In any case, here you are my replies to the questions posted by
1) "Backwards technique"... Wow! Firstly, I thought, I will write, How a shocking coincidence!
Once for years, I have experienced the same deeply confusing feelings.
Actually, deeper considering the problem, due to this fact, I may only say
at this place, "how a common coincidence"...!
Be sure, You are not sole. Of
us, there are thousands, and counting to this event the contemporary China
– of us there are millions, who share the same feelings. They belong nearly
to all of us, former, actual and future piano students suffering from very
strong impact coming from the outdated, still truly vivid tradition
transmitted to us in the best will by our teachers. Here even no one sole
crime had occurred yet, once the Godfathers and Godmothers of this
mechanical tradition in our Art, were and are, humanly seen, the truly GOOD
However it is only a waste of
time, hundreds and thousands of them actively propagate such instrumental
solutions, they possess rather slim knowledge about what they actually do.
The sole misconception here consists in the blind faith in the few
absolutely unjustified myths. The first of them is the strong conviction
that all sorts of the instrumental technique have theirs roots and the future in the purely mechanical phenomena.
Representatives of this direction act in accordance to such a truly naive
basis: we can modify only THIS ELEMENT of the situation we are able to see
with our own eyes!
Therefore they had never
liked and they as well nowadays do not like to go deeper into the problems,
which cannot just actually be seen with theirs own eyes... One can ask, why
then, being in the last end The Musicians, they would not like to believe
in this, which could so easily be
that only is the rhetorical question... As long as the model, my ear would be the conductor and my body, the instrument, would NOT come into the
common everyday practice in the musical schools – starting from
home-teaching up to the Academies of Music – so long the thousands of
thousands of the piano students worldwide would suffer from the pains in
theirs hands and from very unpleasant feelings in their hearts. Here does
not exist any other way round.
The proposed solution:
self-teaching, self-searching for the better solutions. All solutions
should be considered, but only few could work well.
2) "The piano IS an orchestra."...
My Sincerest Congratulations,
Jessica! Yours interpretation of this topic is astoundingly good! Creative!
Frankly said, in my teaching
language I very rarely use the associations related to different
instruments, searching for – in my opinion – the adequate sounding result
on the piano. Following Neuhaus, I am of the opinion, in teaching, it would
yield good enough results if the student's fantasy would be focused on
images and feelings belonging to the everyday life. Of course, the Arts,
Philosophy, Technique and Nature belong to it, too. The problem is in the
skill of SEEING and in the adequate TRANSLATION, so these feelings and
images could fit the concrete musical situation we face studying particular
part of the piece.
The two faces of the same Figure; the two artistic variations on the
Nevertheless, as I think, if
NOT overused, we should rather not resign from the right to use such an
excellent psychological instrument. On the other hand yet, if this particular
pedagogical appliance becomes the nearly unique verbal device, the teacher
is able to activate the students' imagination with, it must become actually
ineffective in the very short terms. This must happen according to the
similar rules the bacteria are stopping react to antibiotics familiar to
themselves, and granddaughters stopping to react on the shouts repeatedly
coming from, otherwise, the saint mouths of their Grandmothers...
You are totally right: the
piano actually is the music instrument possessing its personal, individual,
intimate and brave, soft and powerful voice of its own, which cannot be
imitate by any other instrument, even by the human voice in its best...! No
one other instruments could copy such smallest, likely inexistent sound's
quality changes completed by Josef Hofmann in his interpretation of Creisleriana
or by Paderewski, Cortot, Friedman, and Horowitz, Horowitz, HOROWITZ...;
even Montserrat Caballe in Bellini...
All of the piano instrumental
& coloristic features become more and more valuable if we would
like to discuss such aspects as – for instance – possibility to perform the
more complicated figurations in the fast tempi, still keeping the
greater clearness in articulation. Such features are truly indispensable
when discussing not only the Studies or other virtuoso pieces of
Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel or Rachmaninoff, but as well all the
polyphonic-like, Allegro or even Presto pieces of Baroque,
Rococo and even modern music (as Hindemith, Shostakowich, Shchedrin and
many, many others). Yes, you are definitely right, Now, after all this time I am rediscovering the joys of the PIANO
sound, a unique instrument in itself. In the very special meaning of this
word, I am truly proud of you... Hmm, I am just very pleased getting as
brave and intellectually so sharp and creative Correspondent!
Music reading (rhythm)...
OK. It should be very clear to
you, your actual troubles with rhythm are easily removable and you could
improve them just by yourself. The next point of this diagnose is, that
because the fundament of your musical rhythm has not be grounded firmly
enough, you must do it as soon as possible.
One could ask, HOW this might
Here is the answer! The first
thing is to understand the core of the matter. Music is the strongly
Beloved Daughter of The Time. And, The Time – flows... Music must flow as
well. What is naturally flowing in string and wind instrumentalists or in
singing, this could unfortunately be STATIC in the piano practice. The
note-signs are motionless and heartless, much worse than photos, if
compared with movies. The first medicine against mental and emotional
immobility is to find even smallest shadow of PERSONAL WILL to come nearer
to the Life in Music and it must happen via Fantasy when you
are going to produce the sole longer note on the piano. Let you have a look
at this file, please!
Let you compose by yourself
or take, no matter from where, the one, as easy as possible rhythmical
motive and do it by any kind of the hands' motion, but – walking! You
should walk in such way, your legs would actively DO the most important
rhythmical units [as fourths or eights for example] when yours hands will
CARRY OUT the exercise moving in that kind, you might like for the most;
you can conduct, you can hit the hands, all the motions are allowed. The
most important here: you must love this job and do the task as precisely as
After, you should sit at the
piano and try to do this rhythmical shape in playing, just improvising the
melody. If you can – you can add an accompaniment. The Main Feeling should
be present in your Soul within all the Time: I'm moving, The Rhythm moves
on inside of my INTERNAL VIRTUAL SPACE.
You should be ready to take
and do several rhythmical short motives every day and systematically
increase the level of difficulty of the taken exercises. In your mind
& body you will create the tough connections among such values as
- the seeing
- the understanding of what we see
- the creating of mental patterns related to
oncoming rhythmical events
- the will to complete them using possibly precise
- the will to control the entire process
intellectually, but NOT without putting into this practice the very many,
emotionally and imaginationally interesting backgrounds, like commonly
happens in a good ballet performance.
Of course, we need our
fingers, sometimes even in the dramatically large extend, but firstly we
need to understand very well, WHAT exactly we are doing, when we are
sitting at the piano. This must become very clear that our role is not in
the mechanical re-copying of any inactive prehistoric reality after signs,
but our role is in the alive re-creation of the always active Musical
Spirit hidden under material surface of the signs. Music is the strongly
Beloved Daughter of The Time. The Time – flows...
Understanding of how the
divine stream of musical ENERGY flows forward inside of the each one
re-created sound – is the first step toward actual understanding of the
musical Rhythm. Believe me, it would not be too difficult to you!
Any question? I am ready to
write the answer if not immediately, still within relatively short time...
Thank you for your patience, Dear Jessica, Dear
Yours very friendly – S. K.