Some people swear by them; others detest them with a passion. Love them or hate them, exercises are a crucial part of the pianist's technical regime, and discussions about the pros and cons of exercises in online piano forums and elsewhere are often as heated as the Brexit debate!
In the second of my videos produced for Casio Music and Pianist Magazine, I discuss some basic aspects of technique including staccato and legato https://youtu.be/c-ms3yz9-r4 New e-book from Graham Fitch - Practising the Piano: an introduction to practice strategies and piano technique. Available free from Casio Music
American pianist and teacher Eleonor Bindman is, by her own admission, devoted to the music of J S Bach. She has been praised for her performances and recordings of Bach's keyboard music and has made a transcription for piano 4-hands of the complete Brandenberg Concertos (read more here). In her 'Stepping Stones to Bach' Eleonor… Continue reading Eleonor Bindman’s Stepping Stones to Bach
The Piano and the Art of Illusion Guest post by Lynne Phillips A recent lesson with a young beginner got me thinking about something that has fascinated me for many years: the art of illusion. Is it our job, as musicians, to simply create something, whether that’s a story, an emotion, a landscape, or a… Continue reading Pulling the rabbit out of the hat
Guest post by Eleonor Bindman Sight reading is a very important skill which is often neglected during piano lessons and while practicing because of time constraints. It’s way at the bottom of our list of priorities and the fact that it seems challenging and not “fun” doesn’t help matters. In my early years of teaching… Continue reading How to Approach Sight Reading for Yourself or With Your Students
We are very lucky as pianists/piano teachers to have such a wide repertoire, and one which is constantly being expanded as composers continue to write for the piano. Which is why I find it rather disconcerting when new anthologies of piano music are released purporting to offer "variety" when in fact they merely present a… Continue reading Seeking diversity in anthologies and exam repertoire
….never had I had a piano teacher so demanding and tyrannical – Leonard Bernstein on Isabelle Vengerova The composer Philip Glass described her as somewhere “between intimidating and terrifying” whose lessons invariably left students “shaken and silent”, while Virgil Thomson wrote that she had a “no-nonsense approach to musical skills and a no-fooling-around treatment of… Continue reading Pedagogues and Demigods
The first of a series of short films made in collaboration with Casio UK and Pianist magazine. In this film, I offer suggestions on how to make the most of limited practice time, and making practising productive and most of all enjoyable. Find out more about the Casio Premium Grand Hybrid https://youtu.be/hzZT_LyOJwE Frances Wilson is… Continue reading Practising Tips with Frances Wilson
....not where you are and not where you want them to be but where they really are Sound advice for teachers from Frances Clark, American pianist and pedagogue. Too often teachers place unrealistic expectations and demands on their students, often further reinforced by pushy parents. I struggled myself with this when I was fairly new… Continue reading Meet the student where they are…..
Teachers and students are familiar with the practice diary, a notebook in which teachers write what students should be working on between lessons and students, or their parents, note how much practising has been done. When I taught children, I found the practice diary something of a chore: I would forget to write in what… Continue reading The no-practice diary