My question is solely about learning piano techniques - learning scales (ranges), learning basic acords, different strength exercises, speed exercises, solely technique etudes. Can all this be learned, practised from some book alone without human supervision? Is there some book that explains it? This question is not about music theory (what scales are), but about practice - what exercises, in what order to take.

Of course, there is need for human master to learn art, but what about technique? I had music teacher in the past and she inveted different technical exercises. I was not keen to learn them, becauase - who likes them? But now I am seeing the worth of them, but the teache has gone. I would like to continue without her.

The question in its initial form was not clear. I already have some years of training with teacher, I know almost all of music theory, all the pitches/scales, chords and so on. I was exposed to some exercises, but currently I have no teacher and I would like to upgrade my skills. This question is not about basic skills (I am not thinking whether teacher is or is not necessary for them), but about technical skills to interpret sonatas by Bethoveen, works by Chopin, Listz and also by contemporary composers like Finnisy or Adesz. As I understand then even the olympic champions have couches, but I am not sure wheter Barenboim have some teacher and had one when he was younger and actively played piano.

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    Just to be clear "scales" and "chords" are not techniques. Technique would involve proper posture, force, how to hold the hand properly, etc. Similar to guitar and other instruments. You need physical feedback from an experienced player/teacher to correct small issues. – user50691 Mar 15 '19 at 16:07
  • To previous comment. No, this is not duplicate. I already have 6 year learning experience with teacher in childhood. My question is about training for virtuoso skills. – TomR Mar 15 '19 at 16:33
  • Is it possible? Perhaps. Is it likely? No, I wouldn't say so. Has it ever actually happened? Maybe, maybe more than once. But there might be a lot of luck involved in those cases and there would be a selection bias after the fact (i.e., we wouldn't ever hear about all those who tried and failed to teach themselves virtuoso piano). If you want to be as good as possible, you'll have to find the best possible teacher(s) you can afford. – Todd Wilcox Mar 21 '19 at 20:02

To elaborate on my comment. The short answer is no, you cannot learn technique from a book alone.

There are many good books by world class virtuoso players that try but the fact is that it is near impossible to completely and accurately describe what is going on in the body without writing a medical text on performance. And players typically could not do this. We learn and transmit information "holistically" rather than by reduction. Professional musicians also use their own jargon and it takes time to learn that. For example my voice teacher talks about resonance in the sinuses and other such phenomenon using colorful words and phrases. Even if you could explain it in a book the book won't give feedback. The book cannot ask you if something is comfortable or causes pain, whether a pain is just you getting used to a new technique or a sign of injury. A good teacher will be critiquing these things and also be able to provide some help that accelerates the learning process in a way that is customized to each student's needs. This takes a lot of teaching experience. I personally do not recommend learning from books or youtube. Even if what you get is okay you may misunderstand something and develop a bad habit (bad technique). I've been teaching guitar for 35 years and the worst examples I have are self taught guitarists that finally decide to take lessons.


I'm teaching myself piano. I think I'm making good progress, but still far from my goal.

Can all this be learned, practised from some book alone without human supervision?

I would say "no" if you take the notion too far.

I took guitar lessons as a kid which gave me that experience interacting with a teacher. I had one year high school chorus and 1 semester in college community choir. I had one piano lesson with a highly skilled pianist so I got that human interaction that way. My wife took piano lessons briefly so I bug her about piano questions from time to time. She's not a teacher, but it's a kind of indirect connection with piano teaching methods. Also, I look for video lessons - mostly online but I found a good video in my public library. My point is I have had experience with a number of music teachers, but not specifically piano lessons.

So my experience doesn't really include supervision from a teacher. There isn't a teacher literally looking over my shoulder. But, I try to gather all the info I can about piano pedagogy and play the role of self-teacher. I think this can work, but you cannot be lazy! You have to constantly push your progress along and be very active in examining your progress and finding study methods to fit your needs.

But now I am seeing the worth of them, but the teacher has gone.

If only we could turn back time! But seriously, at least you recognize the importance of what the teach gave you.

I would like to continue without her.

I think you can if you take a disciplined approach that matches your goals.

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