Piano teaching, Repertoire

Encore – your favourite ABRSM piano exam pieces

There are numerous anthologies of piano pieces which sit comfortably alongside the exam syllabuses, many of which are published by the ABRSM. Encore is a new compilation, in four volumes covering Grades 1 to 8, of over 70 favourite exam pieces from timeless classics to contemporary classical music and popular songs and show tunes or… Continue reading Encore – your favourite ABRSM piano exam pieces

Piano teaching, Practising, Repertoire, Students, Studying music

What Are Piano Lessons For?

This is a very personal manifesto about the purpose of piano lessons. You may not agree. You may disagree vehemently. But what you (as a piano teacher or as a parent of a piano student or as a piano student) believe piano lessons are for will affect your level of satisfaction with the piano lessons… Continue reading What Are Piano Lessons For?

Piano teaching, Practising, Repertoire

Guest post: You Can Teach Jazz

by Elena Cobb  I am very grateful to all who took part in the lively discussions on the Facebook piano teachers forums, made suggestions and offered their opinions on this highly interesting and often controversial topic. Special thank you to Snake Davis (UK), Kay Alexander (Canada), Elissa Milne (Australia), Rami Bar-Niv (Israel), Tom Lydon, the editor of the Music Teacher… Continue reading Guest post: You Can Teach Jazz

Piano teaching, Repertoire, Technique

Making the music 3-D

This week Eli, one of my students who has been learning with me for about 4 years, offered a wonderfully simple, yet insightful description of how we play musically, and ways in which we attempt to "tell the story" or "paint the picture" in music. He called it "making the music 3-D". It came up… Continue reading Making the music 3-D

Practising, Repertoire

How to play…… Beethoven – Rondo from Sonatina in F, Anh 5

This carefree 'Rondo' is an excellent introduction to the piano music of Beethoven for the intermediate student, offering a taster of what wonders and variety there is to enjoy and explore in his Piano Sonatas. Composed c1785, the Sonatina in F, Anh 5 is in two movements, and displays many of the style traits present… Continue reading How to play…… Beethoven – Rondo from Sonatina in F, Anh 5

General, Repertoire

James Bond Concert Study

A "study" or "étude" is a short, often considerably difficult, and technically advanced piece designed to help perfect a particular musical skill, such as finger dexterity, octaves, scale passages, balance and tone control, and co-ordination. In the 19th century Fryderyk Chopin elevated the etude from dull student study to concert showpiece, and his Études Op.… Continue reading James Bond Concert Study

Music history, Piano teaching, Practising, Repertoire

What the great composers teach us

We can learn a great deal from studying and learning music by the great composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Bartok, and even contemporary classical composers. Find out more here..... What the great composers teach us. (this post first appeared on my sister blog The Cross-Eyed Pianist)


‘Perpetuum Mobile’ – Penguin Café Orchestra

Several of my students have been learning and enjoying this well-known piece by the Penguin Café Orchestra, and so I thought it might be helpful to have some background about the band and the music. The Penguin Café Orchestra (PCO) was a collective of musicians, founded by Simon Jeffes in the 1970s. It is hard… Continue reading ‘Perpetuum Mobile’ – Penguin Café Orchestra

Exams, Practising, Repertoire, Students

How to play…. ‘Petit Mystère’

This beautiful miniature is a wonderful introduction to the impressionistic music of French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and even the early compositions of Olivier Messiaen. The composer, Simone Plé, was contemporary with all three composers. She published two volumes of music for children. The title gives a clue to the mood and atmosphere… Continue reading How to play…. ‘Petit Mystère’