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
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
Music Performance Anxiety (MPA) is a widespread problem. It affects musicians of any age, instrument, level of expertise, professional and amateur musicians alike. It can be a crippling experience for anyone who suffers, turning a performance into a nightmare.
Guest post by Stephen Marquiss “We’ll see you on TV one day”, they said. By the time I reached my 29th birthday, I had been on TV once – but does a school promotional appearance really count? I could’ve made it twice, for the semi-final of BBC Young Musicians. But I withdrew through injury. I’m… Continue reading The Mammoth in the Practice Room: 7 reasons why musicians fall short of their potential
I'm a 'returner' pianist - and maybe, if you're reading this article, you are too and therefore what follows will chime with you. Or perhaps you are thinking of taking up the piano again after a long absence (as I did), in which case you should definitely read on.....
The key is trying to limit yourself to perform only the pieces that will be best for you and the audience. Otherwise, you’re doing everyone—yourself, the composer, and the audience, a huge disservice. – Richard Goode, concert pianist I’m sure most performers would agree with Richard Goode’s statement, yet many, especially younger artists, are under… Continue reading Play what you play best
"I wish I'd kept up my piano lessons!" How many people do you meet who express this regret, that they'd continued childhood piano lessons into adulthood? At my piano club, there are people who have played all their life; others who, like me, gave up, often in childhood or their teens, only to return to… Continue reading Never too late
Digital pianos offer musicians, professional or amateur, regardless of their ability level, a user-friendly, versatile instrument on which to practice and perform, and perhaps their greatest asset is that these instruments have a volume control and headphone jack, enabling the player to practice without disturbing others, at any time of the day or night. This… Continue reading An entry-level compact digital piano to help you learn and love music
Guest post by Mark Tanner I wonder how often we pause to consider the importance music plays in our everyday lives. What would we miss most about music if it were no longer there? It’s not just non-musicians who run the risk of taking music for granted – exponents of music, and professional players perhaps… Continue reading Mindfulness in Music: Notes on finding life’s rhythm
The John Lewis Christmas advert celebrates the joy of music and reminds us that a piano is for life, not just for Christmas