Practising

Make friends with the music

Too often it seems that we view learning, studying, practising and performing music as a kind of fight. People talk about "doing battle with Beethoven" or "fighting the fear" (of performing) as if one must take up arms against unseen, powerful forces. It's true that learning new repertoire can be a Herculean task, and practising… Continue reading Make friends with the music

Practising

Train your weaknesses

Like sportspeople, musicians need to train. We call training "practicing" - a catch-all term that encompasses learning new music, reviving previously-learnt music, keeping repertoire going and honing skills. We all have strengths and weaknesses, whether a professional or amateur musician, and understanding and appreciating our individual strengths and weaknesses is important in how we approach… Continue reading Train your weaknesses

Piano teaching, Practising, Students, Teaching

How to Approach Sight Reading for Yourself or With Your Students

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

Practising

Optimising the Adult Piano Journey

With time always moving on, some adult piano learners are keen to understand how to optimise their practice time so as to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. After all, beyond a certain age, there is a finite window of opportunity to get on top of any complex new skill, and piano is surely that.

Piano teaching, Practising

Curiosity in piano practice

This questioning curiosity is one of the magical things for me about learning and practising at the piano; there is nothing more exciting that having struggled with something, to notice exactly what I’m doing, find a fix and then discover that it works and the problem is solved/solveable!

Piano teaching, Practising

Feeding the practise habit

If we are serious about our music, our progress with our repertoire and our technical and artistic development, we need to establish good and regular practising habits, as regular as cleaning one’s teeth. No one, not even professional musicians at the top of their game, is born with an innate talent which negates the need… Continue reading Feeding the practise habit

Practising

Breaking the routine 

Some years ago I belonged to a gym. I went regularly - 3 or 4 times a week - and followed the same sequence of exercises every time: rowing, cycling, cross-trainer, weight-training. After a while, it occurred to me that my fitness wasn't really improving as I was just “going through the motions”, following the… Continue reading Breaking the routine 

Piano teaching, Practising

P is… for Piano Parents & Practising!

Practice should reflect age and level. Five to ten minutes of practice at a time for a very young beginner is usually good. For those starting out regardless of age, five to ten minutes per day, moving to two sessions per day of that duration, is recommended to gradually build both concentration and engagement.

Piano teaching, Practising

The power of “yet”

Those of us who teach and play ourselves understand that music requires commitment in the form of consistent, focused practising. This does not mean a snatched half-hour here or there or a blitz the night before the weekly piano lesson, but regular engagement with the instrument and its literature (at least 5 days out of… Continue reading The power of “yet”