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?
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
As teachers, we deal in the business of shaping human beings, which we can all agree is a continual process of growth and learning; our students grow, and we do also.
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
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
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
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
It's that time of year again. The start of the new academic year and a new teaching term for private piano teachers. Many of us are organising our teaching diaries, planning lessons and welcoming students back to regular lessons, hoping that some if not all have done some practising over the summer holiday..... Sadly, some… Continue reading Respect