Exams, Performing, Piano teaching

New Diploma Syllabus from Trinity College London

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

Exams, Performing

Faking it: stagecraft for graded piano exams and performance diplomas

I am continually surprised at how infrequently stagecraft is taught as a specific skill to developing musicians, from children taking graded music exams to students at music college. I think this stems in part from a misplaced view that stagecraft is only for "professional" musicians. Yet the ability to comport oneself well in a performance… Continue reading Faking it: stagecraft for graded piano exams and performance diplomas

Performing, Piano teaching

Performance anxiety – a stressful subject

Years ago I went to a new dentist. I went with some trepidation as I had not been for regular check-ups for some years, mainly due to quite severe anxiety. When asked why I had stayed away from my dental appointments, I admitted that I was very fearful of the dentist. The dentist (a man)… Continue reading Performance anxiety – a stressful subject

Performing, Piano teaching, Technique

The Psychology of Piano Technique – Murray McLachlan

This, the third book by Murray McLachlan's for Faber Music on piano technique, takes a more leftfield approach to piano playing and piano technique, tackling esoteric, psychological and philosophical issues such as visualisation techniques, inspiration, musicians' health and well-being (including dealing with performance anxiety), career development, and encouraging independent learning and interpretative decision-making. This non-traditional… Continue reading The Psychology of Piano Technique – Murray McLachlan

Performing, Piano teaching, Practising

The Perfectionism Trap

"Practise makes perfect" - that oft-quoted phrase beloved of instrumental teachers the world over.... It's a neat little mantra, but one that can have serious and potentially long-lasting negative effects if taken too literally. Musicians have to practise. Repetitive, committed and quality practise trains the procedural memory (what musicians and sportspeople call "muscle memory") and… Continue reading The Perfectionism Trap

Performing, Uncategorized

Adventures in Interpretation

There is so much in music that is subjective and open to personal taste and interpretation. In order for us to play convincingly, we have to develop an interpretation that is meaningful TO US, vivid in all its details. Unless we are convinced by what we are doing, we are unlikely to convince our audience… Continue reading Adventures in Interpretation

Performing, Piano teaching, Practising, Uncategorized

Picture this

Using visualisation techniques in playing, performing and teaching Visualisation techniques have been used by sports people and sports psychologists for some time now to enable the tennis player or athlete, the golfer or cyclist to prepare for a match-winning shot or prize-winning sprint. The technique involves imagining an ideal scenario and positive outcome to achieve… Continue reading Picture this

General, Performing, Piano teaching

You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing

The desire for perfection surrounds us in our modern society. "Getting it right" and "being perfect" are inculcated in children from the moment they enter the formal school system, where they are continually assessed and tested, where correct answers are rewarded with stickers and other symbols of approval and mistakes are regarded are "wrong". Many… Continue reading You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing