Matthew Ming Li

Solo & Collaborative pianist

I’m back!

After a brief period of hiatus, I’m finally back to some regular practicing! This time I am looking back in the year 2008, when I graduated from UBC. My then piano professor, Sara Davis Buechner, gave me a parting gift of an old book titled “Master School of Virtuoso Piano Playing, Vol. 1” by the Spanish-American pianist, Alberto Jonás. Inside was a collection of very challenging finger exercises and notes from various respected pianists and pedagogues from 19th and 20th century. The seemingly endless myriad of virtuosic studies made me shudder to imagine that this out-of-print series has 7 volumes in total! After studying a few of these exercises during the course of my graduate studies, I slowly began to discover the genius of the author behind this massive collection:

“There are no ‘daily exercises’ […] If a certain exercise exerts an especially beneficial effect, by all means practice it, but only as long as you feel that a benefit is derived, as long as your mind is pleasurably intent on this exercise, for the one and only reason that you feel the good it is doing you.”

I am delighted to find out a few years later that first two volumes of “Master School” was being republished under Dover publication, and my professor was behind it! I look forward to let the wisdom of Alberto Jonás fuel my practice sessions for the next little while!