Purrfect Practice was created by Australian piano teacher Jackie Sharp. Her new Technique Trainer 1 is intended as the first volume in a three-part series of e-books of technical and musical exercises that develop the many skills necessary for achieving excellence and artistry at the piano.
With an engaging and accessible design, Technique Trainer covers all the main technical aspects of piano playing, including advice on correct hand shape, together with an understanding of the importance of the involvement of the wrists and arms in piano playing. There are attractive illustrations to demonstrate key points and 25 exercises to enable students to practise the techniques outlined in the book. In addition, there are 25 bonus “learning activities” to help students increase their awareness and apply the techniques studied in their practising. All the exercises encourage students to assess their playing as they tick off completed goals. The book also includes links to video demos made by the author which offer visual guidance and help reinforce each exercise.
The book packs a lot into its 60 pages and some of the technique covered is quite advanced, including using arm weight to create dynamic shading, different kinds of staccato and detached touch, voicing chords, poly-rhythms, and trills. For younger or less advanced students, the book would work well if used by the teacher in conjunction with other repertoire as a way of teaching and reinforcing aspects of technique. The older or more advanced student would probably be happy to work through the book independently and in their own time. All the exercises demonstrate how technique is used as a foundation for developing artistry and expression at the piano.
My only reservations about the book are occasional technical terms which are not fully explained or clarified (e.g. “mezzo staccato“) which assume a certain level of knowledge. The quality of the video clips is rather patchy. But on the whole, Technique Trainer offers a very useful and clearly designed tutor book for piano teachers and students alike.
For further information about the book and its author, please visit www.purrfectpractice.com.au
Future books include ‘Scales – the Purrfect Practice’