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The Piano Zone

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Start with numbers, then read music

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THE PIANO ZONE

If one could describe the feeling inside a concert pianist's hands, it would The Piano Zone. Perfectly limber and loose and prepared for anything for any length of time.

If you're trying to play the great romantic composers, you'll need every bit of strength your fingers can muster.

Without strength and endurance, you may be able to scale one difficult passage. But what about the next impossible passage, and the next one?

Some piano pieces are like rock climbing. You climb up a difficult face only to find an even more hair-raising one just ahead. Finish that and you think you get to rest? No, there's the biggest difficulty of all just coming up. Over and over comes that scenario on the page.

Multiply that scenario times a thousand and you have the difficulties of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, or the Liszt B Minor Sonata. Even to make it through a piece like that is a badge of courage.

More than courage, it will take strength. In fact, courage will not really do you any good unless you have the strength.

Many passages that young pianists think impossible simply demand superhuman wrists and fingers.

In one sense the old pianist's saying that you may as well stay home without complete technical command of the piano are basically true. It is wrong in the sense that you also have to be a poet, that strength and fingers put to no poetic end are useless.

The Piano Zone is where your fingers are completely warmed up. For me, this takes 45 minutes. At the age of 18, it took 5.

The more you play, the shorter this period becomes. Miss a day of playing and it takes several days to get it back to where it was.

And one warning about computer use and serious piano playing ambitions: they don't mix.

That's right, the fourth and fifth fingers of the right hand have to be curved under and contorted to use a computer mouse, and this seriously weakens these fingers. I discovered this by bitter experience, and had to forego editing certain types of computer formats to save my fingers.

This computer-mouse-piano burnout can be overcome by simply not using the mouse. I retrained myself to use the mouse with my left hand. Playing lots of finger exercises to re-awaken those two fingers will help as well. But be warned.

After finger strength, you have to cultivate mind strength, to be able to remember not only the music, but the plan of the music, the whole rather than the parts. The poem, not the words.

But to control the music, you have to be in command of it, and to command it you must not be worried about being physically able to produce it.

Either you play the piano, or it plays you.

Ultimately, the two things must be blended together to produce a fine piano performance.

Strength and poetry.

By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved

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THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Click here to view PIANO IS EASYClick here to view I CAN READ MUSICClick here to view THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER

Click here to view THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KITClick here to view TEACH YOURSELF PIANOClick here to view EASY CLASSICAL PIANO

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Picture of Brahms playing piano.THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: ALL 6 BASIC  BOOKS  

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THE COMPLETE BOOK PACKAGE: 

1. 107 page illustrated THE CHRISTMAS CAROL KIT Book with 44 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers   

2. 120 page illustrated PIANO IS EASY Book with 50 songs, Play Along Audio CD, and removable stickers 

3. 50 page I CAN READ MUSIC Book 

4. 132 page TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP Book, 56 minute DVD Video and removable stickers 

5. 141 page THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER Book with 130 songs, and removable stickers 

6. 88 page EASY CLASSICAL PIANO BY NUMBER Book with 10 songs, and removable stickers, and 29 minute Play Along Audio CD 

6 BOOKS, DVD AND 3 PLAY ALONG AUDIO CDS 

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