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CORNELLUNIVERSITY LIBRARY

'^L-Si'

nbi^ARY

MTThe

Cornell University Library

220.J73 1912art of teaching pianoforte piaying a

3 1924 021

635 507

Cornell University Library

The

original of this

book

is in

the Cornell University Library.

There are no known copyright

restrictions intext.

the United States on the use of the

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924021635507

THE ART OFTEACHING PIANOFORTE PLAYING.

THE

Art of Teaching

Pianoforte PlayingASelection of

Systematisedfor

Practical Suggestions

Young

Teachers and Students

J.

ALFRED TOHNSTONE(Hon. L. Miis. T.C.L.)

Author of '* Piano Touch. Phrasing and Interpretation,' " How to Use the Pedal in Piano-Playing," etc.

London

WM. REEVES,

83

CHARING CROSS ROAD,

W.C.

Publisher of Books on Music,

SECOND EDITION REVISED.

Printed by The

New Temple

Press, Norbury Crescent, S.W.

PREFATORY EXPLANATION OF THE SCOPE OF THE WORK.pianists who add to concert playing the labours of a teacher; many young students about to enter upon the duties of the teaching profession as their life's labour; and indeed, not a few of those who have spent years at the work of giving lessons in pianoforte playing, fail to achieve the success their abilities deserve, simply for the lack of some clear, systematic, practical knowledge of the art of teaching. intention then is, to set down, in some orderly and lucid form, such information as may prove helpful to all teachers in the practice of their art. serious study of the subjects of pianoforte playing and pianoforte teaching for many years; long and wide experience as a teacher, throughout which earnest attention was given to method and effectiveness in teaching; and not a little practice as a writer upon subjects connected with pianoforte study, may perhaps be regarded as a suitable equipment for this undertaking. Although a thorough knowledge of pianoforte playing a knowledge both practical and theoretical

MANY

My

A

vi

Prefatory Explanation

is the iirst essential in the qualifications of a successful teacher of pianoforte playing, it is far from being the only essential qualification. Constant disappointments and failures are occasioned by the mistake of supposing that the practical skill of the pianist is any guarantee of his efficiency as a teacher. Although there are brilliant exceptions, such as Hans von Biilow, it may safely be said that

famous pianists are, as a rule, not the most competent teachers. The dry analysis of what they do, and how exactly they do it, so necessary for the skilful teacher, seems to them, not alone irksome, but also likely to check that rapt outpouring of the emotions which is the very essence of their artistic creed. The more these pianists practise the art of playing, the less, usually, do they study the art of teaching. They have generally but one method of teaching, and that is, to offer the pupil practical examples of playing for his imitation. By slow degrees, if a pupil have a talent that way, he may become a fairly successful mimic and if, in addition, he is an earnest, inquiring and ambitious student, he may supplement his teacher's examples by discovering for himself something of the principles of his art. But, upon the whole, this method of learning by mimicry alone is apt to stunt rather than to develop the faculties of the student, and to leave him more or less helpless so soon as he must depend upon himself in his interpretative work. And if the pupil fail in his mimicry, what resource remains to him or to his virtuoso teacher ? Skill as a pianoforte player is well; practical examples judiciously given are good; but no one can be a really successful teacher who does not add to his skill as a player at least these four things of equal importance first, a minute and accurate knowledge of how what he proposes to teach should; :

of the

Scope of the Work.

vii

be done; secondly, the ability to recognise, on the one hand, what exactly are the mistakes of each pupil, and on the other hand, what exactly he must

do to correct these mistakes; thirdly, the power to express himself with such clearness that the pupil will understand exactly what to do, how to do it, and what is to be avoided; and, fourthly, some orderly, adequate methods in teaching, so that the needs of the pupil may be effectively met at thelesson, and his studies wisely directed. In short, the teacher must make a careful analysis of his subject, of the general principles of his art, and of his pupil's faults; he must formulate clear methods of imparting the result of this analysis to his pupil; he must cultivate the art of lucid and accurate expression; he must ensure an effective result by the application of some orderly system to his whole teaching; and he must have the persuasive power or the force of will needful to induce fruitful acceptance of his instructions. In the majority of these essentials th famous virtuoso too often fails. He does not devote himself, as a rule, either to analysis or to systematic principles in his teaching; he does not practise the art of expressing, in clear and accurate language, or in lucidly defined principles, what is to be taught. Pianoforte tones are his natural medium of expression; but in the language of the accomplished teacher he is often inarticulate or obscure. Still, it is by no means the concert player alone who lacks these essential qualifications of the accomAll those young students, too, plished teacher. whose knowledge of pianoforte playing has been gained chiefly by the common method of mimicry, and very little by the imparting of principles and rules, must feel somewhat puzzled as to how best to proceed, when they start on theif careers as teachers.

viii

Prefatory Explanation

In the lessons contained in this book, methods are suggested, hints are offered, principles and rules are formulated, courses of study are sketched out; and all these are sufficiently general and varied to furnish a useful guide for the teacher without circumscribing his individual genius or running any risk of stunting his development. The first chapter contains a general outline, both of the essential practical divisions of the subject, and of those collateral studies, without which no musical education can be other than very superficial. And it must be remembered that as this work is intended chiefly for the use of the average student and teacher, the minimum rather than the maximum of requirements needful for a liberal education is kept in view. Each teacher will select those divisions specially suited to his needs should he conAfter the sider this minimum burdensomely large. general outline of subjects is sketched, each subject is taken separately for special treatment; and suggestions are raade for a right direction of the pupil's studies in each division. Some of the subjects are treated in considerable detail; and occasionally, where subjects overlap in separate chapters, suggestions are repeated, so that the guidance for senior and junior pupils may be the more definite and emphatic. The two main practical divisions of the subject Technique and Interpretation are discussed at greatest length. In later chapters suggestions are offered for effective instructions at the lessons; for a wise apportioning of the lesson to the needs of the pupil; and for the most effective methods of directing the student in his hours of practice. Finally, some hints are given upon the choice of suitable music.

of the

Scope

of the

Work.

ix

Thus, an orderly, suggestive and fairly comprehensive survey of the selected minimum of requirements for the serious study of pianoforte playing is mapped out, as a lucid, effective and systematic guide for the inexperienced, the unlearned and the inarticulate or obscure teacher.J.

ALFRED JOHNSTONE.

CONTENTS.

Prefatory Explanation of the Scope of the

Work

v

CHAPTER

I.

Introductory. General Outline of the Minimum OF Subjects, Direct and Collateral, Included IN A Liberal Musical Education.

SECTIONTechnique:

I.

what it Meatis ... Necessity for Technique Best System of Technique ... Various Branches of Technique Protest against "Studies" ... Advocacy of Purely Technical Exercises Fantastic Theories of Touch

I

The

2

45

67

9

sectionInterpretation... ...

ii.... ... ...

lo

xii

Contents.

SECTIONTheoretical Subjects(A).(b)....

III.PAOK

H15

(C).

The Elements of Music Harmony Form and AnalysisConclusion

1618

(d).

CHAPTER

n.

General Suggestions for Teaching Technique.

SECTION

I

Technical

Exercises.

... ... ... ... Finger-Technique Mental Concentration and Co-ordination of ... ... ... Brain and Muscle ... Position of Hand and Striking Finger ... Relative Merits of Striking and Pushing

19

20 22 2731 31

the Keys ... ... Details of Position ... Details of Striking ... Firm Touch or Full Two-Finger Exercises

...... ...

... ...

... ... ...

...

A

Key Depression ... and Finger Gym......

33

nastics

...

...

... ... ... ...

... ... ...

910II12,

Three-Finger Exercises Five-Finger ExercisesScale

34 4245 50 56 61

... ...

Work

...

...

.