The title of this post is a quote from the British actor Michael Caine's memoirs which he read on Radio 4's Book of the Week programme over Christmas week. The phrase was first mentioned when he was describing setbacks in his early career and how he would always try to find a positive in a… Continue reading Use the Difficulty
The John Lewis Christmas advert celebrates the joy of music and reminds us that a piano is for life, not just for Christmas
Pianist James Lisney offers courses for adult pianists in the form of workshops and masterclasses, one-to-one lessons, and performance opportunities - all within a relaxed, entertaining and considerate environment
This questioning curiosity is one of the magical things for me about learning and practising at the piano; there is nothing more exciting that having struggled with something, to notice exactly what I’m doing, find a fix and then discover that it works and the problem is solved/solveable!
For the musician looking to further their studies after Grade 8 Performance Diplomas offer a pathway to fully accredited professional qualifications, recognised by other musicians and music professionals around the world. A diploma, even at the lowest Associate level, is significantly more involved than Grade 8, requiring a high degree of attainment, combined with a… Continue reading New Diploma Syllabus from Trinity College London
'Journeys' is a six-volume collection of 97 piano pieces, composed and arranged by William Minter, originally from the UK and now resident in Connecticut. Rather in the manner of Bartok's Mikrokosmos, the pieces are arranged in order of difficulty, from the first volume of simple but characterful pieces for students of around Grade 1 ability… Continue reading Journeys piano album by William Minter
If we are serious about our music, our progress with our repertoire and our technical and artistic development, we need to establish good and regular practising habits, as regular as cleaning one’s teeth. No one, not even professional musicians at the top of their game, is born with an innate talent which negates the need… Continue reading Feeding the practise habit
Some years ago I belonged to a gym. I went regularly - 3 or 4 times a week - and followed the same sequence of exercises every time: rowing, cycling, cross-trainer, weight-training. After a while, it occurred to me that my fitness wasn't really improving as I was just “going through the motions”, following the… Continue reading Breaking the routine
Practice should reflect age and level. Five to ten minutes of practice at a time for a very young beginner is usually good. For those starting out regardless of age, five to ten minutes per day, moving to two sessions per day of that duration, is recommended to gradually build both concentration and engagement.
Guest post by Phil Best The great piano composers were all fluent improvisers. Bach, Mozart, Chopin and so many others are reported to have improvised to audiences regularly. Beethoven’s improvisation duel against Daniel Steibelt, which he won to become the most lauded improviser in Vienna, proves this point whilst it also demonstrates how many virtuoso… Continue reading What happened to improvisation in classical piano music?