Self-Defined Human
Self-Defined Human
#42 - Why I Got Obsessed With Piano Scales

How I got obsessed with piano scales. Why audiences liked to watch Pavarotti struggle. Pianists are clueless about body intelligence. Why you learned in school to hyper-fixate on outcomes and suck at physical education.

0:00 Why I’ve been reluctant to go into anything technical on this podcast.

3:00 How I got started with scales and why I hated them at first.

7:30 Why piano should be easy and singing should be hard (just ask Pavarotti).

9:30 Why I avoided scales and felt ashamed.

12:20 The first book that changed the way I practice the piano (Fundamentals of Piano Practice by C. C. Chang).

18:40 I used to think scales were stupid (this was a rationalization of my avoidance tactics).

23:36 “Michael, why don’t you learn some Chopin Etudes?” 😳

27:45 Pianists are obsessed with the goddamn thumb issue.

30:00 My brush with debilitating injury. Trying to find answers in books (good luck, Michael).

33:00 The second book that changed the way I practice the piano (20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography by Seymour Bernstein).

38:10 Piano is athletic (back off, haters and basketball players).

42:15 Getting enmeshed in the Taubman Cult. Bigger movements and shapes.

45:00 Chopin taught the B major scale first (wtf!?). That’s because it’s easier the C major scale.

48:00 Why scales are a problem. It’s because of what we learned in school. Fixation on symbols.

52:40 Piano is about timing, and your gym class taught you to mess this up.

About the Author

I help pianists with meditation. I also help meditators with piano.

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