In the Olympiad era, bespectacled piano teachers and their students are assumed to be lockouts, pouring over eclectic music manuscripts in sheltered studios of higher learning. We’re viewed as eternal bench-warmers, leading sedentary lives; practicing archaic music for hours at a time in a monastic rhythm.
But these are missperceptions.
Most pianists are members of the piano gym club, training day in and day out to master complex motor movements and feats of coordination that rival the rigorous prep of elite Olympic athletes.
For example, try playing a perfectly smooth and sculpted A Major Scale in crisp soft staccato, without a note popping out among 64 ascending and descending in rapid speed.
Mental image assist: the “trampoline effect.”
Maybe it’s not the same as climbing a ski slope, and then heading downhill at 150 miles an hour, but just the same, tackling a scale or arpeggio at max tempo, can be more than a joy ride. It requires great physical and musical mastery. And that’s where you separate the men from the boys.
How about a hopping routine, with a zig/zag motion of the arms, that accelerates as the underlying beat is quickened.
In the Olympic spirit, I’ve showcased three lesson-in-progress snippets of an adult student notching up her technique in the space of 15 minutes. It’s a world’s record for her.
The enumerated challenges:
1) Playing fast, crisp staccato notes, 4 octaves up and down.
2) HOPPING in thirds, with a zig/zag motion of the arms.
3) Gliding through an A Major arpeggio before detaching the notes in brisk tempo.
From Chords to Gym and Back
Piano Push-ups and Dead Weight:
Piano, Performance and Gym Routines…
Piano Workout Plus: