Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mr. Charles Eugene Wesley

Second Advisor

Dr. Evelyn Bowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Dewey E. Chapel


Within the last two centuries several schools of thought have developed on the subject of piano technique. At the end of the eighteenth century piano teachers stressed finger technique with little use of the arm. During the nineteenth century pianists began to use the weight of the arm more in the production of piano tone. In the early 1900s a controversy developed between the advocates of freedom of arms and hands and the more conventional muscular approach.

The purpose of this study was to investigate current methods of teaching piano technique in N. A. S. M. college in Arkansas. Twenty of twenty-four piano teachers in the selected schools were interviewed, each teacher answering the same series of questions. The discussions were recorded on a tape recorder and transcribed. The answers for each question were compared in an effort to discover areas of agreement and disagreement.

Chapter I considers the statement of the problem, the importance of the study, definition of terms used, background of the study and organizations of the thesis. Chapter II deals with general questions about technique and levels of proficiency, Chapter III is about specific problems of technique and some possible exercises for solving these problems. Chapter IV is a discussion of relaxation and tension and their effect on the pianist. Chapter V explores the relationship of technique and expressiveness. Chapter VI is a summary of the findings and possible conclusions.

The following conclusions are some of those which were reached on the basis of this study:

There was general agreement among the teachers about most of the questions asked during the interview. There was some disagreement about the value of exercises done away from the keyboard, about the changing of fingers on repeated notes and about the importance of the strength of the hand in playing.

The preparatory student needs to develop technically but this development should be kept in the proper perspective. Artistic playing should be the goal rather than mere showmanship. There should be a purpose for the technical material assigned, the student should understand this purpose and whenever possible the technical material should be related to literature.

The student should develop finger independence and control, but he should also understand the use of the different parts of the arm and body in playing. He should take advantage of opportunities to relax when playing.



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