November 13th, 2008
In The Music Studio: To Work on Exercises or Not to Work on Exercises…That is the Question…Indeed.: “Also in the worth mentioning list is Alexander Peskanov’s ‘Russian Technical Regimen for the Piano’. Here Peskanov covers all scales, arpeggios and chords in every key with Russian harmonic patterns. Single note and double note, broken and blocked. This is one of my personal favorites, Peskanov sticks with the basics and I have to admit that the Russian pattern for scales, arpeggios and chords make the exercises much more interesting to practice. My other personal favorite which I almost built a shrine for is Franz Liszt’s Technical Studies in three volumes. This are not the etudes but actual technical exercises”
Amazing, I have not heard anyone mention the Liszt Exercises in 35 years. I have at least one of the books in my library, but feel they take a more mature technique and a larger hand to master.
The staples in my “for every physique” piano exercises, is definitely Hanon and yes, once you have mastered all Major and Harmonic, Melodic, Natural Minor scales, using my scales fingering charts, practicing each set of Major and parallel Minor scales (Harmonic, Melodic, Natural) 4 octaves, absolutely correct fingering, with metronome, working towards an effortless smooth sound (not a hammered harsh sound) — yes, once you have learned your basics, you can start working the Peskanov “Russian Technical Regimen” single note scales, broken chords, block chords and arpeggios. Any one of my students whom I could interest and motivate to spend quality scales practice time, has improved by leaps and bounds.
Anyone who just “hammered” scales who did also not work for a beautiful, expressive sound had much less progress or fun with scales. Anyone who could express beauty in their scales, with an effortless touch, floating arm weight, fingers falling in place, sound like smooth even pearls in the most expensive jewelry store,… now, we got something useful for later pieces. And they all use scales, chords arpeggios one way or another.