Sometimes a love for the piano doesn’t have to be about playing! Many pianists find their time being caught up in theory or practice books, but forget to take some downtime and learn more about the rich tapestry of the instrument that they enjoy so much!
Throughout this incredible instrument’s history, there have been countless tales told and phenomena occurring around the piano. Today we explore a few of our favourite books and biographies about those who have shaped the piano to what it is today and the stories which help bring a love for the piano to life!
Whilst we’ve just said about not getting to caught up in theory or learning, Penelope Roskell’s ‘The Complete Pianist’ opts for an entirely new and unique approach to healthy piano playing. Based on a lifetime of experience of teaching and performing, but also on “ground-breaking research into healthy piano playing” Roskell has created and innovative approach to piano technique that accounts for natural movement to achieve a rich range of sound in your play.
This book is not a normal read in bed kind of book, no it is more like a bible for piano technique and experimentation. This is a book to open flat on a desk, with a piano in close proximity to experiment with as you read. The book also gives you access to hours of video lessons to follow along with.
A definite must for anyone looking to fall in love with piano and enhance your expressive technique!
In the summer of 2015, travel journalist Sophy Roberts headed to Mongolia and found herself deep in conversation with a talented young local pianist who didn’t have a proper instrument on which to play her beloved Bach and Beethoven.
In her quest to find her friend and instrument, Roberts encounters a strange phenomena and begins searching for pianos “washed up and abandoned” in Siberia, and for the stories of how they came to be there, and how they survived. The result is a fascinating story of Siberia’s history over the last 250 years, as Roberts travels across Russia and the Siberian provinces.
Looking for some creative inspiration? Look no further! Forrest Kinney’s ‘Creativity Beyond Compare’ is one such book that will be sure to help you overcome any creative blocks as you explore 18 different topics on the subject of creativity and artistic practice.
Drawing upon lessons from across the globe and both modern and traditional creative practices, this book articulates brilliantly how to move beyond common misunderstandings about creativity to discover one’s own genius, leaving a truly eye-opening account of how all of the arts and art lessons can aspire to.
Do you find that piano practice is often a chore? Or something that you continue to struggle with? Then this may be the book for you! Madeleine Bruser’s ‘The Art Of Practicing’ helps the modern musician take a step back from playing and reminds us of the reasons many of us fall in love with music in the first place.
Ideal for any musician or music lover to rediscover a passion for practicing and how to realign ourselves with the music we make, this book covers the practical, psychological, and spiritual approach to productive practicing.
Set in Norway, Oslo in April is a fascinating story that follows eight musicians from early morning on the first Saturday in April, to the symphony concert which they perform that evening in the Oslo Concert House.
A fun and relatively short novel to sink into the book discusses the lives of each musician and confronts a range of challenges through the day, but each musician is directed toward that special moment in the evening when, together, they will enter the musical world which they deeply love.
This is an ideal book for those beginning to learn the piano in adult life. The journey of an American journalist on sabbatical in Paris who passes and unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood when a world of brilliant piano history and music is brought to his attention.
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank is at once a beguiling portrait of a Paris not found on any map and a tender account of the awakening of a lost childhood passion.
For those looking to learn more about their favourite pianists and the lives they led, we’d highly recommend the series by Jan Swafford. From Brahms to Mozart to Beethoven, Swafford has brilliantly researched each subject and being a composer himself, speaks to a number of other musical prodigies throughout, giving the impression of being in the "inner circle" of musical high society for brief, but glorious moments.
Be forewarned however, these are no easy reads! Many of these artists lived a life of tragedy and it is painful to read Mozart's letters to his friend Michael Puchberg...imploring him for yet another loan. Whilst his sister writes that his only faults were that “he had too soft a heart, and did not know how to handle money."
A terrific read for anyone looking to learn more about their favourite musical names!
There you have it! A selection of amazing piano based and musical reads that will be sure to either ignite your creativity or fall deeper in love with this sensational instrument, want to learn more about the piano or playing tips and tricks? Explore our blog here!