Hands Playing And Pedaling At Piano Teaching

By Ethan O Tanner

Concerning American instructors Alexander Lambert takes high rank. Pertaining to over twenty-five years he has held aloft the common of sound musicianship in the art of training and playing. A quarter of a century of thorough, conscientious effort along these lines must have left its impress on the complete rising generation of learners together with educators in this country, and manufactured for the improvement and advancement of American art.

The idea suggests a lot to have a native-born educator of such high aims living and working between us; an instructor whom no support neither love of gain can influence nor render indifferent to the high aim ever in view. There is no escaping the sound and thorough course of study for those who come under Mr. Lambert's supervision. Scales must be, voluntarily or unwillingly, the daily bread of the player; the hand must be put in good shape, the finger joints rendered firm, the arms and body supple, before pieces are thought of. Technical study must continue together the whole course, hand in hand with piece playing; technique for its own sake, outside the playing of compositions.

And why not? Is the technique of an art ever quite completed? Can it ever be laid away on the shelf and considered complete? Must it not always be kept in operating order? "Have you not observed many changes in the aims of pupils, and in the conditions of piano training in New York, in the course of the years you have taught here?" I asked Mr. Lambert, in the program of a recent conversation.

"Some modifications, it is true, I have observed," he answered; "but I must additionally say in which the problems participating piano instructing in America are unusual. We have several excellent teachers here, lecturers which may hold their own anywhere, as well as are usually suitable of generating finished musicians. However allow a pupil goes to the greatest instructor in this region, and the chances tend to be that he or she will be still looking forward to 'finishing' with some European artist. These people are usually not necessarily satisfied till they possess guaranteed the foreign stamp of approval. Even though this is authentic of the advanced pianist, it is also more in proof within the average player. He, too, is fantasizing of the 'superior benefits', because he calls Then, of European study. He may have no basis to build upon may not necessarily actually be able to play a scale correctly, but nevertheless thinks he should move in another country!

"You ask if I consider pupils can acquire just as great teaching here as in Europe? That is a little difficult to respond to off-hand. I totally think all of us have several instructors in America as capable as any on the other side; within several techniques they are better. Regarding one thing they are morally better I repeat, morally much better. According to another they are usually a lot more detailed: these people take more attention in their pupils as well as will do more for them. When such a teacher is observed, he definitely justifies the strong value and appreciation of the American student.

After he has done everything for the pupil fashioned him into a well-equipped artist, the student is apt to say: 'Now I will go abroad for lessons with this or that famous European master!' What is the result? He may never amount to anything may never be heard of afterward. On the other hand, I have individuals coming to me, who have already been years with some of the finest overseas masters, yet who are full of problems of all types, faults which it takes me many years to correct. Some of them are provided with tough touch, with tense position and problem of arms and body, with defective pedaling, and with a shortage of knowledge of several of the fundamental concepts of piano playing.

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