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pianomap : Octave Workshop

Fast octave passages are one of the most dazzling and exciting pianistic skills. Vladimir Horowitz so thrilled audiences with his octave playing that people actually stood on their chairs to get a better view.

But octave playing is not easy; many people have worked diligently at the Chopin etude in octaves or the Liszt 6th Hungarian Rhapsody, only to give up in despair. Worse yet, many people have experienced pain and fatigue from practicing octaves. Playing octaves is a complex skill; the use of the hands, arms, and torso must be precisely coordinated and the slightest tension anywhere in the body can detract from the result. Persistent practice with poor quality of movement can result in injury.

Thomas Mark offers a 4-hour workshop on octave playing that reviews and explains the various requirements of octave playing--how to open the hand without tension, how to distribute effort appropriately to reduce tension and fatigue, how to minimize movements to increase speed. The workshop also addresses many common problems associated with octave playing: pain or fatigue from playing octaves, playing octaves with small hands, limitations of speed, and other problems. Virtually every pianist, teacher, or student will find that the information presented leads to improvement in octave playing.

The workshop is limited to six participants, so all participants will have opportunity for individual attention at the piano.

Cost of the workshop is $100. Participants should also obtain the book, What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body, if they do not already have it. The book will be available at the workshop, or can be ordered in advance (see ordering information elsewhere on this website).

This workshop is not currently scheduled. If it interests you, send an email to Thomas Mark.

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