A musical approach upon piano technique practice
As piano students, practising technical exercises can be sometimes challenging in our desire to just "Play the piano", in other words, just sitting down and enjoy the pleasure of transmitting our emotions through this amazing instrument, so postponing this activity by practising scales, arpeggios, and more gymnastic exercises could result in something frustrating for any piano lover.
Fortunately, there is a compromise in this matter, as often, many composers started as pianists as well before they became composers. One of the most powerful tools for any piano tutor is the use of "Etudes" which mean from French "Study". These are pieces designed to tackle technical aspects in such a way that can enhance our performance and at the same time enjoying them, so we would be working on the necessary technical aspects of any instrument and at the same time doing what made us approach the piano for the first time, which is expressing the emotions.
There are a plethora of etudes, but among them, Frederic Chopin Etudes can definitively be accounted as the most effective and pianistic ones, being one of the most famous (and more challenging as well) the "Revolutionary Etude", although there are more that could be studied by an intermediate student, such as ‘Waterfall’ (op.10-1, see video demo above) ‘Torrent’ (Op 10-4) ‘Winter Wind’ (Op.25-11) and ‘Ocean’ (Op. 25-12). Some particularly comical ones like ‘Horseman’ (Op. 25-3) and ‘Wrong Note’ (Op. 25-5).
There are two more that they characterized themselves of being composed at a slow tempo ‘Tristesse’ and ‘Cello’ (Op. 25-7).
The Chopin studies are something that offers a valuable source not only to recital pieces but also to literally use to practice the technical elements too.
The best part of any of these pieces is that Chopin takes one particular technical theme- whether octaves, thirds, sixths, left-hand semiquavers etc. and stretches out the possibilities into one full piece of music with a lot a variation and variety.
Click on the link aforementioned and read this full article with some videos of Chopin Etudes recorded at WKMT London.