Notes from the Pianist's Bench Boris Berman

Publication date:
08 Feb 2002
Yale University Press
240 pages: 235 x 156mm
18 illus. + 160 musical examples
Sales territories:

Boris Berman, an internationally known Russian-trained concert pianist and highly respected teacher, here draws on his vast experience to explore issues of piano technique and music interpretation. Combining explanations and advice with anecdotes about his students, colleagues, and former teachers, he also provides many insights into the psychological aspects of musical performance and the teaching of music.

Berman thoroughly examines such practical matters in piano playing as sound and touch, technique, pedaling, and articulation. He gives tips on choosing editions, selecting the best fingering, memorizing, and making the most efficient use of practice time. He gives equal emphasis to issues of interpretation, discussing ways to decipher the inner content of a piece of music. And he offers suggestions about how to prepare emotionally for a performance, how to confront stage anxiety, and how to adapt teaching approaches to the individual students. Informative and entertaining, this book will be welcomed by piano students, teachers, and anyone else interested in the art of piano playing.

Boris Berman is chair of the piano department at the Yale School of Music and a Grammy Award–nominated       recording artist who performs as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He conducts master classes throughout the world and is the author of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas.

"Whether the subject is rubato in Mozart and Chopin, pedaling in Bach, or merely the position of the thumb on the keyboard, Boris Berman deals with it comprehensively but concisely, imaginatively and realistically. The book is neither too elementary nor too advanced for any pianist, piano teacher or piano lover. It is informative, inspiring and entertaining."?Claude Frank, Pianist and teacher

"What makes Mr. Berman?s book so persuasive and enlightening is his understanding that there is no one ?method? of teaching music?each relationship with a student is a process of discovery for teacher and student both."?Emanuel Ax 

"This book?"a compendium of various thoughts, discussions and experiences that I have had in the course of my work as a performer and teacher" (as it is described), attests to its author?s deep and conscientious knowledge of the instrument, to the scope of his musical enquiry as an artists/performer and to the creativity and dedication with which he invests his teaching. . . . In spite of the book?s relative compactness, Mr. Berman is able to discuss and bring forward felicitous ideas to the large number of issues raised (artistic, educative, instrumental), thus presenting its intended readers?advanced piano students and teachers?with much valuable food for thought. . . . A very instructive, imaginative and stimulating book."?Radu Lupu 

?In this concise but comprehensive volume, Boris Berman . . . shares his reflections on a wide variety of subjects dealing with the pianist?s art. Berman draws on his extensive experience to offer an insightful, thought-provoking, engaging and imaginative exploration of crucial issues that range from the practical aspects of choosing fingering and editions, to the psychological and emotional preparation for performance. . . . He writes in an anecdotal and entertaining style. . . . This book is an invaluable contribution to pedagogical and performing literature, as essential to the library of any advanced pianist, teacher and performer.??Nanette Kaplan, American Music Teacher

?A thought-provoking, highly original, informative, and entertaining book about piano technique, interpretation, and performance.??Lois Svard, Bucknell University 

?Provocative in thought as well as didactic in purpose, this book covers all aspects of playing from tone production, physical technique, and pedaling to practicing, analyzing the score, and bringing a piece to performance level. . . . Pianists will value Berman?s stimulating and personal thoughts and will appreciate the opportunity to learn from this contemporary artist.??Choice

?[Berman] carefully guides the reader?whether an advanced piano student, instructor, or concert performer?on how to approach the instrument and its music. . . . Readers who want to become better pianists will welcome Berman?s master class. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.??Library Journal

Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic title for 2001