Piano Magic Touch Has Been Relaunched

Piano Magic Touch Has Been Relaunched

I am very happy to be able to report that I have completely rebuilt the ‘shop‘ side of the site as well as the integrated new payment processing systems into place and also upgraded the video delivery of the course for the Piano Magic Touch. By so doing, this will allow the video to be watched as many times as you want from the download page after purchase, without relying on having to store the video on your device.

We have made certain that we have a Video Hosting Provider that is capable of managing the load to ensure troubke free viewing for you as well.

I am very pleased to be able to refocus my energies on this course on the Piano Method, as part of my respect and admiration for the late Lionel Bowman and Wallace Tate.

Thank you again for considering the fine work of Lionel Bowman and Wallace Tate.

Can I Overcome Difficult Injuries, and Still Play the Piano at Concert level?

The short answer, in many cases is, Yes. I say this, as many pianists have suffered numerous injuries in the past, typically in the areas of tendonitis or muscular injuries.

However, with the right information, and methodical approach, you can overcome your limitations.4

I know this is a big statement to make, but let me explain it this way…


I was fortunate to have met Professor Lionel Bowman, before he passed away, and also have come in contact with Mr Wallace Tate, a man who studied the methods of Professor Bowman in great detail.

Mr Tate, over a period of several years. monitored the methods that Professor Bowman had created, and utilised his talent for translating complex moves into easy to follow steps, in a manual with fantastic illustration, and example material, to help both the student and teacher, maximise their comprehension, understanding and application of the Bowman playing method.

 

Mr Bowman experienced great difficulty in his late thirties as a concert pianist, in terms of repetitive bouts of tendonitis and other muscular problems. However, after being unable to play for some months, he took the time to learn the anatomy of the arm, hand, wrist and fingers, and really study, by process, trial and error, the methods that would not only allow him to play again, but to do so pain free. The results were nothing less than astonishing, to say the least.


Whilst the initial point was to be able to play the piano again, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for all Professor Bowman's students as well, as they have reported massive improvement in their playing as well. Now, more people started to take note.


It was well into the process, that Professor Bowman then gave a master class at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and had a DVD recording made of the class, which has become an essential element of The Magic Touch Course, presented here.  It is through these methods, and subsequent teaching that Professor Bowman further refined his technique, and most people who have actively utilised his method have had substantial success, not to mention an improved tonal quality to their playing as well as less discomfort.


The method is based on the increase of strength and tone in the fingers. This is explained in this classical piano article.


Note on the Exercises

Note on the Exercises

 

 

 

The exercises are based on what the hand is capable of doing with various passages, i.e. single notes, octaves and chords in their thousands of permutations, which make up what we call music. Once the learning processes are understood, the pianist will find that they are comparatively few, and that they can be adapted and applied to the learning of any passage regardless of style or character.

These basic techniques are learnt through the exercises which are to be practiced daily in the manner prescribed. They provide a therapeutic learning process and are elementary guidelines only to play more comfortably and with greater ease at speed. They also give one the means of cultivating various basic touches.

During the learning process some of the technical movements, muscular conditions, postures, and sounds, are extremely exaggerated, as a good deal of concentrated attention and effort is required. Eventually it will be sufficient to devote a few minutes only to the more essential and representative exercises before regular practice sessions.

The exercises were taught by Professor Bowman by rote: they were not written out for the student. Thus, attention focused on the physical means by which notes were played in order to produce a preconceived type, intensity and quality of sound. As a result, the approach was experimental, somewhat improvisational and rhythmically flexible. The student should keep this in mind when working the exercises as transcribed in this book.

 

 

Video

 

 

A DVD to illustrate the exercises and examples in this book is available as well, from

//www.ThePianoMagicTouch.com

 

It is normally included as part of the book download.

Note on the Exercises in the Magic Touch

 

The exercises are based on what the hand is capable of doing with various passages, i.e. single notes, octaves and chords in their thousands of permutations, which make up what we call music. Once the learning processes are understood, the pianist will find that they are comparatively few, and that they can be adapted and applied to the learning of any passage regardless of style or character.

These basic techniques are learnt through the exercises which are to be practiced daily in the manner prescribed. They provide a therapeutic learning process and are elementary guidelines only to play more comfortably and with greater ease at speed. They also give one the means of cultivating various basic touches.

During the learning process some of the technical movements, muscular conditions, postures, and sounds, are extremely exaggerated, as a good deal of concentrated attention and effort is required. Eventually it will be sufficient to devote a few minutes only to the more essential and representative exercises before regular practice sessions.

The exercises were taught by Professor Bowman by rote: they were not written out for the student. Thus, attention focused on the physical means by which notes were played in order to produce a preconceived type, intensity and quality of sound. As a result, the approach was experimental, somewhat improvisational and rhythmically flexible. The student should keep this in mind when working the exercises as transcribed in this book.

 

 

DVD

 

 

A DVD to illustrate the exercises and examples in this book is available as well, from

//www.ThePianoMagicTouch.com

 

 

The Magic Touch by Wallace Tate- Remarks by Cara Kelson

The below remarks were made by Cara Kelson (nee Hall '47), at the book launch, February, 22, 2003 in Perth, Western Australia

 

Thank you Wallace, for asking me to speak about Lionel. It has been a real trip down memory lane for me, and I only hope I haven't intruded myself too much in these remarks. But there were many things we were all experiencing, not just the musical life around us, but the increasingly difficult times we were living in. This was 1938.  

 

I had arrived in London from New Zealand, ready to start at the Royal Academy of Music in September. Looking back now, I am reminded of what a marvelous age it was for pianists. In those early months, I heard people like Schanbel, Moiseiwitsch, Solomon, Egon Petri, Rachmaninov. Myra Hess and many others. But there were also many young artists emerging from the Royal Schools and other places.


Almost at once, I met Lionel among the students in Vivian Langrish'e studio. Lionel was 19, well into his academy training, and he took me, a 16 year old newcomer  – under his wing. In deed, he became something like a big brother to me. There was, of course, the Commonwealth bond between us.


Professor Langrish (Viv behind his back) brought all his students together regularly, at the practice concert held at his home in Primrose Hill. One's first practice concert was something of an ordeal, but after that, general camaraderie prevailed with real enjoyment of our music making together. After playing at a practice concert one could then perform that work at Duke's Hall

Among all the talented Langrish students, Lionel was outstanding. What I remember most was thew brilliance of his technique (he had Horowitz – like fingers) that was coupled with interpretations of deep understanding. His music could dazzle, but it was always satisfying. (I should mention that all the Langrish students had a beautiful singing tone).


In himself, Lionel was full of fun, very helpful in every way, but when it came to music, he was always very serious. Coming from far away we were often hearing great music for the very first time. Years later when discussing this, Lionel almost shivered at recalling the effect it had on him of hearing the Brahms B flat concerto for the very first time. (I had lots of similar memories, too).

 

All students were encouraged to sit in on the orchestral rehearsals with Sir Henry Wood, but we could also get free tickets for the orchestra rehearsals at Queen's Hall of the BBC  and other orchestras, and it was of great interest to hear and see all the leading conductors of the day at work. Lionel had joined the R.A.M's conductor's course at the urging of Benjamin Dale the Warden, a class of six run by Ernest Read who also taught aural training.  He had to become acquainted with various orchestra instruments and studied the cello with Cedric Sharp, French horn with Aubrey Brain (whose young son Dennis was already an outstanding  Academy student) and the clarinet with Reginald Kell. He also had singing lessons.


I never saw Lionel in action on the podium conducting the Academy's Third orchestra, though I do remember one occasion when a nervous young student  stood as stiff as a one armed bandit while Sir Henry Wood tried in vain to get him to use his left arm! Years later Lionel told me with amusement that his moment of triumph came when he played the triangle in the First orchestra at the R.A.M's annual Queens Hall concert, Sir Henry Wood conducting. However, I do remember Professor Langrish's comments about the way Lionel's conducting experience helped to control his rhythmic sense and tempos, and to shape his phrasing, all of which showed up in his own playing. 


But with all the excitement of London's musical and theatrical life, and our own busy schedules of lessons, lectures, classes and performances, the thought of war hung over our heads –  and war became a reality in September 1939 after Hitler's armies invaded Poland. Immediately there was a cancellation of concerts, but when the bombs didn't fall on London, most concerts were reinstated, though often changed to earlier times because of the black out. Audiences returned and to bring cheer to as many Londoners as possible, Myra Hess inaugurated her wonderful lunch-time concerts at the National Gallery. They were to run right through the darkest years of the war, and into the peace, ending in 1946. 


At the academy, we all continued our studies as intensely as before, with our schedules rearranged where possible to cur down on travel time. The, in the spring of 1940, the German army moved swiftly, first with the invasion of Norway, followed by the low countries, all falling one by one. The little boats crossed over to Dunkirk to rescue the British Expeditionary Force and those soldiers began to pour out of Victoria Station out into the London streets.


The Academy authorities were urging those of us from overseas to think of returning home. Lionel, of course, was winding up his scholarship. In my case, I was told that my third and fourth scholarship years would be held over until after the war.


The last time that Lionel and I were in Queen's Hall was in 1940 for the final concert of the academic year, with the R.A.M Orchestra conducted by Sir Henry Wood. The National Anthem, which opened the concert, was Sir Henry's own arrangement, but this time he had the strings play each note on an individual down-bow which gave the Anthem great emotion and power. At the end there was a slight pause, and then with a sudden movement of his baton, the orchestra burst in to La Marseillaise. The atmosphere was palpable. France had fallen the day before. And it wouldn't be long before our beautiful Queen's hall would be reduced to a pile of rubble.


Soon after that final concert Lionel and I met at Duke's Hall as we had both been recalled for Academy prizes. He was still the big brother with his encouragement and calm presence, standing with me before I went in to play. We were both successful in our sections – for him it was a triumphant end to hi student days.

During his time at the Academy, Lionel had won the Matthew Fillimore and Rotter Prizes, and was now awarded the prestigious and coveted Chappel Gold Medal. In years to come he would be made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. And so we said our goodbyes, and were both lucky to voyage back safely to our homelands – though my trip had its dangerous moments, an attack by a German submarine. (The Rangitiki was in the centre of a convoy of 46; the tanker beside us was sunk.) Before the Rangitiki was half way to Panama, the bombs were dropping on London. The Battle of Britain had begun.

I was back in London for VJ Day, and soon the word went round our old circle "Lionel is Back!" During the war years in South Africa Lionel had played with great acclaim in recitals all over the country (many were to raise funds for War Bonds), and as a concerto soloist in in brilliant performances of the Liszt, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Tchaikivsky, including first performances in South Africa of Prokofiev's Third piano concerto and de Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Now, in post war London, his carrer was to expand into an international one.

 

He was the consummate artist, a brilliant pianist with great sensitivity and integrity, soon to be engaged in a wide range of appearances, recitals, broadcasts, concertos, TV, touring in joint recitals with many international artists, spreading out to play in European countries, the USA and elsewhere. After the first post – war months, it was inevitable our meetings would be less frequent and that finally our paths would diverge.

It would be some three decades later, after I had moved to Perth with my American family, that we would meet again. I was excited to see one day, in a University of western Australia programme, that Professor Lionel Bowman of Stellenbosch  University, South Africa, was coming to the University as Visiting Professor. You can imagine his surprise when I walked into the Callaway Auditorium, and the pleasure we both had in picking up our friendship again. There was so much ground to cover! I was distressed to hear that his splendid concert career had to be curtailed because of the physical difficulties and injuries he had encountered with his small hands, – but it was inspiring to learn how it had turned him  towards researching, and analysing, ever aspect of playing the piano, every moment that a pianist makes at the keyboard, and which finally moulded him into a superb teacher.

 

I reminded him of something he told me so many years before. I'd played a recital programme at the Langrish home, and afterwards, Lionel (and he was the only one to do so) told me that one particular work I'd played was really too big for me. He said, "Strange… I could see the danger for you, but not for myself".

 

He took me through the exercises he'd worked out, starting with the thumbs. I could immediately see the importance of concentrating, right at the beginning, of relaxing after every single note. (And incidentally, it was only a few days before I found that trilling had become much easier.) As Lionel said, "Sit very still. You prepare, play, finish. Drop the wrists. Test. Relax all the muscles". And you continue to do the same with all th exercises that follow, — octaves, chords, scales, arpeggios. In this way, the muscles are being constantly released before muscular tension builds. Lionel emphasized, "You work at it until it is patterned into your subconscious and becomes instinctive, automatic". He liked to remind one that relaxation means control.

Many people will do much of this naturally, but even great artists run into trouble – let alone young students. Look at Leon Fleisher and Gary Graffman, and more recently, my own country man Michael Houston. Many people have written about how to play the piano, but no-one has gone about explaining the best way to approach every movement one makes at the keyboard, as clearly as Lionel has done. He liked t say, "It's all sensation which is difficult to put into words" –  but Wallace has done a remarkable job in doing just that.

Lionel writes that he hopes pianists will find The Magic Touch both an inspiration and a practical help on their musical journey. Congratulations Wallace! And thank you for all the work you have done to make this possible.