Ten Famous Rules Ninety-four Years After

Posted: January 12, 2013 in Coppell Piano Shop, Jazz Piano, Music Education, Philosophy, Piano

Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice

  1. Concentrate every moment of your practice time.
  2. Always practice systematically.
  3. Always practice slowly at first.
  4. Do not practice too long at one time.
  5. Remember that the mind must govern all muscular motion.
  6. Always listen intently to your own playing.
  7. Always maintain a correct and comfortable position while at the keyboard.
  8. Determine one fingering, and do not permit yourself to employ any other until the piece has been mastered.
  9. Always practice in strict time.
  10. Devote a portion of the practice time each day to memorizing.

Your list of ten rules might differ so let me add the weight of credibility and authority to this one. This list was compiled in 1909 by The Etude, “a monthly journal for the musician, the music student, and all music lovers.”  The list was republished in the August 1919, ten years after it first appeared in an issue in 1909. Ninety-four years hence, it appears in my blog. If you have not read even a single issue of The Etude, you are missing some of the most beautiful prose ever written about music.

August 1919 issue of The Etude.

August 1919 issue of The Etude.

The ten rules were compiled from letters written by Mrs. Bloomfield Zeisler, Miss Amy Fay , Mr. J. J. Hattstaedt, Mr. L. G. Heinze, Mr. Perless V. Jervis, Mr. Alexander Lambert, Mr. B. J. Land, Mr. Emil Liebling, Mr. E. R. Kroeger, Mr. F. H. Sheperd,  Mme. Marie von Unschuld, Mr. Charles E. Watt, Mr. Leopold Winkler, Mr. Francis L. York, and Mr. J. de Zielinski.

The opinions of the members of the following group of “eminent pianists, teachers and conservatory heads” were solicited and published on pages that followed.

Oscar Beringer, Le Roy B. Campbell, J. Lawrence Erb, Percy Grainger, Rudolph Ganz, Edwin Hughes, Helen Hopekirk, Clayton Johns, Alexander Lambert, John Orth, Eugenio di Pirani, Arthur Shattuck, Hans Schneider, Constantin von Sternberg.

[Note: The links above go to videos, books, bios when available.  When read in sum, they provide a glimpse of a very interesting age of piano pedagogy and performance.]


From the Etude 1919, the list of contributors to the Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice

From the Etude 1919, the list of contributors to the Ten Rules for Successful Piano Practice




Comments are closed.