Good gracious is it such a drag sometimes! The never ending story of piano technique and execution. My own experience with technique has not been that troubling, perhaps it is because I love it. Now, I don’t love it so much that’s all I can do, but it definitely deserves a weeks worth of my time.
The older I got, the more I actually enjoyed getting better at my instrument (funny how that works?). As as pianist, I have noticed that my expectations of people’s expectations of me are unknown. Lettuce say:
"Oh, what instrument do you play?"
"I’m a pianist."
Now what could happen in the unknown from here. Clearly it depends on the audience you are speaking with (whether it be classically oriented or popular music oriented) at the moment. Luckily I have experience in both and can have conversations about both subjects (but I’m not a jazz pianist…still not…yet).
To accomplish both genres my work in technique had to be, to say the least, “good.” My first book were the classic Hanon exercises. I practiced them diligently everyday and ended up getting to about…the mid teens in the book. Clearly not far at all. Arriving into college, my piano professor reccommended/told me to study out of the Czerny technique books (160 Eight Measure Exercises).
My discovery of Czerny changed the way I thought about technique and I began to love playing the exercises. Each one had a melody and wasn’t just some repetitive bullshit. After two semesters of playing through the book I, again, reached about the mid-teens. Though, through constant repetition I improved and began to tackle pieces I thought I never could have before. And, actually, my popular music performance improved drastically.
Czerny Technique + playing regularly with a band = dexterity.
In a way, the Czerny had me overprepared for the rock music I would play, yet the solos upon solos I would have to perform wouldn’t be anywhere without Czerny. Yes, one aspect to soloing in knowing the “language” of soloing, but hell, if you can’t literally play your instrument well, you ain’t soloing. So, it was nice to have more learned hands under my eyes and on the keyboard.
To this day, I still practice Czerny and give my fingers what the deserve: A workout!
So, shape up, practice your scales and exercises. I really is amazing the improvement I have achieved.
Long live technique, damn it.