Ways of the Hand
A Rewritten Account
A detailed account of the experience of learning to improvise on the piano.
Ways of the Hand tells the story of how David Sudnow learned to improvise jazz on the piano. Because he had been trained as an ethnographer and social psychologist, Sudnow was attentive to what he experienced in ways that other novice pianists are not. The result, first published in 1978 and now considered by many to be a classic, was arguably the finest and most detailed account of skill development ever published. Looking back after more than twenty years, Sudnow was struck by the extent to which he had allowed his academic background to shape the book's language. He realized that he could now do a much better job of describing his experiences in a way that would not require facility with formal social science and philosophical discourse. The result is a revised version of the book that carries the same intellectual energy as the original but is accessible to a much wider audience.