PIANO TECHNIQUE REVIEWS

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Seymour Fink: Mastering Piano Technique





Seymour Fink has written a thorough and highly useful book taking the pianist through preparatory exercises both away from and at the piano, to get all the muscles needed in piano playing working in a coordinated, effective way. The exercises succeed in stimulating vital activity of the main piano playing muscles, enhancing the smooth easy execution of rotation, leaping and many other movements commonly done at the keyboard.

 

Fink tells the reader/viewer to do the beginning exercises away from the piano. This has the positive, intended effect of helping students to free themselves from their habitual movement habits and develop fresh, effective, new ones. However, this does make it more difficult to integrate the newly learned movement patterns to related passages in the repertoire. The exercises Fink presents are insightful, effective and relevant, and he eventually does always links physical action to musical result. However at certain points the link is not particularly strong and so the exercises tend to take on a sometimes slightly theoretical or at other times athletic character. Book and film are designed to be used together: I found the film especially helpful: seeing the exercises on screen proved a greater stimulation to my immediately doing them and understanding just how to do them.  

The Potent 5th Finger and the Overall Geometric Design of the Human Hand

There is a fascinating film kicking around the Feldenkrais community showing babies learning to sit up, crawl, stand and walk. It is fascinating to see their amazingly plastic, malleable bodies suddenly find the angle between two bones that allows leverage leading to a new locomotive ability. The angles are always right angles: it is visually palpable, the limbs locking in to a 90 degree angle and whoops, up the bottom comes or up the torso comes...

Seymour Fink demonstrates the pianistic equivalent beautifully in Section 12B of Mastering Piano Technique. He pulls on his fifth finger and the whole hand comes up into a standing position where you can feel the potency of its right angled structure.

Fink has attempted to cover all the main movements in piano playing and to provide the student with a really comprehensive regime for developing one’s technique. However, he has also said that it is Mastering Piano Technique in tandem with Alan Fraser’s The Craft of Piano Playing that presents a truly global view of piano technique.

 

Buy at http://www.seymourfink.com/

 

Price/Value Quotient

Book $24.95
DVD $29.95  
Book/DVD Combo $49.95              Excellent value for money

Piano Technique Reviews is a division of Piano Technique.net, a site owned and operated by Maple Grove Music Productions, the company devoted to developing the pedagogical materials - books, DVD's, online video lessons and live piano institutes - associated with Canadian pianist Alan Fraser's Craft of Piano Method.