To follow up my recent post on Modern Music, here's a great article by fellow blogger and pianist ClassicalMel on contemporary classical composers and their music: Contemporary piano music?
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’
A couple of my students have requested the sheet music for "that tune from The Muppets", so here it is (click on link below to download a PDF file to print out). It's actually called 'Mah Na Mah Na', and I've adapted it from a guitar score. Very simple, only two lines long, it can… Continue reading That tune from ‘The Muppet Show’….
This charming and haunting piece by Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada blends eastern and western culture in musical form. A spacious right hand melody is hung over the steady, almost hypnotic pulse of left hand chords. Separate hands practice is crucial in this piece. You want to achieve a sense of the melody floating over the… Continue reading How to Play….. Song of Twilight
What a treat for the left hand this piece is! A moody "'cello" melody with plenty of scope for expressive shaping, with an agitated right hand figure of repeated chords, this piece is redolent of Chopin's Étude Opus 25 no. 7. Separate hands practice is crucial here - and not just in the early stages… Continue reading How to play……Allegro non Troppo
If you can't sing it, you can't hear it. And that means we [the audience] can't hear it either." This is what my teacher said to me at my lesson last week. I was working on one of Chopin's Nocturnes, the Opus 62 no. 2, the last published in his lifetime. In bars 20-22 the… Continue reading Listening and Hearing
As the title of this piece suggests, it is inspired by Aaron Copland's famous 'Fanfare for the Common Man' - and the first thing I do when I start teaching this piece to a student is to ask them to listen to Copland's work and tell me what they hear in it and what instrument… Continue reading How to play……. ‘Fanfare for the Common Cold’
There are still places available on Penelope Roskell's Spring course (16th-18th March). Penelope is an inspiring and dedicated teacher, and the courses, which are open to all advanced pianists (Grade 8 - post-diploma), amateur, student or professional, offer a very supportive and stimulating learning environment. Taking place over three days, the March course will focus… Continue reading Penelope Roskell’s Advanced Piano Course
As a piano teacher based in Lichfield, one of the first things I ask a pupil when they start lessons is what would they like to play. Most look slightly embarrassed and the horribly predictable 'Moonlight Sonata', 'Für Elise' and 'The Entertainer' are volunteered as possible ideas. For most people learning an instrument, I reckon… Continue reading Guest post: Discovering New Repertoire