General

Finding joy in music – every day: The Happy Music Play Book

'The Happy Music Play Book' by Cordelia Williams There’s a lot more to making music with children than singing The Wheels on the Bus or dancing to Baby Shark. Newborn babies can detect the pulse in music and infants respond to maternal speech and singing. Many children have a natural instinct for music making and… Continue reading Finding joy in music – every day: The Happy Music Play Book

General, Studying music

UK’s future music ‘talent pipeline’ at risk from A-level music decline

A-level music education provided by state schools could completely disappear by 2033 as a result of an alarming year-on-year decline, new research suggests. Falling access to the music qualifications, accelerated by cuts in local and central government funding in recent years, has also led to the gap between state and independent music education provision widening,… Continue reading UK’s future music ‘talent pipeline’ at risk from A-level music decline

General

Piano Journeys – six books to own and love

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

Practising

Efficient Practice and the ‘Imposter Syndrome’

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’

Piano teaching

“Playing to learn” – introducing ‘Chopsticks to Chopin’ piano course

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.

General

Reflections on repertoire on International Women’s Day 2021

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

Piano teaching

Learn to play Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Seasons’ with pianist Julia Zilberquit and MusicGurus

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