Falko Steinbach

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Peter Feuchtwanger (London) once labelled Falko Steinbach’s book “A Compendium of Piano Technique” as “one of the most interesting and most valuable” works of its kind, that aims to coordinate the complex components necessary for a comprehensive piano technique, which on the one hand relate to the body of the pianist with its physiological possibilities and, on the other hand, are referring to facts of gravity, physiognomy, the keyboard and its possible directions of motion, so that they unify. This compendium has the purpose for the pianist to work on all possible motions, playing figures and keyboard positions, and to raise his/her awareness of the constant presence of several individual possibilities for solving a technical problem. The systematic delineation of technical tasks and procedures on the piano is offered in an exemplary and most detailed way and combines with compositional creativity in Falko Steinbach’s 53 etudes, published in four volumes: Finger Paintings, Moving, Figures – 17 Choreographic Etudes and Mirror Visions/Etude 53.

Order from: Verlag Edmund Bieler

Quotes for Etudes and Compendium

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günther Noll

About ‘Finger Paintings’, ‘Moving’ and ‘Figures’ by Falko Steinbach

“Mit dem dreibändigen Zyklus „Finger-Paintings“, „Moving“ und „Figures“ legt der international renommierte Pianist, Komponist und Klavierpädagoge Falko Steinbach ein Klavierwerk vor, das in der Etüdenliteratur unseres Jahrhunderts einen Meilenstein bildet. Künstlerische Phantasie, spielerische Originalität und einfühlsames methodisches Geschick verbinden und verdichten sich in außerordentlich glücklicher Weise, so dass aus dem technischen Anliegen ein Kunstwerk entsteht. Hoher Anspruch und originelle Erfindung dienen in gleicher Weise einer Beförderung der individuellen physiologischen Ökonomie der Klaviertechnik. Trotz aller rational-kalkulierten Strukturen bildet die musikalische Imagination das zentrale Movens bei der Gestaltung dieser Etüden, die mit ihren Mitteln neue Klangräume der Musik öffnet und damit wesentlich zu ihrem Verständnis beiträgt.”

About Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günther Noll

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günther Noll ist der emeritierte Direktor des Instituts für Musikalische Volkskunde (heute Institut für Europäische Ethnologie) sowie des Seminars für Musik und ihre Didaktik (heute Institut für Musikpädagogik) an der Universität zu Köln. Nach Staatsexamina Lehrtätigkeit an Schulen, nach Promotion und Habilitation an Hochschulen und Universitäten (Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Abteilungen Bonn und Neuss der Pädagogischen Hochschule Rheinland, Universitäten Düsseldorf und Köln). 1992 erfolgte seine Emeritierung. Er legte zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen vor, Ergebnisse umfangreicher Forschungstätigkeiten in den Disziplinen Musikalische Volkskunde und Musikpädagogik. Schwerpunkte bildeten dabei: Brauchforschung (z.B. Geschichte, Prägeformen, aktuelle Erscheinungsformen), Liedforschung (z.B. Liedrezeption, politischer Missbrauch, Liedmonographie, Kinderlied, Dialektlied), Laienmusikforschung, Folkloreforschung; Curriculumforschung, Motivations- und Kreativitätsforschung, Improvisationsdidaktik. Herausgeber und Autor von Lehrwerken (z.B. Liedbegleitung am Klavier). Umfangreiche Vortragstätigkeit.

Dr. John Connor

About Falko Steinbach’s Method

“By way of introduction, I am probably Herr Professor (H.P.) Steinbach’s most ancient student, having received piano instruction on and off through the decades since early childhood through middle agedness, played at various bars with a wide variety of groups around Chicago & suburban N.J., as well as striven to maintain a modest classical repertoire. However, I’ve been primarily active in research and teaching in the general area of neurophysiology; specifically, what are the electrical and biochemical properties of single or small circuits of neurons that might enable the brain to store information (i.e. learn things).

Psychologists, who in the past largely regarded the brain as a totally mystical entity, had long proposed, vaguely, that sensory experience could somehow leave a record of its existence, a “memory trace” that would persist for days, weeks, or much longer. In the 1940’s Konorski and Hebb independently proposed that the most probable way of leaving such a trace would be to strengthen connections between neurons that were involved with certain patterns of use. That is: say, sensory input comes into neuron 1 and causes electrical activity; if neuron 1 is connected with a 2nd (or multiple) neuron(s), it will drive electrical activity there. Given enough repetitions of the sensory input of the proper form, the result will be that the connection between neurons 1 & 2 is strengthened. The connections are called synapses, and biochemical changes that occur there can be envisioned as having the ability to persist for long periods of time.

At the time of the original work, linking such a trace to neuronal activity seemed a stretch since most of what had been studied in neurons were things that occurred over a few thousandths of a second (milliseconds). The basic electrical signal at the synapse itself generally lasts only a few milliseconds, whereas the trace potentially persisted for years or decades! In the 60’s and 70’s as experimental technologies and designs improved, it was finally conclusively demonstrated that these millisecond electrical and chemical phenomena could produce long lasting changes in neuronal circuits; you just had to know how and what to look for. Lomo and Bliss were able to show that the strength (or effectiveness) of the chemical synapses connecting 2 different populations of neurons in the hippocampus brain region could be greatly increased by a given pattern of stimulation of the upstream neurons. (It was also shown, much later, to occur between 2 individual neurons.)

This change is sufficient to convert a connection that is ineffective in producing electrical activity in the downstream neuron to one that produces activity, and as a possible result, motor function. If you will, the upstream stimulus, which in the lab is administered by direct electrical stimulation, can be seen as mimicking ordinary sensory input. In the dentate gyrus of the rabbit hippocampus where this increase (or potentiation) was first demonstrated, the change was shown to persist for several days, about the limitation of recording in live animals at the time and was named long term potentiation (LTP). This was proposed as a likely model for a memory trace. Moreover this potentiation could be ‘erased’ by a different pattern of stimulation to the upstream neurons. (Hold that thought). To my knowledge this type of phenomenon, called Long Term Potentiation, has been demonstrated in all brain regions where examination is possible. It is still unknown as to how this modest ‘long term’ change is converted or developed into the form of memory that enables one to play selections of the Anna Magdalena songbook that one hasn’t seen since childhood.

There is a second concept regarding memory and motor function, ‘Executive Control’, that I believe is relevant to music instruction and practice. It has much more recent origins. The concept is usually explained by observing that walking, quite a complex motor function array (ask any 1 yr old), is something most people don’t consciously think about when doing it. (Here I’m excluding walking and chewing gum.) Much in musical playing is done without real conscious movement-by-movement input. [Musicians, I’ve noticed, refer to this as ‘muscle memory’; probably a poor choice of term, as many physiologists have tried and failed to show that muscles have memory. They can exhibit short term changes in responsiveness but not anything that would pass muster as memory.] The neuronal connections underlying executive control spread through an amazingly large fraction of the brain and are not well understood at this time. They are not at all limited to a single region, such as the motor cortex. The consensus view of involvement includes areas of the Prefrontal Cortex (the tippy tip outer front part of the brain), the Thalamus and Striatum, and several of the Basal Ganglia (deep in the middle).

So, skipping through the foregoing lengthy but totally overgeneralized background, to the evolution of my current condition: H.P. Steinbach agreed to take me on as a pupil in early 2015. At the time he did not know much of my prior career. Like others far more junior, I was started on Fingerbuilder and the Compendium. Fingerbuilder was an eye opener. The first etude is a charming example of non repeating note sequences that in one’s ordinary experience would never be played. But by the 2nd-4th etudes it was starting to become apparent to me that: This Guy was Messing with My Head, reprogramming my brain. (Actually, this is what I was hoping for as I’d grown tired of my existing technique, such as it was.) Almost nothing in the way my existing fingering, hand positioning, or movement anticipation either worked or was allowed by the scores. Moreover there was no harmony or melody line to connect with anything that I was familiar with even though I had done jazz and other varied stuff before. As an adult, I have had 2 very good teachers but they didn’t come close to having put the intellectual effort into pedagogy that H.P. Steinbach has.

Getting the etudes to ‘lie below my fingers’ took an inordinate amount of repetition to suppress what had been the ‘reflex’ behavior (see above), consistent with extinguishing an established neuronal circuit, and also to memorize inscrutable tone sequences and harmonies. As an ‘ancient’ pupil, I may be more aware of the difficulty than younger pupils with more plastic (or flexible) neuron circuitry, or fewer committed circuits. I came to view my Master as a composer of tangibly subversive music. However, I couldn’t be more gratified with the outcomes to date. Surprisingly, to me, has been a considerable improvement in my ability to organize spontaneous improvised riffs (not memorized patterns); these have nothing to do with what comes off a page in front of the eyes but out of ill defined brain mechanisms. Secondly, there has been about a 20 db increase in my touch dynamic range due to various lessons in the Compendium, mostly on the soft side. Thirdly, in what time I have been able to spare from the technical practice, I have experienced a much more competent feeling in the classical repertoire.

Overall, “Falko’s Method” seems to me to have a very strong basis in classical conditioning and extinction theory, and I’ve tried to give an (very superficial) overview of brain mechanisms that might be involved. The etudes seem to be involved in extinguishing existing patterns of activity, somewhat akin to Pavlov’s dog slobbering when a bell rings, then having that response extinguished when the bell rings and repeatedly yields nothing in the way of food, or else a yields a noxious follow up. [Note that extinction of interconnection patterns does not involve destruction of neurons, but alterations of synaptic connection strength between neurons, akin to the reversal of LTP as above.] On top of this, repetitive practice of the etudes (Fingerbilder and Beweglich) is probably establishing new, more generally applicable circuits, which the creative hand, wrist, and forearm patterns certainly suggest is the intent.
How he came up with his approaches, I certainly don’t know. However, I have held out on various occasions, the possibility of a Faustian Bargain having been struck.”
John Connor

About John Connor

John Connor, former Prof. of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Illinois and head of the department of neurosciences at the Hoffman La Roche Research Center in Nutley, New Jersey, now retired, was primarily active in research specifically, about what are the electrical and biochemical properties of single or small circuits of neurons, that might enable the brain to store information. John Connor is also a pianist.

Alexander Schwarzkopf

About the etudes of Falko Steinbach

“The three volumes of Choreographic Etudes by Falko Steinbach, titled “Finger Paintings” (Late Beginners), “Moving” (Intermediate) and “Figures” (Advanced) are the most original and informative studies available to pianists today. The principles set forth by Steinbach in his book, ”A Compendium of Piano Technique,” are realized in numerous contexts throughout.
Examples of possible approaches and solutions to the myriad technical problems and challenges specific to each level are addressed from various angles and with attention to the natural disposition of the human body.
Through sparing use of directions in the score and compositional ingenuity, Steinbach allows each pianist the opportunity to make critical decisions and thus develop their own interpretive sense – a hallmark of unique artistry.”

About Dr. Alexander Schwarzkopf

Dr. Alexander Schwarzkopf is a pianist, composer, teacher and advocate of new music. During the 2011 and 2012 concert seasons, Dr. Schwarzkopf gave recitals and lectures featuring Falko Steinbach’s “Figures: 17 Choreographic Etudes for Piano,” culminating in the publication of his doctoral research “A Structural Analysis for Performers: Falko Steinbach’s ‘Figures: 17 Choreographic Etudes for Piano (2006).’” In July 2012, Schwarzkopf performed a concert of the complete cycle of Choreographic Etudes at the Internationales-Klavierfestival 2012 Lindlar, becoming the first artist, after the composer, to perform this work in its totality. Dr. Schwarzkopf lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Christian M. Newman, October 3, 2012

About ‘Compendium of Piano Technique’ by Falko Steinbach

“As a student who began learning the piano later in life, and searched far and wide for the most effective pedagogic literature, I can say with absolute confidence that I have not found a single volume that can convey the technique of piano playing so clearly and with such rewarding development as Falko Steinbach’s “A Compendium of Piano Technique.” No other methods have brought me such profound physiological change and improvement, and no other method has helped to free my body of bad habits of technique, as well as posture, and the associated pain; the resulting physical relaxation continues to free my mind to focus on purely emotional and musical aspects of performance, with less and less thought required for the technique of playing the instrument. Playing through the exercises in the Compendium is one of the most assured means of conforming to the physical difficulties of the instrument, and each time I work with this volume, I am rewarded with further musicality, and ease of playing. From the complex textures in the etudes of Frederic Chopin, to the thick chords and counterpoint in works by Johannes Brahms, the Compendium provides solutions for all of the pianist’s problems.”

About the ‘Beweglich’ Etudes by Falko Steinbach

“Prof. Steinbach’s volume of seventeen intermediate etudes, “Beweglich,” provides one of the most profound methods for training one’s own personal will and concentration to perform at a high level at the piano. The etudes present increasingly difficult combinations of movements discussed in Steinbach’s “Compendium,” as well as difficult musical concepts, namely a bitonal technique which presents several musical elements in such a way that each seems transparent, and is clear to the ear and hands of the player. This typically occurs with sets of black keys against sets of white ones, but ultimately all difficult sounds, and hand positions are dealt with in “Beweglich” in a manner that surpasses the pedagogic aims of the etudes of Chopin, and Liszt. The highest levels of concentration can be attained by practicing and performing this music, in a manner heretofore unknown by myself, and, from estimates based on the available literature, unknown by the broader international musical community.”

About Christian M Newman (1981-), Albuquerque, New Mexico

Christian Newman began his childhood musical studies with an emphasis on percussion and music of the classical, twentieth century experimentalist, and popular idioms. He began to compose and perform original music with several rock and pop groups during his early teenage years, and soon after began to write music for electronic and acoustic instruments in various configurations. Throughout his studies, he has maintained a great interest in classical music, especially the works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms; since his early twenties, he has been a full-time piano student, and has expanded from working primarily with other musicians, to also composing and performing works for soloist. He has given hundreds of performances for popular rock ensemble, electronic, and experimental settings, as well as performances of classical, romantic-era, and avante garde piano works. During the course of writing and arranging works for electronic medium, string quartet, solo piano, and chamber orchestra, he has appeared on dozens of pop, rock, classical, and experimental recordings including the 2009 “Hey Mozart! New Mexico Child Composer Project” compilation of orchestral arrangements, and is a 2006 New Mexico Mic Award winner with the rock group, Unit 7 Drain; in 2009, he gave the premier performance of Falko Steinbach’s “Beweglich” 17 Etudes for Young Pianists. At the Landesmusikakedemie NRW in Nienburg/Heek Kreisborgen, Germany and in 2011, he appeared on the premier recording of Konrad Boehmer’s “Echelon” as a principle percussionist. He holds a master’s degree in piano performance at the University of New Mexico.

Shu Ching Cheng

About ‘Figures’ by Falko Steinbach

“In his 17 Choreographic Etudes that comprise“Figures,” Falko Steinbach expertly synthesizes aspects of both physiological and mental learning disciplines to create a technical approach to the piano that directly impacts both sound and movement. The synesthetic correlation between movement and sound is the central compositional concept, and Steinbach creatively combines compositional ideas with special technical possibilities for the piano and the keyboard in a symbiotic way. He extends the analogy of the quest for balance beginning with the way a pianist’s seated position affects the way he/she plays and how a variety of movements can generate different varieties of sound.
Like the Chopin etudes, which are considered models of the combination of technical exercise and work of art, Steinbach’s etudes incorporate the powerful idioms of today’s music to capture the spirit of our time. Like Ernst Bloch, Falko Steinbach constructs the music with an original idea of the contemporary spirit and an impact which is influential enough to be part of the musical stream.
Steinbach has created unique and interesting etudes that incorporate the health of the pianist as well as providing a challenge for the contemporary pianist.”

About Shu Ching Cheng

Shu Ching Cheng was born in a classical music-loving family in Taiwan and started piano lessons when she was five years old. She continued her piano lessons and music studies through her twelve years of elementary, middle, and high school. She went on to study in the Music Department of Shih-Chien University (SCU) with a major in piano and a minor in trumpet. She graduated from SCU with high grades and honor in 2000. After graduated from SCU, she was invited to give numerous piano recitals throughout Taiwan and received high recommendations.
Shu ching received her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she studied with Professor Falko Steinbach. While there she gave several piano recitals at UNM Keller Hall. Last August she was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona, where she studied with Dr. Paula Fan. Since moving to Arizona, Dr. Cheng participated in the OMA (Opening Minds Through the Arts) program in Arizona and was a prizewinner of the Green Valley Piano Competition in 2007. Recently she served as artist in residence and offered master classes and recital performances at the Shenandoah Conservatory (Virginia) and the Conservatorio de las Rosas (Morelia, Mexico). She also played several recitals for “UA Pianists on Tour” in Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. She made her debut solo recital in Novel Hall of Taiwan in 2007. In May 2008, Dr. Cheng worked in Junior Academy Piano Faculty in Kuala Lumpur International Master Class, Malaysia. She is currently the choral accompanist at Flowing Wells High School.

Gabriel Landstedt

About the etudes of Falko Steinbach

“Falko Steinbach’s Etudes served as my introduction to atonal music, and have helped me gain a greater understanding for and appreciation of classical forms ranging from the impressionistic period onwards. The Etudes themselves are pedagogical masterpieces; they touch every aspect of piano technique, and engage the student in ways that he or she probably hasn’t experienced before. They are brilliantly composed, and their enigmatic, mysterious sound effects are compelling both to audience and to the performer. They are a joy to play and perform.”

About Gabriel Landstedt

Gabriel Landstedt began studying under Professor Steinbach in 2010 and finished his B.M. at the University of New Mexico, where he was a Presidential Scholar. He won the MTNA state level piano competition in the Senior category in both 2011 and 2012, and was the winner of the 2012 Jackie McGehee Young Artists’ Competition. He made his orchestral debut at the age of 16 with the New Mexico Philharmonic. After his graduation with Prof. Steinbach he started studying piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music.

Paul Thomas

About the Etudes of Falko Steinbach

“Professor Steinbach’s Etudes are unlike any other large-scale sets of keyboard music I’ve ever encountered. Marrying mathematical precision and his own piano technique with a keen sense of melody and crowd pleasing-drama, his pieces are equally effective onstage and off. Each individual Etude exhibits application for a different finger or arm exercise, and when played as a set, the pieces cover all essential technique for high-level students with efficiency and creativity.
 Aesthetically, Professor Steinbach’s Etudes present a gloriously dystopian worldview to the listener. Frighteningly harsh and subtly beautiful in equal measure, the pieces above all convey a sense of tantalizing mystery. Witnessing their performance is a cathartic, unsettling, and ultimately brilliant experience.”

About Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas was an undergraduate student of Prof. Steinbach at the University of New Mexico, where he finished his studies with a BM in piano performance. He has won and placed in many local competitions, including the 2010 MTNA Senior Competition (in which he won the state level and progressed to the regional level in Hawaii) and the 2012 MTNA Young Artists’ Competition (in which he received first runner-up at the state level). In 2012, Paul participated in the Lindlar Music Festival in Germany.

Joshua Rupley

About ‘Figures: 17 Choreographic Etudes’ by Falko Steinbach

“When I first encountered the Etudes I was thoroughly impressed, not by the pedagogic or theoretic aspects, in which I am unversed, but musically. The cycle is in a way one large – scale flashback. The first etude emerges from the fog in a strange, almost terrifying form, never entirely clear, always partially veiled, and passes by, as though a ghost ship, never noticing the hearer’s presence. The cycle progresses through the struggles, triumphs, and regrets of real human life, and finally, after fifteen intermediary vignettes, comes full circle through a blaze of fire and presents the thematic material of the beginning once more; but at last the hearer understands completely. The whole work is imbued with a kind of humanness – an accessible but deep understanding of life – which is uncommon in the music of our time.”

About Joshua Rupley

Joshua Rupley is quickly earning a reputation as a pianist of unusual versatility and musicality, even after only beginning his study of the instrument at the late age of 11. His frequent recitals and easy rapport on stage have excited audiences in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, California, North Carolina, and Germany. He is the winner of the Jackie McGehee Young Artists Concerto Competition, runner-up in the statewide MTNA Piano Competition, pianist-in-residence for the internationally-renowned University of New Mexico Wind Symphony, and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque. In 2016 he won the 4th prize of the first International Olga Kern Piano Competition.

Gabriella Herczeg

About ‘Finger-Paintings’ by Falko Steinbach

“Finger-Paintings” is the first of a set of three volumes of piano etudes composed by Professor Falko Steinbach. It contains 17 etudes intended for “developed beginners.” I became acquainted with “Finger-Paintings” as a student of Professor Steinbach and have had the opportunity to perform them several times in public.
A great help in studying the etudes is Professor Steinbach’s book “A Compendium of Piano Technique.” The objective of the book is to help to raise the student’s level of piano technique, and also to prepare the student for the challenges encountered in contemporary piano music.
The etudes are expressive miniature pieces, each evoking a particular mood and atmosphere, created by a rich variety of rhythm and sound. While they address technical challenges, they are not just exercises but compositions rewarding for both the performer and for the audience. They were my first direct introduction to contemporary music. I find it a great pleasure to play them as well as to listen to them.
I am now working on etudes in the second volume, “Moving,” which are technically more advanced. I am looking forward to learning all of them and then to continue with “Figures,” the third volume.

About Gabriella Herczeg

Gabriella Herczeg was born in 1988 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. In 2007 she graduated with honors from Los Alamos High School. She started to learn the piano at the age of six. In 2007 Gabriella began to study piano with Professor Falko Steinbach and since 2008 she has been his student at the University of New Mexico as a music major. She finished her studies with Prof. Steinbach with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music degree in piano performance. Gabriella has participated in several master courses by Professor Steinbach: in 2008 in Heek, Germany, and in 2009, 2011, and 2012 in Lindlar, Germany. In 2011 and 2012 she also gave a solo recital in Lindlar.

Erica Medina

About Falko Steinbach

“I am currently a freshman at the University of New Mexico and I have played piano for 11 years. This is my first year studying with Professor Steinbach and I am working towards a degree in Piano Performance. The 17 etudes from Finger-Paintings have taught me important piano technique to improve my overall performance. I enjoy playing the etudes because of the unique sound. They are a lot of fun to play and to listen to. I like how interesting each one is and I enjoy practicing them because they are both fun and challenging.”

Esther Frazier

About ‘Finger Paintings’ by Falko Steinbach

“Falko Steinbach’s “Finger Paintings” are highly instructive to me. Each piece has a specific formula or method behind it that teaches specific techniques and exercises the fingers. They are helpful to memorize and use as warm ups as well as teaching tools. I would recommend this book of Etudes to anyone interested in improving his skills on the piano or keyboard.”

About Esther Frazier

Esther Frazier is in her freshman year at the University of New Mexico studying music to graduate with a degree in piano performance. She has been playing piano for 8 years and is currently a student of Prof. Falko Steinbach.

Neue Musikzeitung

 About ‘Klaviertechnisches Kompendium’ by Falko Steinbach

“Mit Akribie und Geschick zu guter Technik. Falko Steinbach hat sich dieser Aufgabe gestellt und löst sie sowohl mit bewundernswerter Akribie als auch in weiten Teilen mit Geschick in der verbalen Darstellung technischer Problemfelder und deren Lösungsmöglichkeiten.”

Rayla McClurg

About the Etudes of Falko Steinbach

“The Basic Fingering Exercise and the supplementary studies with support fingers in the Compendium of Piano Technique helped me to hear sustained tones while other tones are sounding at the same time. Technically I learned how to relax my hand and arm by using movement to help keep the weight in the sustained finger while playing the surrounding notes with the other fingers. The same figure in Étude 1 of “Finger Paintings” helped me to understand how to listen to sustained chords and how to play legato by improving the flexibility in my wrist and fingers.”

Tom Posen

About ‘A Compendium of Piano Technique’ by Falko Steinbach

“Falko Steinbach’s A Compendium of Piano Technique is an encyclopedia of piano technique meant to enrich anyone who reads it. The exercises and instruction are precise and regular practice is sure to ensure success for all piano students who work through the compendium with care. The Compendium is no doubt essential for any aspiring pianist.”

About Tom Posen

Tom Posen was an undergraduate and graduate piano performance student at UNM, who studied with Falko Steinbach. He participated in international master courses in Germany and finished his studies with a BM and MM for piano performance and theory. For his DMA he went to McGill University, Montreal.

Charles Dickinson

About ‘Figures’ by Falko Steinbach

“Falko Steinbach’s “Figures” represent his unique approach to the etude genre, which explores the concept that physical motions and sounds are inextricably linked. Each etude encompasses a specific kind of choreography, or physical gesture, that is developed in an intelligent and musically satisfying way. The breadth of characters is indicative of Prof. Steinbach’s keen aural imagination, and the etudes are connected via clever leitmotifs that encourage in-depth study. They have much to offer pianists, and will engage listeners everywhere.”

About ‘A Compendium of Piano Technique’ by Falko Steinbach

“Falko Steinbach’s “A Compendium of Piano Technique” is a guidebook like no other. It stands apart from other technique books, which tend to focus either on pedagogical advice or standalone exercises; Prof. Steinbach’s compendium offers both, and is executed with such lucidity that the student will be able to come to terms with technique in a logical way. The problems are given first in their simplest forms, but the given exercises get increasingly complex. Of course, the main technical device in question remains the same despite the growing complexity, and thus is Falko Steinbach’s insight manifest. By teaching in this fashion he–and this compendium–show students that any challenge, however daunting, can usually be boiled down to a few basic components.”

About Charles Dickinson

Charles Dickinson finished his DMA at UMKC, where he studies piano with Karen Kushner and Robert Weirich. He earned his masters degree in piano performance at UNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he studied under Falko Steinbach for three years. In the summer of 2011, he travelled to Germany with Prof. Steinbach to play a recital as a participant in Steinbach’s Internationales Klavierfestival in Lindlar.

Clavier Companion – USA, March/April 2012

About ‘Figures’ by Falko Steinbach

“Figures are highly creative and beautiful compositions that are well worth studying, teaching and performing. In particular, they may be highly motivating for students who are more perceptive to sonorities, colors, and mood in music.”

Tobias Kokkelink

About ‘Klaviertechnisches Kompendium’ by Falko Steinbach

“Steinbachs “Klaviertechnisches Kompendium” ist ein akribisch ausgearbeiteter Wegweiser durch die unendlichen Kombinationsmöglichkeiten pianistischer Bewegungen. Systematisch werden sämtliche Bewegungsarten der einzelnen Gelenke von der Schulter bis zu den Fingern behandelt und durch zahlreiche Übungen trainiert. Das Werk lädt dazu ein, die Übungen immer wieder neu mit den zahlreichen Fingersatzvorschlägen und unterschiedlichen Griffbildern auszuprobieren, und ist dadurch immer wieder eine Quelle für technische Weiterentwicklung.”

About Tobias Kokkelink

Tobias Kokkelink hat 2007 den Abschluss Diplom-Musikpädagoge (Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Klasse Prof. Matitjahu Kellig) und 2009 den Master of Music mit Auszeichnung (University of New Mexico, Klasse Prof. Falko Steinbach) mit Hauptfach Klavier erworben. Seit 2010 ist er Dozent für Klavier, seit September 2011 Leiter an der Jugendmusikschule Bad Münder.

Sam Fenstermacher, age 9

About ‘Finger Paintings’ by Falko Steinbach

“Steinbach’s fingering exercise in Étude 1 fom “Finger Paintings” helped me to learn how to play equally well with both hands. This passage also taught me how wrist movement helps to connect sounds smoothly.”

Mareike Kokkelink

About ‘Klaviertechnisches Kompendium’ by Falko Steinbach

“Das „Klaviertechnische Kompendium“ ist klar und sukzessiv aufgebaut: Es beginnt mit einfacheren Grundübungen wie dem richtigen Sitz und endet in den äußerst komplexen Klaviertechniken wie z.B. Sprüngen und Doppelgriffen. Damit bietet es jedem Klavierspieler, vom Anfänger bis zum Fortgeschrittenen, Übungen auf seinem jeweiligen Niveau, um ein natürliches, unverkrampftes Klavierspiel zu erreichen und seine Technik nach und nach auszubauen.”

About Mareike Kokkelink

Mareike Kokkelink studierte zunächst Klavier bei Prof. Matitjahu Kellig an der Hochschule für Musik in Detmold und schloss 2004 ihr Studium zur Diplom-Musikpädagogin ab. Desweiteren absolvierte sie an der University of New Mexico die Masterstudiengänge Klavier unter der Leitung von Prof. Falko Steinbach und Gesang bei Prof. Marilyn Tyler und Prof. Paula Swalin und beendete diese als “Master of Music” mit Auszeichnung. Verschiedene Konzertauftritte führten sie u.a. nach Deutschland, Italien, Israel und die USA. Seit 2010 ist Mareike Kokkelink als Dozentin für Klavier und Gesang an der Jugendmusikschule Bad Münder tätig.

Piano News I, 2011

About ‘Fingerbilder’, ‘Beweglich’ und ‘Figuren’ by Falko Steinbach

“Es geht um mehr als nur darum, Fingerfertigkeit zu vermitteln. Vielmehr soll das Bewußtsein für das “große Ganze” geschärft werden: dass gutes, ja virtuoses Klavierspiel ebenso mit einem guten Körpergefühl einhergeht als auch mit der Lust an geistiger Auseinandersetzung.”