The European piano-building tradition goes back hundreds of years, with more historical territory and context than any other region can claim. This explains why so many discussions about pianos often focus on European methods and brands, and to what degree this lineage is preserved. In fact, the modern piano inherits centuries of keyboard innovations, a prolific evolution advanced by the confluence of extraordinary composers, performers, and piano builders—all laboring to extend the sound and range of the instrument.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.Will Durant, Summarizing the Ideas of Aristotle
It is said that to have a mastery of anything, one must put in at least 10,000 hours of practice. Whether you have a natural talent or dogged determination, the playing field is even if you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to excel and become a life-long learner.
Often the toughest part of establishing a regular routine is just getting started. (Even the most ardent, passionate people go through this. If settling down to practice were easy, we wouldn’t be discussing this right now!) There will always be distractions. Passing by the piano and not stopping. Getting preoccupied by all our entertainment options. Snuggling on the sofa with a warm beverage. Sometimes not knowing how to begin can be the most overwhelming reason to deter one from beginning.
The following compositions have been recognized, in one way or another, as being some of the most extreme examples of classical music.
Forgive me if I have left your favorite epic off the list...
16th Century English composer Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium is scored for 8 choirs, each containing 5 distinct voices.
During its 300 year history, the piano has proven to be the medium of choice for composers and virtuosi alike, providing a platform from which the greatest musical minds could show their genius. In chronological order, here is a woefully inadequate list of great pianists and composers who have so enriched the world of music.
It is difficult to quantify why music is so invaluable. To do so almost feels counter-intuitive. The very nature of the subject lives beyond words, at an archetypal level—where music gets its energy and pattern—reliant upon making conscious those ambiguous qualities drawn largely from intuition. You listen, you play, and interact. And as a result, a new form of communication emerges unrivaled by writing or speaking.
Perhaps it was this indefinable quality that inspired me to take up the piano as an adult and let my intuition put into practice what was so difficult to define. Even after experiencing some of the direct benefits from five years of lessons, I still struggle to clarify its meaning. Which begs the question, 'why does the importance of music education need defending?'