Entries by Andrew

Commandment #7 Thou Shalt Not Say “Can’t”

This is the most destructive word which can ever be uttered! It is forbidden in my studio for it is a lie. Unless you are missing a finger or a hand, you most certainly can, you just need some help and time. “Can’t” means I quit and accept failure; it is a statement of finality. […]

Rule # 8 Distributed Work

We have all been guilty of trying to cram for a test, or writing a paper the night before it is due. What is the usual outcome? Not good! The human mind needs time to fully absorb new information, neurological pathways take time to form and become stable. Part of becoming a professional musician is […]

Journey Interrupted Update #3

As I waited for my left hand to heal from surgery, I took the opportunity to explore the very limited literature for the right hand alone. There has been very little ever written for just the right hand at the piano. However I did find one interesting nugget. Charles Alkan wrote a series of Etudes […]

Rule #7 The KISS Principle

One of my favorite rules is: Keep It Simple Stupid! I am often guilty of analyzing a passage or even a written performance instruction to death. This also reminds us that simplicity is the beginning of expression. We should project the central idea or line and then all else becomes secondary. Playing too many important […]

Commandment #6 Thou Shalt Concentrate at all Times

Technical facility is only developed with repetition, sometimes massive amounts of repetition. And here lies the problem. It is very easy to let the mind wander far afield as we slug through the 20th or 30th repetition of some passage. On a certain level mechanical facility is only arrived at when conscious control has faded […]

Commandment #5 Thou Shalt Practice Every Day

While this might be self evident to those of us who have made daily practice a life time discipline, we shouldn’t assume everybody shares our understanding of its importance. In the studio of a client of mine there is a poster showing the difference in how long it takes to do 100 hours of practice. […]

Me and Charley Hanon

I, like most pianists, have a long and at times sordid history with Monsieur Hanon. As I begin to rehab my left hand I thought that maybe a return to the simplicity and repetitive nature of Hanon may be just the therapy I needed to restore coordination and strength following the surgery. Going through my […]

Rule #6 Be Mentally Active “How can I Remember That Note?”

I shudder to think about how much time I wasted in my own practice with mindless repetition. I would often play scales and my literature with thoughtless and endless repetition; hoping somehow that I would learn the music and usually through brute effort eventually succeeding. As I got older and busier and the literature I […]

Journey Interrupted Update #2

When I last visited these pages I had just had surgery on my left hand and was experiencing the usual post-operative pain issues. That began to change about the 5th day after my surgery. My hand became increasingly sore and I found the bandages more irritating by the day. At the followup appointment with my […]

Journey Interrupted Update #1

One week ago today I underwent reconstructive surgery on my left thumb. I appreciate all of the prayers and well wishes I have received. I have a pretty substantial cast on my left hand and a pin in my thumb. I will have a cast and pin for another three weeks or so. I have […]