I am devoting this chapter entirely to the subject of how to practise the piano, and shall try to point out here what I have
found from my experience to be the most efficacious way of setting about it. Broadly speaking, the cardinal rules to be observed in all practising should be, first, great attention to detail ; secondary,avoid any over-fatigue, both mental and physical. It is also most necessary for the attainment of the best results to set up from the outset some fixed schedule of practising. Systematically ordered work is such an inestimable help in all stages of piano playing, but more especially in the elementary one, as I myself well know, for I had the good fortune to start my pianoforte education with teachers who were steeped in the best traditions. My first one was my father, Prof. Michael Hambourg, who had been a pupil of Nicholas Rubinstein ; while my second, the famous Leschetitzky, had studied with Czerny.And Czerny especially represents the school of pianoforte playing which has produced many of the greatest pianists of modern times, his influence extending through Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, Tausig, etc., down to many famous pianists of to-day.
Tips about how to practise the piano
Therefore I am a great believer in starting to study according to a good method, or school, as we call it. Such a method will train the mind and fingers in a definite and organized trend of technical development. Of course, it is a good thing as well to acquire a theoretical and general musical education, but I think, especially in the training of children who intend to become professionals later on, that it is imperative that their main energy and time should be directed first of all to learning how to master the technical difficulties of their instrument. I do not believe that musical children learn much away from the piano, at least they cannot acquire the actual – mechanical facility of playing except at the keyboard. I wish to lay stress on this fact, because there are in fashion just now so many clever ways of educating children musically. For instance, they are taught how to compose fugues in imitation of Bach after a few hours of tuition, etc. This kind of instruction is doubtless of advantage in stimulating general musical knowledge and, above all, for training unmusical little ones and developing the faculty which might otherwise be completely lost to them, but in the education of the young pianist such systems must never be allowed to obscure the main issue, which has always to be, first of all,
the acquirement of absolute proficiency at the keyboard.
How to practise the piano in early childhood
Practice in early childhood should never be for a period of
more than half an hour, and the whole amount to be done should not exceed one hour. Also care ought to be taken to procure music for children to study which will appeal to their imaginations, and even their exercises should be in pleasant forms of sound, which will help to keep them interested. And the best thing is to instil as soon as possible into the mind of the child the desire for beauty of touch and clearness of execution.