Technique lies at the foundation of piano playing, and good technique can serve the beginner student right through to advanced level.
Written in the present tense with all the breathless stream of consciousness of a bright, excitable 10 year old girl, Joanna and the Piano is part time-travelling fantasy, part comment on modern family life. When her father is made redundant, Joanna is forced to leave the city home and friends she loves to start a… Continue reading Joanna and the Piano – Gavin Thomson
Guest post by Barbara Kennedy When I made the switch to piano teaching, following a career in administration, one of the biggest surprises was that I missed the face-to-face interaction with colleagues. I had not anticipated just how isolating piano teaching could be. I now see around 35 students (and families) a week and I… Continue reading Introducing ‘Piano Teachers’ Hour’ on Twitter
With this new syllabus, the ABRSM has sought to remain true to its core strength of offering a syllabus which combines rigour with a selection of music to appeal to a wide range of students around the world
Following in the footsteps of Robert Schumann, Bela Bartok and Dmitri Kabalevsky, British composer Robert Peate has created a delightful collection of piano miniatures for children. Like Bartok's For Children and his Mikrokosmos, Peate's pieces are both imaginative and educational, and range in difficulty from very easy (pre-Grade 1) to more challenging (cGrade 3/4). The… Continue reading ‘Under the Rowan Tree’ by Robert Peate
On the most basic level, we practice to get better, to become proficient, to ensure we never play a wrong note. However, productive practising should never just be mindless “note bashing”. As pianist and renowned teacher Seymour Bernstein says in his excellent book ‘With Your Own Two Hands’, “productive practising puts you in touch with… Continue reading The Three H’s of Practicing
I am delighted to be a contributor to the teaching notes accompanying the new ABRSM piano syllabus, to be released early next month. The Teaching Notes, which are produced to accompany each syllabus, offer guidance on all the pieces in the syllabus and each note is divided into three areas of learning/teaching: Musical Context, Technical… Continue reading Teaching notes for the new ABRSM piano syllabus
The longer I teach (over 11 years at the time of writing), the more anti-exams I have become. For many - teachers, students and parents - exams are the visible benchmarks of progress, not just in music but in education in general. Children and young people are constantly tested, almost from the moment they enter… Continue reading Exam-obsessed?
Play always as if in the presence of a master - Robert Schumann The ability to self-critique, evaluate and reflect on one’s playing during practising and in lessons is a crucial skill for musicians, and is a component of the skillset of “deliberate practise” and self-regulation, which enables us to practise productively and deeply. Around… Continue reading Encouraging evaluation, reflection and self-critique in practising
If you've always wanted to play traditional Indian classical music ("raags" or "ragas") on piano but have no idea how to start, look no further than composer John Pitts' new book Indian Raags for Piano Made Easy. This neat volume is a spin-off from John's popular and acclaimed How To Play Indian Sitar Raags on… Continue reading Indian Raags for piano – made easy