The Way of The Pianist


To You, dear student, in your sincere search for perfection.
Throughout this book, I will be treating you as a great friend and offer these thoughts, discoveries, ideologies and scientific analyses to simply plant seeds in the fertile soil of your creative personality, only with your permission however.

In no respect would I want you to be tied down by any hard and fast rules, or a dogmatic, unfeeling approach, quite to the contrary.
We share a great love for that most challenging of musical instruments, so magnificent in its tonal capacity, so singularly satisfying and fulfilling in its broad outreaching ability to portray, in the hands of a solo performer, such a complete repertoire of musical nuance, style and integrity.

The Pianoforte.

The very name of the instrument and the colours of its keys hint strongly, and immediately of contrast, one of the facets we shall cover as the book unfolds.
All, saving the very young early learners, will hopefully be able to glean at least some helpful tips, and perhaps a glimpse into what I refer to as the Science of Piano Playing.

Firstly, however, before we set off on our journey together, a word or two about expectation.
Simply put, an old and very wise phrase, that applies to all walks of life, and all areas of study, and although it may dismay and repel the faint-hearted, there is a great realism within, and also the power to stir up the courage.

"If Perfection were obtainable, it wouldn't be worth having."

There . . . can we face that together and continue with our sights readjusted?

Excellent, at least we'll avoid the pitfall of too much self satisfaction (of course a gentle glow of pride is always allowed, as long as we share it all with The True Source of Everything) and we can always remind ourselves of the Infinite challenge we have set ourselves, and maybe get a sense of pace to our study.
Balance, not too hard on yourself, and not too soft.
Enjoy both with equality.

Okay, I'm going to demolish the rationality in the above, and open ourselves up to a different point of view, a different and much more inspiring perspective.

Perfection, in the relative sense, ie. from the conventional, value judgement sense, is perhaps never attainable, because, quite simply, our mortal points of view could never conceive of Perfection.
So, perfection is not going to even lie in the arena of perception.
Let's try looking somewhere else, at that which we are EXPERIENCING, when entirely untouched by our judgmental, conceptual view.
What we will find is something in the order of the miraculous.
Incredulous, almost un-believable, were it not unfolding, around us and about us, within us and without us.
Simply to touch any part of this with our awareness, light as a feather, will surely bring us to experience Perfection of this different order.
The ineffable, unspeakable Perfection of Truth.

So let us re-affirm our goal. We wish to travel on the road to Perfection, experiencing as much of that Perfection on the Way as we can.
Always include yourself within that Perfection, my dearest friend, that is the very first step, whatever you do, whatsoever you think, where ever you are.
Truly you are always HERE and NOW and that is where Perfection lies.
We have our share of this, and will know it, when we simply allow what is there already, to happen.
You will therefore detect two currents of thought from now on.
The Perfect, in the absolute sense, and perfect in the relative sense.
The Way points to both of these simultaneously.
The relative is contained within the absolute, and yet the absolute permeates the relative.

The Way

Another useful phrase to remember . . .
"Einmal ist Keinmal"
I remember that from a novel and the translation is "Once is as if it were Never."
Or put another way, some people will practice only until they get it right, but there are others who will practice until they never get it wrong.
I expect there is a bit of both in most of us, but it is good food for our wisdom hungry appetites.

THE WAY

The reason for the title sounding rather mystical, is firstly to stir your interest, from the inside. That warm, gentle, sometimes passionate person, who has felt the contrasts in this wonderful life, happiness, melancholy, up days, down days, lost days and found days.
This book is addressed personally to you, my dear friend.

I know precisely when you are going to read this and I know exactly where you will be when you read this.
You will be HERE and NOW.
The only place and the only time for Everything.
Perhaps, like myself, you have decided that you need a more dimensional language with which to get to know yourself, and with which to express yourself to the world.

Very wisely, you have made an excellent choice in the language of Music, and consistently wise, you have chosen the Piano as the instrument to mirror your growth.
Yes, that is just how it may seem to you.
A steadfast friend, who will give sound to your inner song.
Comforting, sturdy, full of fascination, and what is more - a beautiful adornment to your home. Cherish your life long companion, who obediently responds to your touch, and remains deeply silent when you wish.
Best not then to cover it with all manner of objects, that will resonate and rattle much to your consternation.
Have you ever tried to locate the source of those irritating buzzes? I swear they move about when you start to chase them out!

With such a vast repertoire of music, virtually anything in fact, available to play, we cannot look in that direction if we are trying to define our goals.
The only consistent presence will be YOU, and your Piano.
What we shall be examining therefore is your relationship to your instrument, becoming aware of constant factors in the manner of Attitude and Approach, emotional, mental and physical, trying to loosely codify a set of practice and performance manners that will apply generally or specifically to various musical ideas and examples.
Incorporating aspects of The Science of Piano Playing, we shall call the whole of this The Way of the Pianist.

So, my dear student, I hope that your interest is stirred, and that together we can share the Journey, and learn together, and have fun.
For until we develop eighty- eight or so fingers, and live for a thousand years, that majestic perfection that we so courageously have set as our goal, will always be rather more than an arms reach away.
The journey, however, will always be at our fingertips.