How to Use Recordings to Improve Your Piano Playing
Buy them or borrow them — just get your hands on some CDs that you like and listen, listen, listen! Listening to other pianists gives you insight into the quality of your own playing as well as stylistic ideas you can borrow to liven up your performance. Plus, being inspired is always motivating.
Perusing record stores
It used to be you could find a record store on nearly every major street in every major city — not so anymore. Still, some record stores and bookstores selling CDs survive, and it’s always nice to look through a good collection and find something new or exciting.
It pays to patronize record stores with in-store listening, allowing you to sample any CD in the store for as long as you like before you ever let a dime fall from your pocket.
If you can’t find it, order it. Store clerks can always order something the store doesn’t have in stock, if you want to buy it. They’re happy to do the work for you, find what’s available and what’s out of print, and provide more information on the recording or pianist.
Avoid the traffic, stay in your pajamas, and shop for music from the comfort of your own home. That’s right: The Internet has many sites for ordering music. You can order a recording and have it sent to you, or you can download the songs directly to your computer. Most of the following vendors even allow you to listen to a sample of the recording before purchasing.
Visiting the library
Libraries aren’t just for books. Visit your local library and check out its CD collection — literally. That’s why it’s there.
When a record store fails to locate an out-of-print CD, a library is the place to go. You may not be allowed to take these hard-to-find recordings home, but you’ll still get a nice comfortable listening room.
Exchanging music with friends
A time-honored way to build a collection is to swap recordings with friends. With the old barter routine, chances are you can temporarily double the size of your collection.