical (and rhythmical) purpose being kept in view,—nor without keeping in sight the laws of technique by which alone success becomes possible.2
Technical-practice, when thus closely directed to the fulfil­ment of these laws at every step, becomes astonishingly fruit­ful, for progress then remains unchecked throughout the prac­tice-hour.
This careful supervision of the Muscular-act must not in the least be relaxed until good habits are well-established; and even then, attention to them is desirable in a measure,— lest we should revert to previous faulty habits.
Meanwhile, the student must be constantly urged to attend
1 Vide the note at the bottom of page 227—" The Act of Touch." 1 Vide remarks as to Musical Attention, further on, under the treatment of children. The same remarks apply to adult-students; only in rare cases have even these any inkling how to look for Musical-shape,—phrase-sense, etc.
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