Books that teach technique?

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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haecceitas
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Books that teach technique?

Post by haecceitas » 23 Dec 2010, 15:14

Hello.

I'm a new player, who have experience from other instruments and know basic music theory (can read notation).
I've recently bought a digital piano, and would like to get a proper start (without teacher) regarding technique and fingering.
Classical music is my primary focus, although I don't aim to give any concerts so to speak.

What books can you recommend that would fit my needs?

Thanks in advance! :piano;
Last edited by haecceitas on 01 Jan 2011, 23:29, edited 1 time in total.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Gill the Piano » 23 Dec 2010, 19:33

There's a good book by Geoffrey Tankard about technique with exercises. Can't think of the title but I have a feeling it's something like Pianoforte Technique.
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by joseph » 28 Dec 2010, 12:39

Yes there is the Tankard book, there are also books like Seymour Fink's mastering piano technique. You really need a very good teacher in order to show you how these things work. There is only so much you can get from reading a book. Trust me on this one because I've had a few students come to me after years of reading up on technique and without exception I've had to work hard at resetting their technique from the ground up.

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by haecceitas » 01 Jan 2011, 23:27

Thanks for your book suggestions!
I think I described my needs a little wrong, though.

I just want to know very basic technique and fingering, something that gets me started on the right path. I will get a teacher in a couple of months when I have more money.

So, any recommendations on newbie books that even a child could understand, that give basic advice on technique and fingering? (Such as how to position yourself at piano, how to angle the fingers and what fingers to use on black keys, and so on).

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Gill the Piano » 02 Jan 2011, 16:05

Right, you want a piano tutor book. The easiest one for adults working on their own is The Complete Piano Player by Kenneth Baker. It uses songs you know, doesn't talk down to you and hasn't got fairies dancing all over it. Abba, Elvis, Beatles...songs that, if you make a mistake, you hear it and pick up on it yourself without needing a teacher to point out your error. That said, there's no substitute for a real teacher!
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haecceitas
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by haecceitas » 05 Jan 2011, 14:57

Thank you, it seems like a good book!

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 21 Jan 2011, 02:40

Avoid any tutor books that have the note letters written inside the note heads. Some books also advance too quickly. The best book I use for adults & kids is:
"First Year Piano Lessons" by Marion Harewood & Fanny Waterman. The publishers are Faber. An excellent and instructive book - each chapter deals with a specific technique - e.g. Five finger exercise, then a small piece of music is given similar to the style of the exercise. I would also recommend a teacher aswell who will explain certain rhythms & notation. Its amazing also that many adults & kids can't count to 4, and when quavers are involved - they are counted the same as crotchets.

The book is excellent, and I have used that book to teach for 30 years!
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by samasap » 22 Feb 2011, 15:56

Hanon exercises are good to learn and will help improve your technique.

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Gill the Piano » 24 Feb 2011, 19:34

Noooooooooo!!!! You'll NEVER learn them if they have the note names written in. Bit like a lot of kids can't do mental arithmetic because they rely on calculators.
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by chrisg » 16 Mar 2011, 06:35

Gill the Piano wrote:Noooooooooo!!!! You'll NEVER learn them if they have the note names written in. Bit like a lot of kids can't do mental arithmetic because they rely on calculators.
AGREE! Remember, it's not difficult to learn 12 notes, they just repeat themselves. Whatever happened to creating phrases with the words which helps - Every Good Boy Desrves Football, FACE, etc

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Gill the Piano » 16 Mar 2011, 19:01

I told a customer that All Cows Eat Grass in the left hand and Face is in the Spaces in the right; I swear I saw a lightbulb come on over her head, bless her!
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Mar 2011, 10:41

There are also some handy rhymes to learn your 'major' key signature sequences - not shown in any book, but devised by teachers.... things like this....

The 'sharp' keys....

Go Down And Enter By F(#)orce
1 2 3 4 5 6

Each word's initial letter eg 'G' from Go = G major
Then D major, A major.... etc
This tells you the number of sharps in a key signature - simply say the rhyme, and count with your fingers as you say each word.

Handy also for learning scales...... so B major (By) has 5 sharps.

Then to remember the sharps in sequence......

F#ather C#hristmas G#ets D#runk A#nd E#ats B#uns !!

or Father Christmas Gave David An Empty Box

So for eg... A major = 3 sharps = F# C# G#

(Doesn't work for the minors!)

Anyone find this useful?
I also have a great rhyme for remembering the 'Flats' - but one at a time!
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Gill the Piano » 17 Mar 2011, 19:34

For the flats you can just do your sharps rhyme backwards....I was taught' Fat#er C#ristmas Goes Down An Escalator Backwards. My friends uses Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle. So the flats are Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father.
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 18 Mar 2011, 01:56

For the flats, I was taught Flats B(b)ecome Easy After Direct Guidance (for the number of flats) - then yeh, just say the other rhyme backwards, or sometimes (for up to Grade 4 theory) - I just told them to think of BEAD for key sigs.

Sure there are many more rhymes!
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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by psylocke24 » 22 Mar 2011, 03:40

When I was starting to learn piano I never used any books, I only search here in the internet. You will find many articles about piano tutorials in the internet and some of them is also sharing some chords where you can play the basics.

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Sharma » 23 Mar 2011, 14:39

This one is free but has some really fantastic insight into practicing the piano, technique and more http://www.pianofundamentals.com/book The fundamentals of piano practice by C. C. Chang.
Keynote Sounds - Piano Lessons North London
now free video lessons and advice at the Keynote Sounds Blog

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Re: Books that teach technique?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 Mar 2011, 02:29

Sharma

Please don't forget that with all the will in the world, books can only 'show' you a certain technique that matches a particular tune or exercise - they cannot 'teach' you technique. Some books clearly show you the basic hand/wrist & finger position using a picture at the beginning of a book.... then you never see that picture again. Many self-taught pianists use the wrong fingers, play with a poor deportment, wrist too low, thumb hanging off the keyboard - and playing with flat fingers, and the little finger furiously stuck up in the air!! These will need the odd REAL piano lesson - so you don't start with bad habits.

Then there is the art of "legato" - playing all notes smoothly, joining each sound without an intervening pause/ gap between notes, nor overlapping sounds or smudging one note into another!.... again, these words & techniques may be mentioned in a book, but they don't actually 'teach' you.

Finally (but my no means exhaustive!!) - there is the counting/ rhythm aspect of music. Crotchets are fairly easy to grasp.... 1 2 3 4 etc, but then when minims, dotted minims, semibreves (and eventually quavers) are involved, there are so many that can't count!! by that I mean count evenly & steadily/ slowly.... and without involving "pear-shaped" rhythms, cutting notes short of their full value, and then being able to actually hold the last note down for say, 4 beats.
Do you know when to let go of the last note if its a semibreve? 1 2 3 4 ??

Again, this does not tell you in any book - to some its obvious, but can you tell me what 'counting number' would you eventually let go of this semibreve??

(PS - no help please from Gill or markymark!!)
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