Practicing the Piano

Practicing the Piano: How Students, Parents, and Teachers Can Make Practicing More Effective

Nancy O’Neill Breth. 2012. 112 p. 8.5 x 11. ISBN: 978-1423423489429. www.halleonard.com. $12.99.

Practicing the Piano offers a broad selection of practice tips with musical examples to help students of all ages find imaginative solutions to pianistic problems. The book explores how to:

organize practice time
map the score before practicing to uncover the musical terrain that lies ahead
use practice time effectively from the first reading through performance
develop fluency with accuracy
polish and memorize a piece
lay the foundation for confident performance

Practicing the Piano is a handbook of practice techniques. Teachers can use it to reinforce and augment their own ideas on practicing. Parents will find a wealth of ideas for guiding their children’s practice sessions. Students young and old will discover how to make each practice session count. Using the book’s wide range of practice tips not only improves a pianist’s skills, but also adds adventure and enjoyment to the process of mastering a piece.

Partial Contents

Introduction (The Practice PACT / Practice Tools / What Practicing Is, and Isn’t / Budgeting Your Time)

I. START SMART

1. Mapping the Course
2. First Steps at the Piano
3. Formulating Practice Strategies

II. THE EARLY STAGES OF PRACTICING

4. Getting Organized
5. Getting Comfortable (Position and Mobility at the Keyboard / Basic Math / Finding and Using Good Fingering / Another Kind of Comfort: Peace of Mind)
6. Getting it Right (General Accuracy Drills / Higher Math / Chord Clues / Introducing Ornaments)
7. Building Fluency
8. Putting Meaning in Music (Dynamics / The Sound of Silence / Recognizing and Shaping Phrases / Adding Pedal)

III. POLISHING A PIECE

9. Playing With Comfort
10. Staying on Track (Note Accuracy and Clarity / Rhythm Drills / Ornaments)
11. Building Speed
12. Finding Deeper Meaning (Dynamics On and Off the Page / Balance and Voicing / Musical Phrasing / Effective Pedaling)

IV. FINISHING TOUCHES

13. Memorizing Music
14. Preparing to Perform
15. Old Repertoire

V. THE PRACTICE TRIANGLE

16. Parents’ Role in Practicing (The Instrument / The Teacher / The Lesson / Practicing)
17. Teaching Effective Practicing
18. Student, Teacher, Parent Interaction (In the Lesson / At Home / On the Same Page / As Time Passes)