The Craft of Piano Playing: A New Approach to Piano Technique with Alan Fraser
Genre: Piano lessons
Fraser links musical expression to the hand’s innate structure and function to create an “absolutely natural way of moving at the piano, both powerful and flexible” (PianoNews, Germany). The Craft of Piano Playing DVD version, in English with subtitles in German, French and Serbian, features classic exercises from the original book plus several new ones. The detailed menus with links to all chapters and sub-chapters allow exceptionally easy navigation to any point in the film, making it a highly effective pedagogical tool. Whereas the book analyses the problems at hand in greater detail, the DVD gives the viewer an immediate, tangible experience of Alan Fraser's teaching - one picture is worth a thousand words. They are designed to be used together, but if a choice must be made it is recommended to get the DVD first: this will bring you most quickly into the potent world of Alan Fraser's approach to piano technique. Later on, the book will help deepen and expand your initial learning - the changes to your technique take place over time and involve changes in your neuromotor system. The insights into the hand's innate capacities of movement and organization found on The Craft of Piano Playing offer a breakthrough in the technique of pianists of literally any level of ability. And teachers can use these ideas to develop a whole new dimension in their relationship to the piano and piano teaching.
The DVD covers the arch of the hand, the natural grasping motion, legato playing, the training and use of the thumb, octaves and chords, productive use of the arm, rotation, phrasing and maximum finger action in scales. Some of the exercises are T'ai Chi Walking, Isometric Windshield Wipers, The Octave Cobra Strike and Bird Beak. Alan Fraser demonstrates and explains each exercise clearly and often plays a segment after teaching the technique to help students see how it is put to use in beautiful piano playing. Each chapter also includes very brief footage of performances by other pianists: Arthur Rubinstein, Kemal Gekich, Alexander Brailowsky, Gyorgy Cziffra, Claudio Arrau, Evgeny Kissin and Vladimir Horowitz. This is a great source of understanding piano technique and will be helpful to pianists and teachers at all skill levels.