Written by Fiona Lau.
How I would have loved a book like this when I was starting out as a piano teacher! Anthony Williams is an experienced piano teacher for of all levels of pianists, which is lucky for us all! He is also a concert pianist, writer, lecturer and adjudicator. Williams has given many lectures on the art of teaching, delivered master classes and has suggested inspiring ways to teach the ABRSM piano syllabus repertoire to hosts of piano teachers. If Williams is on the programme of a conference or seminar, I am there like a shot.
This book covers everything we piano teachers could ever need to know with practicality and honesty. From the first lesson to fingering, from technique to teaching skills; Williams is engaging and clear. Reading the book is like having a wise and experienced friend available to answer all the questions you ever wanted to ask about piano teaching.
It starts with “What makes a good piano teacher?”. This chapter reminds us of what we do, what skills we may need and many of the other how, what and why questions that we should address about our pupils and teaching. These questions are dealt with in further detail in the following chapters, including: developing a curriculum; first lesson ideas; foundation skills; strategies for practice; technical skills; choosing repertoire and performance; interpretation; and many more subjects besides. In fact, it’s safe to say that if you have a question about piano teaching, the answer can probably be found within these pages.
One of the book’s greatest strengths is its detailed but practical explanations of teaching technique. Techniques for tone, touch and balance; the art of articulation, exploring the pedal – it’s all there and it’s easy to read. You could sit down and read the whole book or you could pick out the sections that interest you at any particular time.
Each chapter has sections headed Musical context and practical examples and Clinic. These cover the problems we all encounter suggests solutions to them. One of my favourite problems is: “Pupils insist they are practising but arrive with little learnt or improved.”. First of all, it’s such a relief that other teachers experience this! The solution: Ask them to practise a small section in front of you; take them through an organised practice session; design a practice structure for each pupil’s stage of development. There are tons of sensible ideas and solutions to your problems, all laid out clearly and concisely on the page. The final chapters in the book discuss performance; dealing with nerves; and life, the universe, the dots on the page.
In short, this book answers just about everything you will likely ever need to know about teaching piano.
The Piano Teacher’s Survival Guide is a comprehensive and practical guide providing essential advice for all piano teachers. It focuses on the best ways to support pupils and develop their love of the piano. The Piano Teacher’s Survival Guide has many case studies, musical examples and problem-solving clinics.