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 things makes for a cacophonous mess, or is simply a case of lazy playing. Think about the single most important element and make sure that is clear first.

Many editors also will suggest elaborate fingering schemes which add unnecessary layers of difficulty to otherwise simple passages. I am not nearly smart enough to remember all of this fancy finger dancing so I always choose simple, easy to remember fingering patterns.

Andrew Remillard


2 replies
  1. Robert James (Bob) Seeley
    Robert James (Bob) Seeley says:

    I have enjoyed your KISS advice about practice. Sadly, I have no recollection of any Hanon or Czerney experience; I imagine one of my unfortunate graduate assistant instructors offered one or two pages as part of passing the piano barriers (aptly named) for non-majors and voice majors (not considered musicians).

    I hope your precious left hand is healing. I think of the magnificent left hand part in Schubert’s Impromptu in Gb. I’ll bet you have played it–and well. I am having a music appreciation experience with it–hands separately, at a metronome marking equal to my bowling scores (as I recall).

    Glad I found your site.

    Would love to see and hear the ivory Adam Schaaf grand.

    Interesting Schaaf anecdote: When they opened their newly-built facility on Wabash–Piano Row–in Chicago, 1917, they engaged Al Jolson and his troup (Columbia Records) to perform a review of the extravaganza “Robinson Crusoe, Jr” currently playing on tour at the Herrick Theatre–in their new showroom. The women in the troup danced with the patrons and sold them records after the show. The Schaaf company had the financial resources, audacity, and know-how to publicize their product to great financial success.

    • andrew0313
      andrew0313 says:


      I am not sure you missed much if you mannaged to avoid our friends Hanon or Czerny. And vocalists are most certainly musicians (at least those who learn to count!).

      I will be posting an update about my hand in a day or two.

      The Schaff is an interesting creature. It is clearly a well made piano, though, there are many Schaffs from just a decade or two after this one which are much more poorly made. I have enjoyed your information about the Schaff company, it is one I have not spent much time learning about. You have prompted me though to dig a bit. Despite this piano’s age it is in remarkably servicable condition and could actually be played at least for a few more years before it needs to be rebuilt.


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