Piano Anno: A New Resource for Fingering and Interpretation

Today I’m excited to share another guest post written by pianist and teacher Christie Sowby. I love Christie’s insights into using technology in our teaching, and today she is going to introduce us to an amazing new website for pianists and teachers!

I would like to share an excellent new resource I have found for piano teachers and students. It’s called Piano Anno (www.pianoanno.com) and is an online platform for sharing annotated music in the public domain. The “Annos” contain fingering, markings, interpretation, and performance tips from professional pianists. Annos sell for $3 each in the form of a downloadable PDF.

For teachers, this is a welcome relief. How many times have I written in fingering for the same piece of music for my students? Or how many times have I wondered if there is a better fingering out there to approach something technically? Piano Anno is a real timesaver in this way with its reliable fingerings and other interpretive markings. I can affordably purchase as many copies as I need for my students. (Annos are licensed for a single user.) Sometimes I have found its fingering suggestions better than my own, as they have been stage-tested by other pianists.

For students, Piano Anno jumpstarts the often time-consuming process of annotating one’s own copy of the same music. The print-ready Annos are handy and inexpensive. Even if you don’t use the public-domain edition (perhaps you prefer your own), the Anno is still a good reference and you can hand-copy as many fingerings to your preferred edition as you need to.

Piano Anno invites qualified contributors to submit their own Annos and earn a commission on each sale. They are always looking for new pieces, or even new Annos of a piece already offered. Since only public-domain works are shared on Piano Anno, many 20th-century composers like Bartók, Scriabin, and Cage are off limits. Nevertheless, there is a growing selection of other favorites to which you might add your own. If you have great fingerings or ideas and want to share them with the world, this is a good opportunity. (And maybe even to get paid while you sleep!)

I’m thrilled to see innovative efforts like this, where pianists can harness digital technology to share their ideas and advance their musicianship. Think of it. A digital library of classical piano scores, with annotations by real performers. It’s like downloading some of that performer’s experience into your own learning, and it also gives you a way to pass on yours.

Visit Piano Anno to see what Annos are currently available, to suggest Annos you want to see there, or to become a contributor yourself. This is an excellent resource for all pianists, so please share this website with your students, colleagues, and the music community.

Jennifer Boster

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