The Complete Pianist by Penelope Roskell, renowned pedagogue and concert pianist, is an inspiring distillation of her experience and a comprehensive manual for pianists and teachers, packed with invaluable accumulated wisdom and excellent supporting materials
Guest post by Tom Van Schoor Why is daily practice so much better than having a dedicated day in the week? And how long should I set aside every day to see some measurable result? The answer lies in the way our brain works. How it processes new information and how it stores long term… Continue reading Why short daily practice beats the once a week catch up
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
Oktav - a sheet music app which recommends repertoire based on your ability and preferences
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
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
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.
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!
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
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