Pianodao – The Way of Piano – is the piano education blog of Andrew Eales, a pianist, teacher and writer based in Milton Keynes UK.
The aim of Pianodao is to inform, encourage and offer practical wisdom to help and support piano players, including those who teach.
Building on a vision of piano playing as a lifetime journey, the site focusses on our musical development in the context of our broader lives. You can discover articles of interest by exploring:
Pianodao has gained much respect as an independent review site, with over 200 reviews covering books, recordings, educational resources, and a wide range of sheet music suitable for everyone from beginners to professionals.
Guest Authors from around the world have also significantly contributed to the site, sharing their experiences, perspectives, and knowledge here.
Welcome to Pianodao!
I’m so pleased that you’ve found this site, and very much hope that you enjoy exploring the 400+ articles here, written to help you on your piano journey.
We pianists know that self-evaluation is crucial to our progress and musical development. When I started teaching, I quickly realised that the same rule applies: one of the best ways I can improve is to continuously reflect on my teaching practice and student response.
Pianodao takes this basic principle and places that process of reflection and evaluation within a much broader context – our journey through life.
When teaching I continue to observe that many of the problems and issues that I and my students grapple with have very little to do with our pianism and musical understanding, and far more to do with our physical limitations, tension, mental state and internal beliefs. The work of a piano teacher can sometimes have as much to do with helping our students to address these issues as it does with conventional pedagogical content.
We all have a life outside of our piano playing, and it is clearly worthwhile considering the connections between our experience of life and our ongoing musical development. But where do we start?
I have found that the philosophical wisdom of Daoism (“Taoism”) and other Eastern traditions can offer fresh perspectives and an insightful approach – one which celebrates inter-connectedness in all things, rather than isolating disconnected specialisms as so often happens in Western thinking.
The more I have studied the wisdom and practices of Daoism, the more they have had a positive impact on my piano playing and teaching, as well as more broadly on my quality of life. The most direct example of this has been is my practice of Qigong breathing and stretching exercises, leading to my ideas for Piano Qigong.
Piano Qigong is a free resource offering simple breathing and stretching movements and exercises suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. These might help you overcome physical and technical obstacles you previously found insurmountable.
Alongside all these broader reflections, which distinguish this from other piano sites, Pianodao of course includes plenty of practical material which directly addresses piano playing, teaching, repertoire and resources.
Enjoy the site!
How to use this site
It isn’t a good idea to change our playing, teaching or lifestyle simply on the basis of a few blog posts – read here or elsewhere – or advice gleaned from social media. Articles published here should be read in the context of your broader journey as a person and as a pianist, and not as a substitute for it.
The Pianodao site does not purport to provide a comprehensive method of playing or teaching the piano, or of practising qigong. Nor should the lifestyle advice offered here be accepted in isolation.
We need to be discerning, and to root our lives and practice in real world experience and interactions.
Please also understand that the views I express here are not necessarily those of my employers, past, present or future. They have their own sites. And all views are provisional, subject to change as my own journey progresses.
Bearing these important points in mind:
- Piano playing ideas are published here for discussion with your teacher;
- Teaching ideas are for consideration as part of your wider continuing professional development and reflection;
- Lifestyle ideas should be discussed with your doctor, family and friends.
The Pianodao site offers:
- ideas for consideration;
- opinions for discussion;
- questions for reflection;
- possibilities for experimentation; and hopefully –
- inspiration for living a more fulfilling and musical life.
I hope Pianodao offers insights which will bring clarity to your own Way of Piano. If you feel that I could particularly help you and would like to consult with me privately, please feel free to get in touch.
Some posts here – but not all – include a space for you to leave your own comments. Simply write your comment in the provided box. You will be asked to leave your email address (unless you are a fellow WordPress blogger) to verify who you are, but this will not appear on the site.
All comments are sent to a moderation queue to be approved before they show up on the site. This is done manually, so might not happen immediately. Provided your comment is appropriate for the site and relevant to the blog, it will appear here publicly as soon as I can get to it.
Thanks for engaging with the content of the site!
Chinese words are rendered according to both the Wade-Giles and the Pinyin systems of romanisation interchangeably, meaning that different spelling of the same word will be used depending on the source material referred to.
The main exception to the above is that I have attempted to standardise to the Pinyin system when using the words Dao (instead of Tao), Qi (instead of Chi) and Qigong (instead of Chi Gung). When quoting other materials that use these words, I have usually altered the spelling for the sake of maintaining this consistency, except in the case of book titles.
All original material published on this site is copyright Keyquest Music or to guest authors where credited.
You are welcome to freely link to and share this material for non-commercial purposes. Please always credit the authors and Pianodao website when doing so.
Links to music and videos on YouTube, SoundCloud and other sites are included on the basis that those sites are responsible for any issues arising from copyright. If you spot an issue please report it to the host site concerned – and don’t panic, they will deal with it quickly for you.
Pianodao is free to all, but funded with the help of reader donations.
Supporters can enjoy additional benefits by joining The Pianodao Tea Room
Pianodao is owned by Keyquest Music, the independent music education consultancy, private teaching practice and creative outlet of pianist, writer and teacher Andrew Eales.
Andrew is a member of The Incorporated Society of Musicians and EPTA UK, the European Piano Teachers’ Association.