Magazine article American Music Teacher

Planning Your Piano Success: A Blueprint for Aspiring Musicians

Magazine article American Music Teacher

Planning Your Piano Success: A Blueprint for Aspiring Musicians

Article excerpt

* Planning Your Piano Success: A Blueprint for Aspiring Musicians, by Stewart Gordon. Oxford University Press, 2014. www.oup.com/us; 192 pp., $19.95.

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There seems to be very little Stewart Gordon does not take into account in this volume intended for anyone considering a career in piano--from the grade-school student trying to map out a future in music, to the college student majoring in piano in need of career advice, to the parents of both, who oftentimes question the viability of a future in music. Even topics as diverse as the potential importance of blogging, building and maintaining a current website and being on top of an ever-changing technological world, occupy the last few pages of the book. In addition, it provides a useful reference for piano teachers, who are often asked for input in such decisions.

The book's 17 chapters thoroughly cover a wide array of issues, some uncomfortable but necessary, such as how to choose a new teacher and sever ties with your current instructor, how to handle rejection, the importance of building one's technique, how to deal with preparation for a performance and college auditions, memorization techniques, how to choose a college and how to choose repertoire. A very consistent mantra throughout the book is the need for knowledge diversification and versatility. A young pianist should be apt not only in the classical tradition, as most often emphasized in colleges and conservatories, but also well-versed in other genres such as jazz and blues, and have a wide array of skills, including sight-reading, transposition and improvisation. …

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