Yesterday I spent some time and had afternoon tea with an old friend. We were introduced by my first “real” piano teacher way back when I was about fourteen or fifteen years old, and we’ve kept in touch ever since:
I expect he is considered rather old-fashioned now. I find it is a useful set of studies which are quick and easy to learn, and provide a good way in to developing the kind of technique you need for Mozart, Clementi and similar styles of playing. My teacher very sensibly selected just the most effective parts of the studies, focussing on left or right hand most of the time, rather than hands together. So that’s what I do when I’m teaching them. Interspersed with the technical studies (and most are only a couple of lines long) are short pieces “in the scherzo style” or “for developing the rondino style”.
This morning I shared a coffee with another good friend: Oscar Beringer.
He is quite a different character. We met in the music room of my mother’s piano teacher, a contemporary of my piano teacher (one was a student at “the Academy”, and the other was at “the College”. Both won prizes while they were students, and went on to have professional performing careers).
Tuneful he is NOT. However he is very thorough, and it is thanks to him that I am completely fluent in every major and minor key! I listened to another teacher working with a young pupil – it was on a television programme about Cheethams School of Music – and teaching him these exercises. “If you are not in the mood, just don’t bother doing them,” he said. There’s no point unless you are going to do it properly”. All too true. One thing that today showed me is that although I have got legato and finger staccato touches pretty well sorted, my wrist staccato NEEDS WORK.
I was thinking of looking up my third good friend good friend in the next day or so. He has been a great help in the past, but is altogether rather too demanding and intense for my mood at the moment.