Renowned educator, writer and clarinetist Paul Harris, author of innumerable books on sight-reading, music theory and music teaching as well as original compositions, led a seminar based around the ideas set out in his seminal book T'he Virtuoso Teacher' (Faber, 2012). The book focuses on the core issues of being a teacher and the teaching… Continue reading ‘The Virtuoso Teacher’ seminar with Paul Harris
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?
The role of parents in piano lessons is crucial, by encouraging their children to practise, reinforcing the teacher's instruction, and offering support and encouragement. The decision to start piano lessons should not be taken too lightly. Learning and playing the piano is highly enjoyable and satisfying, leading to a deep sense of personal fulfilment, but… Continue reading How to help your child enjoy and succeed at piano lessons
Saturday nights are all about the X-Factor, aren't they? The tv talent show which, after weeks of auditions, boot camps and live performances is now reaching its finale. I expect you know the format: each singer receives comments (often harsh) from four “celebrity” judges, who then vote the act in or out. Usually, it's pretty… Continue reading Putting the X-Factor into practising
A useful post on goal-oriented practice from the head of music at Monkton Combe School Practice part 2: It's not personal!
Thinking about studying at music college? This guest post by Madelaine Jones, a third-year student at Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, will give you a flavour of student life at a top London conservatoire..... “So where do you study, then? What subject?” “Oh, I’m a piano student. I study at a conservatoire.” Cue either… Continue reading Conservatoire Life: A look through the (Practice Room) keyhole
With the spring exam season upon us, I asked a friend and colleague of mine, Melanie Spanswick, who has experience as an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), to offer some tips on how to do well. Here are her 9 key points for exam success: Preparation is… Continue reading Guest Post: Piano exams success – 9 key points
This brief, yet very atmospheric piece is from the alternative repertoire list of Trinity Guildhall Grade 2 piano, and would suit a more mature student or one who can give it the requisite wistfulness. In my edition of Nacht und Träume (Night and Dreams), the date under the composer's name is 1939, which immediately conjures… Continue reading How to play…. ‘When Paris Dreams’
‘Now we will test your scales, C major hands together please’, the examiner smiles glancing at the student who is waiting with baited breath…… This is the usual scenario when pupils are faced with scales. Most pianists don’t like scales or scale practice. Some ask if they are really necessary. For me, they are the… Continue reading Reblogged: Scales – 6 reasons why you need to practice them
My students are very familiar with this chart, which sits on the chest of drawers next to the piano. A colleague of mine has it pinned on the door of her piano room, and I should think innumerable other music teachers and students have it somewhere to remind and inspire. Remember - regular practice WORKS!… Continue reading Should you be practising right now?