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{ Tag Archives } books

Music in the heart

I just read The Song is You, by Arthur Phillips.  Usually I only write here about books concerning pianos and pianists, but this novel about music and art and passion is so good I wanted to make note. The story focuses on Julian, a young middle-aged director of commercials who loves his iPod, and Cait, a […]

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Writing about writing about writing…

I like reading books about pianos and pianists. I sometimes write about them here. Turns out Joe Queenan likes doing both (the reading and the writing about it) as well (though he doesn’t write here). He seems to feel more strongly about it than I do.

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Deliberate practice: delay automaticity

Cognitive psychologists have found that one process in human learning is automatizing: complex tasks, when practiced or rehearsed enough, become automatic, so they can be performed using little or none of a very scarce resource: conscious attention.  Anyone who drives a car is familiar with discovering one has been daydreaming and not consciously paying attention, […]

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Schroeder knew what he was talking about

Here’s a charming piece in the New York Times about the authenticity of the snips of Beethoven scores that Charles Schultz drew to illustrate Schroeder scenes in “Peanuts”.  There were a “soundtrack” to the strip.  Fun example: a strip showing Schroeder doing strength and stamina training before going to practice…the Hammerklavier.

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Harriette Brower, Piano Mastery

Harriette Brower’s 1915 book, Piano Mastery, is online in a public domain Project Gutenberg edition.  She recounts interviews she did with about 20 master pianists and teachers (e.g., Busoni, Paderewski, Goodson), includes essays on interpretation by William Mason and William Sherwood, and offers her own essay on technique (from hand position through practicing, memorizing, tone […]

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Another novel: The Piano Teacher

I recently read Elfriede Jelinek’s The Piano Teacher.  I previously had seen the arresting and controversial movie based on it, starring Isabelle Huppert.  Jelinek is Nobel Prize winning novelist who writes in the post-war Germanic realist-nihilist style, often with graphic and disturbing sexuality. As a novel for pianists, this one disappoints. The main character Erika […]

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Novels about pianists

I recently read two novels about pianists that my wife gave me for Christmas, and both were excellent. I will also briefly mention a third I read several years ago. I’m not going to try to write very thoughtful or complete book reviews here; I’ll briefly describe them and then point to reviews elsewhere. The […]

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