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The Ultimate Piano Workout
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Very highly recommended!
The Ultimate Piano Workout
David Hicken
2016 - Enchanting Music
113 pages

The Ultimate Piano Workout is one of a series of instructional books by pianist/composer David Hicken. Hicken receives questions almost daily about how he has achieved such a dazzling piano technique, and in his books, he explains many aspects of playing the piano and reveals some of his “secrets.” He makes it no secret at all that he believes that playing and understanding scales are two of the most important building blocks of good piano technique, and most of this book is filled with major and minor scales and arpeggios with the correct fingering notated. Hicken took an extra step and marked all of the black keys in these exercises as clear, diamond-shaped notes so that the pianist can focus on the playing of the scales without worrying about which keys are black or white. (It should be noted that in the first printing of this book, there is an error where the Cb’s in all ten of the Gb major scales are marked as black keys. Hicken is aware of this and will correct it for the next printing. It should be very simple for users to go in and fill in those notes to keep the notation consistent.)

There are twenty-three pages of text in the book that explain the origins of scales and why they are such an important part of playing the piano well, the different types of scales and arpeggios, the do’s and don’ts of the exercises, tips, and an explanation of the conventions used in the book. This is very helpful and very user-friendly text that is both interesting and easy to understand. Hicken was a piano teacher for many years, so he is very accustomed to explaining this material to various age groups without talking “up” or “down” to anyone.

The rest of the book consists of major scales an octave, a third, a sixth, and a tenth apart; major scales in contrary motion with the same intervals (an octave, a third, a sixth, and a tenth apart); major scales in double thirds, double sixths, and double octaves. Then he goes into major broken chords in compound time, standard pattern and alternative pattern; major arpeggios in their root, first and second inversions; and then he does the same thing with harmonic and melodic minor scales and arpeggios; arpeggios of the dominant and diminished seventh chords in root position and two inversions; arpeggios of augmented triads; chromatic scales in parallel motion an octave, a minor third, a major sixth, a minor tenth, starting on the same note, a minor third, and a major sixth apart, in double thirds and double octaves; and whole-tone scales with all of the starting positions. Lastly, Hicken has included York Bowen’s Workout, an exercise given to Hicken’s mother by her piano teacher. This is likely the first time this exercise has been written down, so Hicken named it for his Mom’s teacher.

So, you can see that this book contains a wealth of information as well as exercises that will be useful and beneficial for pianists at any playing level. The Ultimate Piano Workout is available exclusively from Very highly recommended!

Kathy Parsons

— April 18, 2017 by (Oregon)
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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The Ultimate Piano Workout
When I was a kid, I played piano few years. After 60 years I resumed playing again. Internet is full of teachers, who promise that I can play in two weeks. That is too good to be true, of course. So the hard part is to know how to practise wisely . Davids book helped a lot. When I follow his quidance, I can be sure of progress. I very much recommend this book whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned player.
— April 13, 2017 by Seppo (Finland)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Reach your goal
You want to learn to play piano and you are waiting to have enough time to train?
Don’t waste your time by waiting, invest it with just 5-10 minutes a day, yes it works!
It’s a long way, but if you don’t start, even with little steps, you will never reach your goal.
When you finally will have more time to practice, then you will be surprised to see how much road you already did!
— March 8, 2017 by Eric (Switzerland)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Feedback - The Ultimate Piano Workout
Dear David,

I would like to take the opportunity to give a little feedback to the “Ultimate Piano Workout book”.

To find your website was a big luck for me because with the “Ultimate Piano Workout book” I found finally THE training method to improve my technique and become hopefully a good piano player.

Every time when I was listening virtuosic piano compositions I thought about it how I can improve my own technique as well. But a really good workout book was all the time missing.

I am convinced that your Ultimate Piano Workbook is a very big treasure for all pianists to reach exactly this aim because you give us a clear and precise way how to practise to become a very good piano player.

It includes all 24 major and minor scales and all arpeggios to this and some other important exercises.

Furthermore, everything to that will be exactly explained.

I am sure after the training I will be fit for wonderful runs of the piano which I love so much.

Dear David, thank you so much that you will share all your experiences with us to bring us a big step forward even perhaps to the master class in playing the piano.

Warmest regards,

— January 5, 2017 by Ute (Flensburg - Germany)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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A book from a Friend
Another great book from David.
I do appreciate the way he is guiding me. Tough when it's time to be tough and realistic. No jokes, but work hard and you'll get your reward. Working a bit every day I appreciate more and more having a direction. And I can feel it in my fingers getting stronger and more precise. Sometimes I start feeling I can finally control the touch and give Espression and life even to the easiest pieces .... thank you David.
— November 20, 2016 by Vittorio (Italy)
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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The Ultimate Piano Workout Review
Whilst reading David's book "Secrets of Better Piano Playing", I was encouraged by his writing to review scales and exercises to develop technique. The Ultimate Piano Workout answers the subsequent question of 'which scales?' and 'which exercises?' . The book is an invaluable resource and accompaniment to his other work, which are tough to find from someone with as trusted a reputation.
Thank you for the hard word producing this David.
— September 11, 2016 by James (Birmingham, UK)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Great book, great exercises
The Ultimate Piano Workout by David Hicken is a worthy continuation of The Better Piano Playing. The book shows the best path for anyone who wants to become a better pianist, because it will help you how to start the practise , how to practise, what to practice if you have a desire to improve your piano technique, this book is the best choice for you. The book contains clear, concise detailed information about what the exercises are and why you need them and shows the best way to use your fingers right. At last I have understood the connections among the scales. I think if you want to be a better pianist you should improve some skills in your personality: endurance, patience, discipline can help you achive your goals. When I read the book I feel the inspiration to try the new techniques and tricks. If I had read the book earlier I would have saved a lot of time and money. I recommend it for everyone who wants to be better pianist step by step. Thank You very much.
— August 31, 2016 by Eva S. (Siófok, Hungary)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Bubbling with enthusiasm
When I first discovered David Hicken's piano pieces I got so enthusiastic that I wanted to play them at once, but they are are so technically difficult that you really need to master your fingers and your practicing before being able to play them. I'm a piano teacher and I will be proud to use the Ultimate Piano Workout with my pupils, everything is explained and very clear. Of course as I'm french I will have to translate it to them but it's going to be lots of fun, cause David's music is so happy and full of joy !
— August 30, 2016 by Isabelle Padieu (Dijon (France))
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Piano Workout
I discovered David Hicken when listening to Pandora about 18 months ago. During the last 18 months I have learnt several pieces from his "Stories of You" collection. This collection is fairly easy to learn, but I would have trouble trying to progress to any of his "Art of Piano" songs - I just don't have the fundamentals, which I why I recently purchased "The Ultimate Piano Workout". Although there are many piano books available with scales and arpeggios, David's is the first to explain why these basics are so important to mastering technique as well providing guidance on learning the scales, the order to learn them, and how to practice them.
— August 26, 2016 by Mick (Canberra, Australia)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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His scale charts are great
Ultimate Piano workout book is great. I bought it last week to help me with my scales and arpeggios for ABRSM Grade 5 and the contents are much more useful than the standard ABRSM book.

I particularly like his explanations of the relationships between major and minor scales and his explanations of which white keys to be used on some of the more complex scales. His scale charts are great - sharps and flats are clearly distinguished.

Vocal is for Americans rather than British; he uses whole and half notes whereas we Brits use semitones and tones. That's my only complaint.
— August 26, 2016 by Richard Hill (U.K.)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Perfect supplement to his first book!!
I first got introduced to David Hicken when I came across his Bell Carol on YouTube. I was amazed by his playing ability and started looking at more of his songs and came across his book. I purchased both of his books and found them articulate, in depth, and answered many if not all of the questions I had regarding what I was doing wrong when I sat down at my piano. I read his first book which gave me an excellent approach to practicing but I did have a lingering question of "what piano exercises should I do, exactly??" As if he was reading my mind he wrote and released his second book which I loved!! If you find yourself stagnating and reaching a plateau with your playing ability David Hicken's books are excellent for giving you the information you need to stop wasting time every time you sit on the piano bench and to reach that next playing level ability.
— August 25, 2016 by Kenji (Maryland)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Brilliant !!!
David hicken is by far a piano genius so when I found out about his piano workout, I had to give it a try... I have to say : I absolutely LOVE it.
I dumped a few other technique books to focus on what he recommends. His tips and explanations were real eye openers that will really help you practise smarter.
Do I need to mention that I also bought his other awesome book :)
— August 18, 2016 by christopher (France)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Great workout! Finally a real help for daily practice in the best way. It makes so much more fun with this book. You don't have to think about anything, you just have to practice.
— August 18, 2016 by Brigitte (Switzerland)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Really helpful and great to use in combination with David's other books. This book shows you how to practise and what you should practise.
— August 16, 2016 by Harry (Germany)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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