Author’s Note

My sequel to The Craft of Piano Playing took a long time to see the light of day. Several chapters were written before the publication of Craft but they simply didn’t fit into the earlier book’s structure. Others evolved after Craft was published that reflect new developments in my thought and experience. After a fallow period with regard to Feldenkrais Method, where I mainly wrote, taught and played piano, I plunged back into pure Feldenkrais, visiting trainings and working with many clients both musicians and non-musicians. Somehow this led my thinking in a new direction and finally gave me the means to make that crucial link from the hand back to the whole body.

I had always been aware of this link, but there were so many pressing issues in the hand and arm itself to be addressed first that I felt justified in limiting the scope of The Craft of Piano Playing. Also I didn’t want to simply re-hash material that was already available about the body’s role in piano playing. I figured if I can’t say something new, better to keep my mouth shut.

However, now certain concepts that I found potent and extremely helpful to the pianists I was working with were materializing and coming into focus. For instance, I found in many master classes that students understood how to empower the hand’s arch, but when I asked them to use that feeling in their hand and keep it as they played through their piece, it wouldn’t stick. The solution was to do some whole body Awareness Through Movement lessons that overtly link hand arch structure to the larger “inverted dome”  structure of the pelvis, to sense the relationship between these two functionally. Now my student could retain the new hand organization as she played through her repertoire. This was very exciting!

Experiences like this helped develop the structure of Honing, where several full-length ATM lessons are included near the end of the book. I also try to emphasize even more strongly the link between physical organization and musicianship: listening should reign supreme when you play, and paradoxically by listening well you will develop a far finer physical sensitivity than if you only pay attention to the physical.

Honing was a bit of an experiment. I wasn’t even sure if people would be put off by some of the slightly “wild” chapters where I get very experiential, almost stream-of-consciousness. In the end these chapters have proved popular so the experiment seems to have paid off!

AFF

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