I am delighted to be able to bring you news of a venture I’m launching this week, a series of interactive ebooks in several volumes based on Practising The Piano. It’s not simply a rehash of my blog – the material has been rewritten in more detail, with additional features such as video demonstrations, audio clips, numerous score excerpts, charts to print off and other interactive features. Right now, you can get beta versions of Volumes 1 and 2 of Part 1 (Practice Tools) at a discounted introductory price, with more volumes to come throughout the year. We have designed this with the iPad in mind, but you will be able to read it equally well on a computer.

When I started this blog back in 2011, I knew nothing about blogging. I just knew I wanted to write something about a subject I was passionate about that seemed sorely neglected both online and in print media – namely, the art of practising. It has always struck me how few piano teachers, even very famous ones, talk about this subject and yet the importance of what we do in our practice room between lessons (if we’re learning) or between concerts (if we’ve arrived!) cannot be overestimated. Our progress as pianists is determined not only by the amount of practice time we put in, but by the quality of what we do. We might spend hours at the piano, but if we don’t know exactly what we’re doing, 90% of it can be wasted in futile drilling, or mindless hit-and-miss repetition. Instead of improving, we might actually be ingraining bad habits by constantly repeating them.

I keep coming back to the analogy with the Olympic athlete, whose training regimen is supervised by an expert coach every step of the way, or with a craftsman (such as a watchmaker) who will know precisely what has to be done to make a product and to fix it should it go wrong. This is not so with the pianist! I was very lucky in that I had teachers who were very concerned with practising and showed me in no uncertain terms what had to be done, but I know from my experience that this is not the norm. I have made a point of passing this information onto my students, and (as much as is possible in writing) to readers of this blog.

I have managed to post to this blog on a weekly basis and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Many readers have told me how much they appreciate this, and I am sincerely grateful for all your contributions and feedback. Many of you have requested more video demonstrations of the sort that I offer on Pianist Magazine’s YouTube channel and therefore my ebook series has evolved in response to this and other suggestions. To give you an overview of what to expect, Part One (in three volumes – the first two are available now) covers the practice tools, Part Two is about the nuts and bolts of technique, and Part Three deals with all aspects of performance. Future volumes delve into areas such as style and interpretation, performance practice and ornamentation, musicianship, pedaling, touch, philosophy, bibliography as well as Q&A and much more that is still to be decided.

We are launching the first two volumes in “beta” mode which means that while the publications are fully functional and the content is of a high quality, there are still a few small issues that we are ironing out.  Furthermore, we would also like to obtain further feedback and suggestions during this beta phase in order to refine the final versions.  As a concession we are offering the publications at a reduced price of £2.50 each (or £4.00 for a bundle of both volumes) until the 31st of March 2013 following which each volume will cost £4.99.  If you purchase the beta publications you will automatically be upgraded to the final versions when they are launched.  Please click on the buttons at the bottom of this article to preview or purchase one or both of the publications.  Alternatively you can find out more about the series by clicking here.

I stress that Practising The Piano will remain a free resource, with many posts (old and new) remaining unaffected by the publication. As always, I welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions.

Volume 1

Buy a beta version of Volume 1 now for a special introductory price (Full launch price of £4.99 applies from 31 March) or click on the button below for a free preview.

Volume 2

Buy a beta version of Volume 2 now for a special introductory price (Full launch price of £4.99 applies from 31 March) or click on the button below for a free preview.

Special offer bundle – Volume 1 & 2 Bundle

Take advantage of our beta launch bundle and buy Practising The Piano Volumes 1 and 2 for a further 20% off the individual launch prices (Currently £2.50 per volume, full price of £4.99 per volume applies from 31 March).