Speaking the Piano
Reflections on Learning and Teaching
In Speaking the Piano, renowned pianist Susan Tomes turns her attention to teaching and learning. Teaching music encompasses everything from putting a drum in a child's hands to helping an accomplished musician unlock the meaning and spirit of the classics. At every stage, some fundamental issues keep surfacing. In this wide-ranging book, Susan Tomes reflects on how her own experience as a learner, in different genres from classical to jazz, has influenced her approach to teaching. She tells us how her performing career has given her insight into what young performers need to know, and how discussions with students have fed into her own practice. She describes the brilliant and intriguing teachers whose masterclasses opened her ears to the many ways in which music can be brought alive and communicated. This is a book to appeal to a wide range of readers - pianists of every level from beginner to professional, piano teachers, musicians of all kinds, and the broader community of music-lovers. In a passionate contribution to the ongoing debate about the place of music in education, Susan Tomes argues that this most inspiring of arts can play a unique role in personal development. This is a lovely, wise, elegantly written book, filled with tips and anecdotes which could be helpful and encouraging for any pianist, whether a beginner or a professional. Above all it is a book in which one senses constantly the deep love the author has for music itself, for its ability to inspire, touch and, indeed, change lives. STEPHEN HOUGH SUSAN TOMES is a multi-award-winning pianist whose career encompasses solo, duo and chamber music playing; she has been at the heart of the internationally admired ensembles Domus, the Gaudier Ensemble and the Florestan Trio. Her lecture-recitals have enabled many listeners to engage with the classics on a new level. She is the author of four acclaimed books about performance: Beyond the Notes (Boydell Press 2004), A Musician's Alphabet (Faber, 2006), Out of Silence (Boydell Press, 2010), and Sleeping in Temples (Boydell Press, 2014).