Speaking the Piano

Speaking the Piano

Reflections on Learning and Teaching

Susan Tomes

Hardback
$25.95

Boydell Press

Overview

Overview

This is a book to appeal to a wide range of readers - pianists of every level from beginner to professional, piano teachers, musicians of all kinds, and the broader community of music-lovers.
In Speaking the Piano, renowned pianist Susan Tomes turns her attention to teaching and learning. Teaching music encompasses everything from putting a drum in a child's hands to helping an accomplished musician unlock the meaning and spirit of the classics. At every stage, some fundamental issues keep surfacing. In this wide-ranging book, Susan Tomes reflects on how her own experience as a learner, in different genres from classical to jazz, has influenced her approach to teaching. She tells us how her performing career has given her insight into what young performers need to know, and how discussions with students have fed into her own practice. She describes the brilliant and intriguing teachers whose masterclasses opened her ears to the many ways in which music can be brought alive and communicated. This is a book to appeal to a wide range of readers - pianists of every level from beginner to professional, piano teachers, musicians of all kinds, and the broader community of music-lovers. In a passionate contribution to the ongoing debate about the place of music in education, Susan Tomes argues that this most inspiring of arts can play a unique role in personal development.

This is a lovely, wise, elegantly written book, filled with tips and anecdotes which could be helpful and encouraging for any pianist, whether a beginner or a professional. Above all it is a book in which one senses constantly the deep love the author has for music itself, for its ability to inspire, touch and, indeed, change lives. STEPHEN HOUGH

SUSAN TOMES is a multi-award-winning pianist whose career encompasses solo, duo and chamber music playing; she has been at the heart of the internationally admired ensembles Domus, the Gaudier Ensemble and the Florestan Trio. Her lecture-recitals have enabled many listeners to engage with the classics on a new level. She is the author of four acclaimed books about performance: Beyond the Notes (Boydell Press 2004), A Musician's Alphabet (Faber, 2006), Out of Silence (Boydell Press, 2010), and Sleeping in Temples (Boydell Press, 2014).

An e-book version of this title is available (9781787442825), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Details

June 2018
277 pages
21.6x13.8 cm
ISBN: 9781783273256
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BIC AVGC, 2AB, 3JM
BISAC MUS023030, MUS006000
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Enlisting the imagination
Pretending to be other people
Why don't people play better?
Grappling with the instrument
Words and signs
Tempo is character
Connecting the beats
Sensing the style
Imagery, positive and negative
Different physiques
The inescapability of one's own nature
What we talk about in lessons
The benefit of hindsight
Fusion cooking
'You'll find the black notes play louder than the white ones'
'For me this is like jazz'
Is playing the notes enough to reveal the music?
To sway or not to sway?
How important is it to hear the sound?
Beethoven among the Alpine flowers
Not all those who wander are lost
The sound of two hands clapping
Music lights up the brain
Epilogue

Reviews

Susan Tomes's insights as a performer and teacher are fully matched by her literary eloquence: at the piano or on the page, her style is marked by undemonstrative, perceptive and elegant turns of phrase, in every sense...any music lovers would find fascination and entertainment here: there are gems on every page. Five Stars. Jessica Duchen, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

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