STEPHEN HELLER’S STUDIES, Opp. 45-47: Developing Musical and Technical Skills in Intermediate and Advanced Students
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I believe that it is crucial for intermediate- and advanced-level students to develop a strong technical foundation. It is important to develop these skills as early as possible, because unhealthy habits are difficult to break. While many teachers may provide students with exercises such as the ones by Hanon and Plaidy, which can be good sources for improving fundamental technical skills, they are often mechanical finger exercises with repetitive patterns that are uninspiring for the students. It is difficult to find etudes at this level that are musically interesting. However, with Heller’s Studies, intermediate- and advanced-level students can learn to project emotional and musical ideas while at the same time developing necessary technical skills. In this paper, I discuss Heller’s three sets of Studies, Opp.45-47, to explain why they are so valuable in helping students to build their technical resources along with their musical sensibilities.