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85 of 88 found the following review helpful:
classic for techniqueApr 22, 2004
These exercises are invaluable to those looking to develop dexterity on the keyboard, especially in terms of digital independence. They have stood the test of time and are beloved for their simple progression of concepts and interesting patterns.
Educators and students alike will benefit from this collection of exercises. These studies are meant to played slowly with proper technique and then eventually faster and more confidently...thus, the School of Velocity.
Do yourself and/or your students a favor and pick up a copy of this book.
52 of 53 found the following review helpful:
Exceptional exercises for the advancing studentJul 28, 2009
By Erica Bell
As a casual piano student thirty years ago, I stumbled on a School of Velocity collection at a rummage sale. Curious as to who would have the gumption to come up with such a great title (wouldn't it be a fabbo name for a band?), I paid up, took the tattered book home, tried out the first exercise...and INSTANTLY felt a difference. I'm so serious about this bold statement that I'll say it again: I INSTANTLY felt a difference--in my speed, dexterity, expression, the whole nine yards.
"Oh, sure", you scoff. "Like some ancient piano composer/teacher's little tunes are gonna improve MY bumpus fingers!" Yes, my friend, they will. Why? First and foremost, because they're great tunes. The melodies drag you in and make practicing fun. When was the last time you had fun playing Hanon?
These pieces fly all over the keyboard, and as you get better, you'll speed up too. They're big and epic, so let's face it--you'll feel much cooler than you probably are! And the technique--you'll learn to roll your hands, cross over easily, finger like a pro. They're challenging, too--I've not yet finished the book. If you're a serious, intermediate-level piano student, do yourself a favor and buy Czerny's classic "School of Velocity" collection. You won't regret it.
30 of 30 found the following review helpful:
GreatMar 27, 2008
By Otavio Tallarico
It is essential for students, Everyone should study Czerny's Studies. It has a good reviewing and the press is really black: you see everynote. The negative point is the book format, it should be spiral formatted, because it is almost impossible to leave this book opened and flat on the piano.
17 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Wonderful exercises if taught to the student well. Torture if just plopped in front of them.Mar 21, 2013
By Craig Matteson
Carl Czerny studied with Beethoven and became the father of the piano technique so many of us use today. He taught many students and the two most important were Franz Liszt and Theodor Leschetizky. These two were not only important performers in the 19th Century, they taught a huge percentage of the famous virtuosi and successful amateur piano players of their day. In fact, many pianists today can easily trace their "lineage" back through this line. For example, I studied with David Kahn who studied with Arthur Friedheim who was one of Liszt's long time disciples who studied with Czerny who studied with Beethoven. Not that I am a significant pianist in any way, but what I did learn and what I can do are based on the music and techniques of those famous performers and teachers and what I learned at the University of Michigan School of Music.
Over the course of my life with the piano I have grown deep appreciation for this volume of studies for the piano. Not really for its stated purpose of building speed at the keyboard. In my view, the metronome markings are hogwash. I have heard a computer version of a few at the stated tempo and it is quite impressive, but I can't think of too many people who would be capable of playing at such a high rate of speed who would want to bother with these exercises. They are really for the aspiring intermediate student who wants to learn to play over the whole range of the keyboard with some facility. I think the student should approach the four sets of studies with a view of getting familiar with them the first time learning to count and play steadily. Getting some more facility and freer musicality the second time. Building even more speed and tone and even more musicality the third time. And after that, whatever you can get as far as you can push it. But don't beat the exercises to death with the idea of sticking with each one until you can get it `up to tempo'. You won't be able to do it. This is a multi-year project, if we are honest about it.
Another problem too many people have with these is they focus on speed and not musicality. They play them as drearily as too many people play the Hanon exercises (another awful mistake). These are pieces of music first, exercises second, and virtuoso pieces last. In my view.
Certainly, the worst thing you can do with these exercises is to simply plop the book in front of a student and tell them to play it. As a teacher, you have to take the time to make the music understandable, and give the student some notion of what they are after in learning this exercise. Give them some guideposts along the way. For example, the famous first piece of the first book; don't just look at the runs of scales, but notice the fact that Czerny is building a scale of scales. That is, the first run begins on c, the second on d, the third on e and so on. This helps the student learn that he or she does not have to learn to read each silly note, but to think in larger structures, which is the way we play fast anyway. But count. Always count.
There is an unavoidable dividing line that will come with only the rarest of exceptions. Students who will not count can only go so far and students who learn to keep time well can become the most musical because they can internalize the timing and allow the slight variations that true musicality demands without ever losing the underlying pulse or heartbeat of the piece.
I recommend this collection for every student, but only from a teacher who understands the works and can teach them properly.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Play these with relaxed, light fingers and handsAug 23, 2010
By World Traveler
These are good exercises for lightness and fastness of the fingers; play them with very light, very relaxed hands, relaxed fingers and arms, otherwise it will be very taxing to achieve "velocity" and you will eventually strain yourself. Make sure you do not feel any tension doing these, otherwise, consciously relax the hands. Most of these are like actual pieces, though they are usually just played as exercises. I had done the Hanon and Cramer exercises as a child; they served their purpose. These are more melodically interesting, but more difficult to just sit down and sight-read at tempo. I have to really work at these.
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