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New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere (Read 1446 times)

Offline attaboy

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New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
« on: September 10, 2019, 09:12:55 PM »
This is a re do on a topic placed here some years ago. I've been, since 4-2010, mostly self taught here in my dotage but had 5 years of lessons in my youth. A lot of this self taught has been supplemented with mind/body aspects and I've made some amazing insights tho its quite possible I've been reinventing the wheel. This has led to outstanding progress in the face of insufficient practice. So my current technique status largely features mind/body aspects. Then I took a glance at "New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere" (google for a download) and this seem to have similar info along the lines I am using. But I at first put it aside due to tough reading. But I then decided to have another go at it. I found I could make good progress if I didn't linger on the rarely used words, nor tried to ponder at length, things I didn't understand. I'm only on p. 28 but suspect if I continue wading thru it, I will find info of great value. 

Offline alextrp7

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 11:54:17 AM »
Hi there,

I like what you say in your post. I really miss posts made by Chang and Bernard, and every others who talk about none conventional methods.
Just like you, I am a self taught with a few years of lessons when I was younger 30 years ago. I decided to take the piano (classical) very seriously 2 years ago. I can't afford a teacher, if so I would have one.

I did many stupid things over the last 2 years. I worked on the 1st Chopin's Ballade, his most famous Fantasie Impromptue, Liszt's Un Sospiro and some other easier pieces.
I should have choose a lot more easier pieces from the start of course. On the other hand, I learned a lot from them and from myself.

We need periods of time to ingrain things. Time is a wonderful mystery. In an old interview, Martha Argerich said, sometimes she achieves great results when she doesn't look for them or after a long time of not playing the piano. On the contrary she may go nowhere when she works a lot.

I mean that we should understand better the relation between time and results. It's not easy for obvious reasons. A common mistake is to expect good results right after the exercise. Or the day after, or even more. I did that for a long time and it just lead to frustration.

Of course time is not the only answer. We need to exercise with the right fingerings and right body movements. On many occasion, my mind would come with the key by itself at a time that I wouldn't expect it. Sometimes the answer is inside our mind and it comes out when we don't expect it ...  So much to say and my english is what it is ...

That would be a great idea to make some kind of "reinventing the wheel" thread. Not really something new (but who knows) but a thread focusing in deep on the body and mind relation. Also Chang book would really benefit from a translation -_-

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 03:04:15 AM »
I like your post as well, Alex. Right now I'm very busy but plan to respond soon.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 04:05:28 PM »
Instead of getting involved with the book alluded to in the OP, you may wish to first go to pps 27 and 260 of "A DISSERTATION
SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE COLLEGE of the University of Oklahoma
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of
Doctor of Philosophy" in the link below. You may find it to be much clearer and more concise. However, it is probably also be true that to truly get value from the content, you need to read the book. Please be advised that I haven't had the time to really get into this myself.
https://shareok.org/bitstream/handle/11244/1099/3237529.PDF?sequence=1

Offline maxim3

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 09:17:33 PM »
I find this sort of stuff mildly interesting, so I downloaded that thesis and extracted the summary of Bonpensiere's ideas as published in his book of 1953. See attached 11-page PDF.

Interestingly, "Ideo-Kinetics" was a term coined by Bonpensiere himself; whether independently or not, he had created a piano-oriented application of ideas which had already been in development for some decades, originally for re-training injured dancers. Lulu E. Sweigard, an American professor of physical education, later borrowed the term for her 1974 book Human Movement Potential: Its Ideokinetic Facilitation.

There seems to be no brief and easy way to read about this stuff in depth. There was a website called ideokinesis.com, which is still partially accessible at archive.org, but it has been replaced by thinkingbody.org, which requires registration before you can access its large collection of historical and modern materials. This "Thinking Body Institute" calls this stuff Somatics, and I suspect that Bonpensiere's material fits comfortably into a niche somewhere in this whole area. (I think another important and related term is kinesiology.)

It would be nice if someone interpreted and 'translated' Bonpensiere's book into modern simple prose. It's full of stuff like this:

"Do not confound the two notions: knowing what the hands are going to do and helping the hands do something. There is an enormous difference."

"If you look at a key, chord, or octave on the piano in order to strike it, do not consider the looking as a sensory guidance in the same light as in a physiological motion. You are not finding direction for your hand; you are just confirming a symbol."

"We must trust the volitional ideation with the managing of work."

"The expectation of an event is, dynamically, more powerful than the building-up, planning or carrying-out of the same event. Expectation has possibly reached the dynamics of end-results and it thus becomes an assured event. Building-up makes ideation go pari passu with the succeeding stages of the event's development."

"Our attention while practicing must be revisory (according to our conception of end-results) but not preparative of anything physiological."

"Ideo-Kinetics should never fail you, anymore than sunrise or sunset. You will always find the reason for any possible failure in your physiological train of thoughts."

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #5 on: September 13, 2019, 12:28:31 AM »
I'm amazed!! I got to an exercise on p.45 of the book, and was able to do it 2 out 4 tries. I do think my Alexander Technique gives me an advantage to release physio kinetics.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #6 on: September 13, 2019, 04:45:39 AM »
Beyond p.45, up to p.61, its hard for me to know what its about. Maybe this is the best one can expect given that the book is a collection of Luigi's notes put together by his wife after he died.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #7 on: September 14, 2019, 01:03:34 AM »
Hi there,

I like what you say in your post. I really miss posts made by Chang and Bernard, and every others who talk about none conventional methods.
Just like you, I am a self taught with a few years of lessons when I was younger 30 years ago. I decided to take the piano (classical) very seriously 2 years ago. I can't afford a teacher, if so I would have one.

I did many stupid things over the last 2 years. I worked on the 1st Chopin's Ballade, his most famous Fantasie Impromptue, Liszt's Un Sospiro and some other easier pieces.
I should have choose a lot more easier pieces from the start of course. On the other hand, I learned a lot from them and from myself.

We need periods of time to ingrain things. Time is a wonderful mystery. In an old interview, Martha Argerich said, sometimes she achieves great results when she doesn't look for them or after a long time of not playing the piano. On the contrary she may go nowhere when she works a lot.

I mean that we should understand better the relation between time and results. It's not easy for obvious reasons. A common mistake is to expect good results right after the exercise. Or the day after, or even more. I did that for a long time and it just lead to frustration.

Of course time is not the only answer. We need to exercise with the right fingerings and right body movements. On many occasion, my mind would come with the key by itself at a time that I wouldn't expect it. Sometimes the answer is inside our mind and it comes out when we don't expect it ...  So much to say and my english is what it is ...

That would be a great idea to make some kind of "reinventing the wheel" thread. Not really something new (but who knows) but a thread focusing in deep on the body and mind relation. Also Chang book would really benefit from a translation -_-

I've been thru Chang at least twice but its overwhelming with all the info it contains. But I've gotten a lot from it. Same goes for Bernhard.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #8 on: September 14, 2019, 01:17:28 AM »
I find this sort of stuff mildly interesting, so I downloaded that thesis and extracted the summary of Bonpensiere's ideas as published in his book of 1953. See attached 11-page PDF.

Interestingly, "Ideo-Kinetics" was a term coined by Bonpensiere himself; whether independently or not, he had created a piano-oriented application of ideas which had already been in development for some decades, originally for re-training injured dancers. Lulu E. Sweigard, an American professor of physical education, later borrowed the term for her 1974 book Human Movement Potential: Its Ideokinetic Facilitation.

There seems to be no brief and easy way to read about this stuff in depth. There was a website called ideokinesis.com, which is still partially accessible at archive.org, but it has been replaced by thinkingbody.org, which requires registration before you can access its large collection of historical and modern materials. This "Thinking Body Institute" calls this stuff Somatics, and I suspect that Bonpensiere's material fits comfortably into a niche somewhere in this whole area. (I think another important and related term is kinesiology.)

It would be nice if someone interpreted and 'translated' Bonpensiere's book into modern simple prose. It's full of stuff like this:

"Do not confound the two notions: knowing what the hands are going to do and helping the hands do something. There is an enormous difference."

"If you look at a key, chord, or octave on the piano in order to strike it, do not consider the looking as a sensory guidance in the same light as in a physiological motion. You are not finding direction for your hand; you are just confirming a symbol."

"We must trust the volitional ideation with the managing of work."

"The expectation of an event is, dynamically, more powerful than the building-up, planning or carrying-out of the same event. Expectation has possibly reached the dynamics of end-results and it thus becomes an assured event. Building-up makes ideation go pari passu with the succeeding stages of the event's development."

"Our attention while practicing must be revisory (according to our conception of end-results) but not preparative of anything physiological."

"Ideo-Kinetics should never fail you, anymore than sunrise or sunset. You will always find the reason for any possible failure in your physiological train of thoughts."

I'd say your post is a big contribution to the content of this thread. I feel a lot of the problem with the reading of the book stems from his widow having written it based on his notes. Maybe if he had written it the outcome would have been different.
What bothers me greatly is that his Ideo Kinetic application could have so much impact that it could revolutionize piano technique, yet it looks as if its on its way to being relegated to the trash bin of history. I would love to see a group form to take on the study of this phenomenon with his book being one of the main guidances for improving and better organizing our understanding.

Offline maxim3

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 03:08:42 AM »
I've been thinking a bit about this Bonpensiere - ideokinetics stuff, and reflecting on what I've found through my bit of internet research, and I'm afraid I'm a bit unimpressed by it all.

Consider the circumstantial evidence (please consult the Wikipedia article on this concept, it's more than adequate):

- Bonpensiere's book was published in 1953. That is more than a half century ago. It was never reprinted. [For those too young to understand what the world was like before the Internet, that means: 'It was pretty much forgotten.']

- Most professional pianists of today have never heard of it. None of the major piano schools, conservatories, pedagogues, or even piano-related websites award it the status of a CRUCIAL text -- if they even mention it at all.

- No reputable concert pianist, as far I know, has ever mentioned the name 'Bonpensiere.'

I could go on, but if you really understand the concept of 'circumstantial evidence', you probably get my point: The world of piano teaching and playing is simply not interested in Bonpensiere, and that has been the case for all of the nearly 70 years since the book was published.

Conclusion: If Bonpensiere's book really offered some faster or better way to progress in learning the piano than all the other methods, someone (that is, someone important) would have noticed it by now.
 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #10 on: September 14, 2019, 03:44:06 AM »
I had a quick skim through the book which I link here for those who don't want to search for it:
 
https://kupdf.net/download/new-pathways-to-piano-technique-luigi-bonpensiere_58cec9d9dc0d60223bc34605_pdf

Trying to describe technique in words will always leave us with confusion since the exact interpretation and application of the instructions depends on the individual. I feel that this book would be more confusing than helpful for those who are developing their piano learning/playing skills. It would be better just to get on with the job of practicing your learning and playing skills with works you can efficiently deal with and not worry about playing "perfectly" and trust your skills will change and improve over time.

I also am not certain why much of the examples I browsed in the book instructed playing with your eyes closed. There seemed to be a huge emphasis placed on this. Even when sight reading works with your eyes glued to the sheets you can still see the keyboard and you learn to use that, even if you look at one hand you can still see the other, unless you are blind I don't see the need to place such emphasis on not looking at anything while playing!

Look at page 52+53 it talked about playing a CDEFG scale up and down with the right hand, but it took 2 pages to describe ways to think about it but after you go through all these motions and think about it all what is it trying to teach? To me it seemed clumsy and lacked any real depth. It took me just under 5 minutes to read and understand those two pages and consider how it might attach itself to training students, however I took away pretty much nothing interesting. Perhaps there are more interesting parts elsewhere?

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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 06:25:10 AM »
I had a quick skim through the book which I link here for those who don't want to search for it:
 
https://kupdf.net/download/new-pathways-to-piano-technique-luigi-bonpensiere_58cec9d9dc0d60223bc34605_pdf

Trying to describe technique in words will always leave us with confusion since the exact interpretation and application of the instructions depends on the individual. I feel that this book would be more confusing than helpful for those who are developing their piano learning/playing skills. It would be better just to get on with the job of practicing your learning and playing skills with works you can efficiently deal with and not worry about playing "perfectly" and trust your skills will change and improve over time.

I also am not certain why much of the examples I browsed in the book instructed playing with your eyes closed. There seemed to be a huge emphasis placed on this. Even when sight reading works with your eyes glued to the sheets you can still see the keyboard and you learn to use that, even if you look at one hand you can still see the other, unless you are blind I don't see the need to place such emphasis on not looking at anything while playing!

Look at page 52+53 it talked about playing a CDEFG scale up and down with the right hand, but it took 2 pages to describe ways to think about it but after you go through all these motions and think about it all what is it trying to teach? To me it seemed clumsy and lacked any real depth. It took me just under 5 minutes to read and understand those two pages and consider how it might attach itself to training students, however I took away pretty much nothing interesting. Perhaps there are more interesting parts elsewhere?
I believe it was pointed out near the start of the book that the technique works better with the eyes closed, something I can understand since it could aid in the release.
The experiment on p. 45 might interest you. As I mentioned, it amazed me.
Actually, I'm surprised the book has as much value as it does given that it is merely a compilation by the widow, of notes made by her late husband, who had died 9 years before the book was published.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 06:34:05 AM »
I've been thinking a bit about this Bonpensiere - ideokinetics stuff, and reflecting on what I've found through my bit of internet research, and I'm afraid I'm a bit unimpressed by it all.

Consider the circumstantial evidence (please consult the Wikipedia article on this concept, it's more than adequate):

- Bonpensiere's book was published in 1953. That is more than a half century ago. It was never reprinted. [For those too young to understand what the world was like before the Internet, that means: 'It was pretty much forgotten.']

- Most professional pianists of today have never heard of it. None of the major piano schools, conservatories, pedagogues, or even piano-related websites award it the status of a CRUCIAL text -- if they even mention it at all.

- No reputable concert pianist, as far I know, has ever mentioned the name 'Bonpensiere.'

I could go on, but if you really understand the concept of 'circumstantial evidence', you probably get my point: The world of piano teaching and playing is simply not interested in Bonpensiere, and that has been the case for all of the nearly 70 years since the book was published.

Conclusion: If Bonpensiere's book really offered some faster or better way to progress in learning the piano than all the other methods, someone (that is, someone important) would have noticed it by now.
You make some good points, and I can't really counter you except to say that my gut tells me there could be something to it. I believe I read where Keith Jarrett found the book useful. Somehow I get the feeling that a book like this might slip through the crack, so to speak, more easily than one might think.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 02:17:26 PM »
I believe it was pointed out near the start of the book that the technique works better with the eyes closed, something I can understand since it could aid in the release.
I don't think it matters one way or the other. It is almost like saying things like, if you sway more while you play you will play with more expression.

The experiment on p. 45 might interest you. As I mentioned, it amazed me.
Actually, I'm surprised the book has as much value as it does given that it is merely a compilation by the widow, of notes made by her late husband, who had died 9 years before the book was published.
I just don't see the practical use of just doing these exercises totally without looking. Surely the benefits of an exercise doesn't require one to do it blindly. In any case, practicing leaps without looking, I guess it has some practical useage but it just isn't something so important to dedicate such an amount of attention to.
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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #14 on: September 14, 2019, 04:18:57 PM »
I don't think it matters one way or the other. It is almost like saying things like, if you sway more while you play you will play with more expression.
I just don't see the practical use of just doing these exercises totally without looking. Surely the benefits of an exercise doesn't require one to do it blindly. In any case, practicing leaps without looking, I guess it has some practical useage but it just isn't something so important to dedicate such an amount of attention to.
I may be proved wrong, but it seems to me you have to look deeper into all this. Maybe there's a bigger picture here that you don't think possible. But I think there's enough of a possibility for significant benefit that I will continue, at least for awhile. True, the leaps without looking, is of little interest by itself. But the fact that it suggests that there may be much wider, useful (maybe even spectacular) application on the horizon, is what I'm after. Anyway, I was a research chemist most of my career, and to me, this kind of stuff is fun. I do fear, however, that it takes me somewhat away from my main goal of being a better pianist. In any event, I appreciate your comments.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #15 on: September 15, 2019, 02:11:29 AM »
I may be proved wrong, but it seems to me you have to look deeper into all this. Maybe there's a bigger picture here that you don't think possible.
Perhaps though I really don't feel so in terms of this "doing things blindly". I teach piano for a living for the last 20+ years so this kind of thing is my professional interest. There is no need to practice for instance playing the entire keyboard in octave scales with the eyes closed BEFORE one has had many examples of real pieces they have played and studied. Through learning many pieces you will understand the contour of the piano a great deal better than these isolated experiments with the eyes closed. In fact you will be able to play blindly as a result of the many pieces you have learned. This seems the appropriate path rather than testing the functions isolated from piece experience. In saying this, the aim is not to be able to play blindly, that may be a result of many piece experience but it is not an ultimate aim. There might be more interesting ideas in the book, I really didn't read through it thoroughly, would be glad to discuss any parts of interest.
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Offline ted

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #16 on: September 15, 2019, 09:27:44 AM »
I downloaded that, read it all and didnít understand a bloody thing.
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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #17 on: September 15, 2019, 05:50:44 PM »
I downloaded that, read it all and didnít understand a bloody thing.

Its not surprising to me that even the brightest among us would have trouble grasping what's in this book. On top of being poorly written it gets quite abstract and seemingly "other worldly" right from the start. I have a few things going for me that many don't. I now realize, especially when I get on Facebook, that at this point in my life, at least, I've acquired the gift of being a good thinker, and a critical thinker, at that. Much of it comes from a career as an R&D chemist where if I didn't have these traits, I would have failed. On top of that I've been much involved with Alexander Technique for 7 years which gives me a big head start in understand Release and how to get it - - and more. And I do think that old geezer wisdom has something to do with it.  I'm now on p.74 of the book, often repeatedly going thru many passages to get better understanding. Sometimes I feel I get this understanding, and sometimes I know I don't. I am finding that understanding is improved if, after thoroughly going over a section, I sleep on it. On going over it next day, at least some of the fog gets lifted. My experience on P.45 mentioned above, really sold me on the idea that there's something very interesting to this, and that this experience is just a snap shot of the immensity to this technique. I'm not so sold on what the author seems to be presenting it as a panacea for traditional piano technique. And if all this has merit, I don't see switching from physio kinetics to ideo kinetics as being an easy task. I'm scratching my head more than a little regarding this symbols/points concept. But it may be that I just have to read on and will get enlightened. In any event, I think this area warrants solid research by smarter and more pointedly knowledgeable minds than I possess.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #18 on: September 16, 2019, 01:35:38 AM »
Perhaps though I really don't feel so in terms of this "doing things blindly". I teach piano for a living for the last 20+ years so this kind of thing is my professional interest. There is no need to practice for instance playing the entire keyboard in octave scales with the eyes closed BEFORE one has had many examples of real pieces they have played and studied. Through learning many pieces you will understand the contour of the piano a great deal better than these isolated experiments with the eyes closed. In fact you will be able to play blindly as a result of the many pieces you have learned. This seems the appropriate path rather than testing the functions isolated from piece experience. In saying this, the aim is not to be able to play blindly, that may be a result of many piece experience but it is not an ultimate aim. There might be more interesting ideas in the book, I really didn't read through it thoroughly, would be glad to discuss any parts of interest.
I had started to get up a reply to you but had a computer crash and lost it. Now time is not on my side. So let me say this. I got a lot of confirmation about what I think the author is trying say in the paragraph on the bottom of p.74. Its not easy reading and I didn't feel it to be all that clear either. Yet thru all the murk I found value in the words of that paragraph. Its too bad Luigi didn't live on longer. But, of course, we can only wonder what more great things would be available to us today if Chopin, Shubert, (Charlie Parker, for that matter) and others had lived on.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #19 on: September 16, 2019, 02:30:49 AM »
Hmm im not sure what you are reading on p74 that is so striking, I don't think the writing is that difficult to understand but it lacks any real depth for me. Fancy terms and philospohy of thought doesn't neccesarily make things easier and in fact in this case it makes things more confusing I would say. The application of these ideas to actual music and actual practice method is what is missing throughout the book it seems.
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Offline ted

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #20 on: September 16, 2019, 04:19:39 AM »
...The application of these ideas to actual music and actual practice method is what is missing throughout the book it seems.

Exactly. My guess, in plain language, is that it has something to do with the feedback loops between conscious and unconscious thought in piano playing, where to lie on the spectrum between these extremes and how to make best use of the unconscious. I would have thought that improvisation would have played a very big part as an example of this but the section on it tells us nothing at all. To me, the article demonstrates why explanations about anything have to be couched in language external and common to both writer and reader. I could well assert that "the kafoozalum is the botherbumbose of the mong tang", which might have profound internal meaning for me while remaining nonsense for everyone else. Something cannot be explained through its own internal, mystical language. This is a major obstacle to most dialogue about religion and philosophy. It surprised me that Huxley endorsed the essay, perhaps he had had a few too many magic mushrooms. 
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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #21 on: September 16, 2019, 11:52:19 AM »
Hmm im not sure what you are reading on p74 that is so striking, I don't think the writing is that difficult to understand but it lacks any real depth for me. Fancy terms and philospohy of thought doesn't neccesarily make things easier and in fact in this case it makes things more confusing I would say. The application of these ideas to actual music and actual practice method is what is missing throughout the book it seems.
The fact that you said you had a quick skim thru the book tells me a lot.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #22 on: September 16, 2019, 11:55:09 AM »
Exactly. My guess, in plain language, is that it has something to do with the feedback loops between conscious and unconscious thought in piano playing, where to lie on the spectrum between these extremes and how to make best use of the unconscious. I would have thought that improvisation would have played a very big part as an example of this but the section on it tells us nothing at all. To me, the article demonstrates why explanations about anything have to be couched in language external and common to both writer and reader. I could well assert that "the kafoozalum is the botherbumbose of the mong tang", which might have profound internal meaning for me while remaining nonsense for everyone else. Something cannot be explained through its own internal, mystical language. This is a major obstacle to most dialogue about religion and philosophy. It surprised me that Huxley endorsed the essay, perhaps he had had a few too many magic mushrooms.
Huxley happens to be better known, and more highly regarded, than anyone coming to this forum that I'm aware of.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #23 on: September 16, 2019, 03:03:20 PM »
The fact that you said you had a quick skim thru the book tells me a lot.
*sigh* I don't have to read the entire book back to front to be able to comment about it.  Why don't you discuss passages of the actual book that you found so insightful. Discuss anything from it in detail so we can see what we can find from it.
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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #24 on: September 16, 2019, 05:27:43 PM »
*sigh* I don't have to read the entire book back to front to be able to comment about it.  Why don't you discuss passages of the actual book that you found so insightful. Discuss anything from it in detail so we can see what we can find from it.
There are places in the book where the reader can gain evidence of viability. Have you explored these?

Offline ted

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #25 on: September 16, 2019, 10:05:09 PM »
Huxley happens to be better known, and more highly regarded, than anyone coming to this forum that I'm aware of.

Oh for heavenís sake, I have long ago read pretty well everything Huxley wrote. As art it is magnificent but he had his inconsistencies like anybody else. I was just using one of them to lighten up an interminably serious discussion. Itís called humour.
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Offline alextrp7

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #26 on: September 16, 2019, 11:29:58 PM »
I don't see why eyes shut exercising doesn't make sense. It is proven that blind people can have other senses more developed. Even if most of the time it is necessary, looking at the keyboard is a distraction for our brain. There are less room for other senses, we can't fully focus on every one of them at the same time.
We need to exercise hands together, but doing hands separate is our best friend. If we translate this double work to the eyes, open and closed, could this lead to a stronger technique more quickly ?

I would like to have more details about what you understood in some parts of the book that you found interesting. I am not English fluent so I gave up the idea to read it by myself.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #27 on: September 17, 2019, 02:49:44 AM »
I don't see why eyes shut exercising doesn't make sense. It is proven that blind people can have other senses more developed.
I disagree that blindness is an advantage to playing music, in fact I firmly believe it is a disadvantage and poses a lot of difficultly for pianists who are blind. Yes they can excel but they have to overcome more hurdles than sighted players. It seems a fantasy to believe that blindness is an advantage to pianists and that sight poses some disadvantage. In fact one should not be worried about the need to "look" first and then learn to slowly move away from the constant need to directly look at it as your experience grows, but to simply rip away from it artificially does not present any useful teachings in my professional opinion.


There are places in the book where the reader can gain evidence of viability. Have you explored these?
I have offered a quite simple situation, please post anything from that book which you found interesting, this is not a challenge but it is asking you to actually show us what you found insightful so we can discuss it. A little more than just mentioning page number xx, some quotes some ideas as to what it means, some elaboration as to what is interesting.

Another example, take page 87 (marked in the book itself), it takes about the touches of ppp-fff with example 69, it really goes into some strange ideas here, it proclaims that it will define how someone with "Physio-Kinetics" would approach it, have the idea only that one needs to "convey little power to fingers" and "add a little more power" and then proclaims that there is a "problem with the infinitesimal proportion of power" and not even defining this problem at all in detail as to why it is such a problem, all these terms are thrown about without any definintion, what does it actually mean to "add a little more power" or to take away from it? How does one actually do this? What thoughts are going through the mind?

It states that amateur pianists have no chance of producing ppp touches "can never produce" as stated in the book, which to me is a very defeatist attitude that is not supported with actual music evidence that someone could try to prove the point. It does not even elaborate how one might go about developing ppp touches merely suggests it is out of the reach of amateurs. It doesn't look at actual musical context but a fragment of notes as an example where in practical situations we need to know what the entire piece (the composer, the landscape of the entire piece under consideration) is about to intelligently measure our touches to this context.

It finishes with "In Ideo Kinetics only the ideas of different gradations in sound intensity need to be held" This seems to me as the final nail in the coffin here for practical application since they just want it to be an idea which is all that is required. This to me is very difficult to appreciate as useful since as pianists we want practical applications which have direct benefit, not just ideas which are meant to remain as ideas only. It seems it would have been useful to describe these ideas connected to actual pieces and composers, using this simple example 69 is quite shallow.



What about page 109 (written in the book). Example 86 shows how one might look at rhythm by considering a passage just as a single note pulse. This can be helpful in some situations but it has a problem of adding extra steps to our mastery of a passage which is only necessary if you are struggling with the rhythm. One would consider is it really necessary to do this step and rather would it be more logical to maintain all the notes and work on ways to understand the segementation of the beat (observing it as 2 groups of 4 semiquavers per bar which could be highlighted on the music with colored brackets if required)? Also trying to tap out a single note in rapid time can be difficult and reducing this to simply the same note would make the tempo of your rhythmic attempts rather slow not to mention that it also avoids the actual direction you will have to take when the actual pitches are used.

In a practical situation it would be wise to maintain all the notes and break down the rhythm with other tools which accelerate learning the passage and not merely adding more steps. Reducing the direction of the notes to a simple line of pulses also doesn't help solve the actual playing of the passage which has direction connected with the rhythm. So you are segmenting rhythm from actual performance and then the challenge will be to combine them again which I don't believe would be an easier process than simply avoiding this segmentation and using appropriate reading tools to solve the situation immediately. Even shifting the note values up the chart could help struggling readers, make the quavers into crotchets or minums or even semibreves and shift the rest up accordingly, this can help people understand the segmentation of the beat if what is originally there feels imposing.
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Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #28 on: September 17, 2019, 04:22:32 AM »
Lostinwonder - You're now way ahead of me for I had to put this aside for awhile. But I must say you've certainly gone into this in depth, and you make some good points. I'm not sure when I will come back to this. In any event, thanks for your valued input.

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #29 on: September 17, 2019, 04:33:08 AM »
I don't see why eyes shut exercising doesn't make sense. It is proven that blind people can have other senses more developed. Even if most of the time it is necessary, looking at the keyboard is a distraction for our brain. There are less room for other senses, we can't fully focus on every one of them at the same time.
We need to exercise hands together, but doing hands separate is our best friend. If we translate this double work to the eyes, open and closed, could this lead to a stronger technique more quickly ?

I would like to have more details about what you understood in some parts of the book that you found interesting. I am not English fluent so I gave up the idea to read it by myself.

Its hard enough to read the book if one is English fluent, so I don't know how you would even go about it if you're not.
I took some Alexander Technique lessons from the marvelous local pianist, Michael Serio. He reads some pieces during recitals, but for the pieces he has memorized, he plays mostly with eyes closed. Dew Fairy is one piece that comes to mind. I've never asked him why he plays blindly, but it may be of advantage to him somehow to play blindly.

Offline alextrp7

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #30 on: September 17, 2019, 11:40:16 AM »
I disagree that blindness is an advantage to playing music ...

I haven't say that blindness was an advantage and I don't recommend to play eyes closed as a habit.
But during training session it may be valuable to alternate playing with eyes opened and then closed. Just like we exercise hands separate then together.
Sight fills the brain with a high load of information to compute. When we close the eyes, we can focus even more or other senses like touch, sense of space, body movements, feelings ...

Elton John (of course not the best example as a piano player), always performs eyes closed. Just like meditation, you cut your mind from the outside and it let you be even more in the present moment. I don't see anything wrong if you can play your piece eyes shut, you should perform even better.

Quote
I took some Alexander Technique lessons from the marvelous local pianist, Michael Serio. He reads some pieces during recitals, but for the pieces he has memorized, he plays mostly with eyes closed. Dew Fairy is one piece that comes to mind. I've never asked him why he plays blindly, but it may be of advantage to him somehow to play blindly.

I am very interested in the Alexander Technique. I can't find any practical website or video about it. What did you learn and how did it affect your playing ?

Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #31 on: September 17, 2019, 04:52:48 PM »
I haven't say that blindness was an advantage and I don't recommend to play eyes closed as a habit.
But during training session it may be valuable to alternate playing with eyes opened and then closed. Just like we exercise hands separate then together.
Sight fills the brain with a high load of information to compute. When we close the eyes, we can focus even more or other senses like touch, sense of space, body movements, feelings ...

Elton John (of course not the best example as a piano player), always performs eyes closed. Just like meditation, you cut your mind from the outside and it let you be even more in the present moment. I don't see anything wrong if you can play your piece eyes shut, you should perform even better.

I am very interested in the Alexander Technique. I can't find any practical website or video about it. What did you learn and how did it affect your playing ?

I find forums, for either piano or AT, to be relatively useless for info. AT first helped to remove tension and at the start, relieve back pain. Basically, its about tension removal. Simply do a google search on it to get started. Tension removal makes playing easier, and I feel makes one a better pianist.

Offline alextrp7

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #32 on: September 18, 2019, 03:28:46 PM »
I find forums, for either piano or AT, to be relatively useless for info. AT first helped to remove tension and at the start, relieve back pain. Basically, its about tension removal. Simply do a google search on it to get started. Tension removal makes playing easier, and I feel makes one a better pianist.

That's right, nothing much to find about AT on the web. Sessions with a personal trainer seem to be overpriced too. I don't see why a technique like that couldn't be explained online. On the other hand, so much people talk about it. It raises doubts and some people see it at some kind of pyramidal scheme to raise money ...
In a few words, could you explain what you learned ?

That would be cool if we could have a ALA Chang/Bernard not conventional  ideas thread.
Though that would be difficult. So many closed minded people here and there -_-

What do you think about Chang's following statement :

"The age of  "you can't play this  for ten years because it is too difficult" is also over"

Also he writes about the numerous videos with very young players who can play very advanced pieces. Hands size and body strength don't seem to be a limitation.
This matter was already discussed a lot, I know.

Some say that they young people can learn a new language very quickly, but the fact is that adults can do the very same nowadays.

I don't buy that every thing is easier because they are children. Most probably we haven't come with effective methods and we are prisoner of our self made limitations. There is the weight of the old and pretentious traditional way of learning the piano too. I'm sure that people like Chopin or Liszt would completely disagree with what came after their death.

New way of learning languages came over the last century and anybody can now learn a new language in just a few months. I did experience it myself with Vietnamese some years ago.
Does it mean that we haven't came with an effective piano method yet ? Or that piano can't be learned easily as a new language ?
Again, I don't buy that.
Hanon is still be taught by teachers nowadays, it means a lot for me. There is probably a lot of room to improve things.







Offline attaboy

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #33 on: September 18, 2019, 10:47:34 PM »
That's right, nothing much to find about AT on the web. Sessions with a personal trainer seem to be overpriced too. I don't see why a technique like that couldn't be explained online. On the other hand, so much people talk about it. It raises doubts and some people see it at some kind of pyramidal scheme to raise money ...
In a few words, could you explain what you learned ?

That would be cool if we could have a ALA Chang/Bernard not conventional  ideas thread.
Though that would be difficult. So many closed minded people here and there -_-

What do you think about Chang's following statement :

"The age of  "you can't play this  for ten years because it is too difficult" is also over"

Also he writes about the numerous videos with very young players who can play very advanced pieces. Hands size and body strength don't seem to be a limitation.
This matter was already discussed a lot, I know.

Some say that they young people can learn a new language very quickly, but the fact is that adults can do the very same nowadays.

I don't buy that every thing is easier because they are children. Most probably we haven't come with effective methods and we are prisoner of our self made limitations. There is the weight of the old and pretentious traditional way of learning the piano too. I'm sure that people like Chopin or Liszt would completely disagree with what came after their death.

New way of learning languages came over the last century and anybody can now learn a new language in just a few months. I did experience it myself with Vietnamese some years ago.
Does it mean that we haven't came with an effective piano method yet ? Or that piano can't be learned easily as a new language ?
Again, I don't buy that.
Hanon is still be taught by teachers nowadays, it means a lot for me. There is probably a lot of room to improve things.

There's a ton of info on AT on the web, and reference to good books. I JUST HAVEN'T FOUND IT ON FACEBOOK GROUPS. This forum and another one whose name starts with piano have been of some benefit to me.

Offline wkmt

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Re: New pathways to Piano Technique by Luigi Bonpensiere
«Reply #34 on: January 24, 2020, 03:52:30 PM »
Learning a new piano technique is always a considerable challenge. That's why the choice of which piano technique to follow is one of the most important decisions you need to make as a pianist.

I have been working recently with a piano student "Georgios Kommatas" at my London studio. He is also a teacher here, so the challenge was double, he needed to learn a new technique for him to use it as a performer, but also, he needed to learn it very well so he could teach it.

He went through patches in which he felt genuinely frustrated, but overall, the results are amazing. The Scaramuzza piano technique is one of the world's most famous piano techniques. Georgios explains his tip into learning this technique at the WKMT Blog https://www.piano-composer-teacher-london.co.uk/post/my-experience-in-learning-the-scaramuzza-piano-technique

The way we go deep into the piano technique is by acknowledging the physical dimension of piano playing as a subject on itself. There is so much to be said about the mechanics of playing the piano that I believe, it requires a full focus on it from time to time.