Piano teaching, Repertoire

‘Under the Rowan Tree’ by Robert Peate

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

Piano teaching, Practising, Studying music, Uncategorized

The Three H’s of Practicing

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

Piano teaching

Teaching notes for the new ABRSM piano syllabus

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

Exams, Piano teaching

Exam-obsessed?

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?

Piano teaching

Inspiration comes from unusual places

Meet Ant Middleton - the rather formidable-looking 37-year-old Special Forces veteran (he has served tours in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, and time in the Marines), presenter of TV shows SAS: Who Dares Wins, Mutiny and Escape. Why on earth might I draw inspiration from this former soldier whose life and work seem very far divorced… Continue reading Inspiration comes from unusual places

Piano teaching

The price of piano lessons 

How much would you expect to pay for piano lessons? Is your choice of teacher based purely on the price they are charging for lessons and whether the teacher offers "value for money"? Or do you consider other factors such as the teacher's credentials and experience, recommendations or testimonials from existing students? The problem with… Continue reading The price of piano lessons 

Piano teaching, Students

Guidance for parents of young piano students

Guest post by Alexandra Westcott Learning music should be fun, but there are processes along the way that can seem like an uphill struggle, especially to a young beginner. However, perseverance through these processes at the start will give a student more freedom at the instrument and, therefore, more fun and a greater ability to… Continue reading Guidance for parents of young piano students

Exams, Piano teaching, Repertoire, Students

LCM piano grade handbooks 2018-2020

I was delighted to act as a consultant in the selection of piano pieces for the new London College of Music (LCM) piano syllabus and I was impressed with the breadth and variety of music under consideration. When I received copies of the new handbooks, I was pleased to see some of the pieces I… Continue reading LCM piano grade handbooks 2018-2020