I recently received this question from a teacher in California who has been using our Premier Piano Course materials, along with the Technique Books. He asked:
I love the Alfred Premier technique books. I have a question regarding them..
This may sound like a dumb question, but as a teacher.. am I to assume that
the way the Technique books work is that after the student has gone through them all
and completed all the exercises and concepts such as rising wrist, beautiful arches, arm weight, etc…
that the concepts will start showing up in their playing when they play songs in the other books? - Lesson, Repertoire, supplements, etc…
In other words, as a process of osmosis, once they have done the technique concepts SO MUCH in
the technique books, is it expected by the authors of Alfred premier that those concepts will become their
regular technique approach in the expression of their playing of any future song?
Here is my response:
Thanks so much for your thoughtful letter! I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the Premier Piano course, and are using the Technique Books with your students. These books were probably the hardest ones in the entire series to write——everyone has their own “ideas” on how best to teach technique, but we (the authors) all felt strongly that so much of good technique resides not only with how we move the body, i.e. arms, wrists, fingers, upper torso——all in combination, as well as training the ears to listen. I’m particularly sensitive to the importance of istening, and then “remembering” the exact sensation that we have in the hands when the sound is exactly what we want!
The Technique Books are simply designed to give you and your students a good “backdrop” and foundation for applying these particular skills (technique tools) to use in everything that is practiced. I don’t think of these books as separate entities——but rather a “guide” for how we approach every piece. You’re right in the sense that it is a process of “osmosis”, but the concepts need to be applied to everything the student is doing in each book (Lesson, Performance, Pop & Movie Hits, etc.)———all at the same time, in order for the process of “osmosis” to really occur. In other words, just doing the exercises over and over in the Technique Books alone won’t always magically transfer over into the repertoire. We, as teachers, need to show the students how these technique concepts are prevalent in ALL of the books, and that if we learn to see where these concepts can be applied to all styles of music, THEN the examples and exercises in the Technique books will have indeed served their purpose.
I hope this all makes sense to you. I’ve always felt that technique is often the hardest thing to get across to young pianists, and our hope is that these “technique tools” within each level of the books will help students develop a technique vocabulary that will stay with them for many years!
All best wishes to you and your students as you begin another successful year of teaching———please feel free to write anytime!