Fundamentals of Piano Practice

This is the best book ever written on how to practice at the piano! Most books list what skills are needed (scales, arpeggios, trills, etc.), but not how to acquire them. This book teaches how to solve technical problems, step by step. Learn practice methods, how to acquire technique and memorize hours of repertoire, sight reading, musical playing, relaxation, etc., and, most importantly, Mental Play in which you learn to play the piano in your mind. Mental play touches every aspect of piano playing, from memorizing, controlling nervousness, developing performance skills, playing musically, etc., to acquiring absolute pitch, composing and improvisation. It is almost unbelievable that such an essential skill has been mostly neglected by piano teachers. All great musicians used it, yet even they often failed to teach it. We learn why the traditional methods of teaching piano widely used today are the reasons why students give up piano.

Genius is more created than born; this is illustrated by analyzing how the greatest pianists learned and composed. Most (perhaps all?) of what were previously attributed to talent are shown to be simple knowledge-based solutions (to difficult problems) that we can all learn. Improved memory can raise the effective IQ; memory is an associative process based on algorithms – music is just such an algorithm and that is why we can easily memorize an entire Beethoven sonata. Learning piano makes you smarter and helps you succeed because it teaches project management.

This book has a chapter explaining the chromatic scale and temperaments, with detailed instructions on how to tune your own piano. The Equal Temperament, so universally used today, muddies the music and dulls our sensitivities; we should return to the more musical Well temperaments that the greatest musicians of all time researched so meticulously.


This is a work in progress, some sections have not been copied over, there are probably a few formatting errors/inconsistencies, and generally nuttiness. Please ignore or contribute patches on GitHub.

Indices and tables