The key of C major. It’s the beginner’s key signature and usually the first scale that early piano students learn. (In fact, Chopin considered it the most difficult scale to play and instead liked to begin his students with the B major scale in the right hand, in order to more naturally introduce the passing… Continue reading In the Key of C
With COVID and lockdown, a lot of teachers and students have been faced with the challenge of learning online. Teachers, especially, have had to think of ways to make online lessons more fun and engaging.
Books about piano journeys are rare and valuable - especially those written from the perspective of the amateur player. A new book, by late-returner pianist and ex-technologist Howard Smith, adds to the genre and does so in a surprising (and delightful) fashion. In this article I list the six books I have read, and compare… Continue reading Piano Journeys – six books to own and love
A conversation between Frances Wilson (The Cross-Eyed Pianist) and Howard Smith Howard Smith is a late-returner pianist and the author of Note For Note: Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered. Here he shares his anxiety about the thorny issue of ‘efficient practice’ and the burden of imposter syndrome on self-confidence in one's practicing. Howard: I am in… Continue reading Efficient Practice and the ‘Imposter Syndrome’
“I am a beginner. I am always learning”* Fou Ts’ong This wonderfully humble quote from Fou Ts’ong, the acclaimed Chinese pianist, who died in December 2020, is a reminder that even those at the top of the profession should never stop learning. Our learning journey often begins in childhood, with early music lessons under the… Continue reading Always a beginner
My aim in this course is to be absolutely systematic and clear so that an adult beginner can teach themselves without difficulty, and without a teacher present. Equally, I would claim that an adult beginner can use the course to teach a child, or an older child a younger sibling, in exactly the way that Chopsticks has been handed down over generations.
When I was having piano lessons as a child/teenager from the early 1970s to the mid-80s I never played any piano music by women composers, except perhaps some very rudimentary pieces by Fanny Waterman (though I cannot recall any). I learnt music from the "core canon" - pieces by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn… Continue reading Reflections on repertoire on International Women’s Day 2021
MusicGurus, the online music education platform that partners with worldleading artists to create unique interactive lessons, has released Perform Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” March, April, June and October with pianist Julia Zilberquit, exclusively on musicgurus.com. In this exciting masterclass, Julia will help you learn how to play her favourite four pieces from Tchaikovsky's cycle 'The Seasons':… Continue reading Learn to play Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Seasons’ with pianist Julia Zilberquit and MusicGurus
Guest post by Julian Harnish A smile played on my lips as I finished the last page of the last piece of my college senior recital - L’isle Joyeuse by Debussy. I was experiencing joy, and yes, part of that had to do with the state of flow that I find in performance. Yet, there… Continue reading 4 Tips for Achieving Joy-filled Practice
This recently released anthology of piano music comes two years after Ji Liu’s album of the same name and offers intermediate and advanced level pianists an opportunity to explore and play some of the pieces featured on Ji Liu’s recording