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A Book Review “The Non-Musician’s Guide to Parenting a Piano Player: A Handbook Designed for Parents of Piano Students” by Peter Walsh

May 22, 2016
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I recently had the great pleasure of reading a newly published book designed as a guide for non-musical parents in providing support to their child learning piano.  The book includes information about:
— choosing the right teacher for your child
— selecting the best instrument for your needs and within your ability to afford
— determining what is sufficient and appropriate practice (and what that looks and sounds like for the observing parent)
— determining how much practice time is best for your child to practice, and how to maximize your child’s time while practicing
— the importance of learning how to use the body properly when studying the piano (such as how to sit properly, how to play in a relaxed manner, etc)
— preparing for successful performances
— an overview of technique, theory, sight reading, and music history.

Peter is an Australian pianist who performs, records, teaches and holds workshops and masterclasses both in Europe and Australia.  He is the Senior Ensemble and Chamber Music teacher at the Sydney Conservatorium High School.  He also has a large studio of young pianists whom he teaches.

Peter Walsh has a fresh approach and a unique way of saying things that are thought provoking.  He is honest about his own experiences as a student as well as a teacher.  Peter expressed in his book some of the very same thoughts I have had over the years as a music student, pianist and teacher.  I found it particularly refreshing that he confronted the issue of music snobbery head-on and honestly and succinctly called it out for what it is, pedantic elitism.  Musical study in general, and specifically that of the piano, can be such a wonderful, enchanting experience if it is approached properly and with a correct attitude and understanding of musical culture.  But music snobbery can become an obstacle which hinders the progress of the piano student.  As Peter explains, “…The pedantry musicians embark upon doesn’t qualify or disqualify another’s attempt at making art… Don’t get caught up in the elitism of piano culture.  It is ugly, and often propagated by those who wish to distinguish themselves.  The difference between what a truly gifted pianist can do and what most could learn, given the right circumstances, is not large enough to warrant the dismissal of studying the piano altogether.”  I could not agree more!

“The Non-Musician’s Guide to Parenting a Piano Player” is an excellent piano resource, one which I highly recommend.  You can get a copy of Peter’s book online (at Amazon.com).  And you can follow him online at:

facebook.com/AustralianPianistPeterWalsh

twitter.com/PianistWalsh

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