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Mlle. Chaminade on Piano-Playing.

“Composition cannot be taught, but I can give excellent advice to girls studying the piano. Let them practice slowly and loud. As a rule, they work too quickly. The only way to acquire grace and lightness of touch is to practice without ever hurrying. Let them count two upon each note as they play scales and exercises.

“Once when I was traveling I happened to be given a room in the hotel next to a man who was studying to be a pianist. All day long he struck the notes hard and slowly. I waited for a piece. He did not play one, and when night came and he was still at his laborious apprenticeship, I said to myself: Here is a man who will succeed!

“Playing with force,” she continues, “does not mean to have a stiff arm and hand; quite the contrary. And, above all, those who wish to accomplish anything should keep their minds and attention fixed upon what they are doing. If they have not an abundance of patience and determination, they had better give up.

“Professor Kalkbrenner used to allow his pupils to read while they were playing over their exercises, but I am convinced that this system is a very bad one. By thinking of each note a girl can do more in half an hour than she can do in four with her mind on other things, and if she play slowly and loud for two hours every day she can gain wonderful facility.

“Study as difficult pieces as you can, but when you play for friends always choose one of your easier compositions. Be beyond what you are doing; it is the only way to attain perfection. If you play what is too hard, you will learn nothing, you will be wearied, disgusted; whereas if you try something which to you presents no technical embarrassment, you can give yourself wholly to the art with which you render it; you will have grace and charm. It is only by being beyond your piece that you can produce an effect.”—Girl’s Realm.

 

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