JJ writes: Hi Fran - I'm having trouble playing the tremolos in Beethoven's Tempest Sonata (1st movement) evenly and at speed, with L and R hands well synchronised. Have tried practising slowly, etc. but still having difficulty. Hi JJ - These passages are tricky technically and artistically as you don't want the triplets to have… Continue reading Coffee Shop Questions: Beethoven ‘Tempest’ Sonata
Theresa writes: I am ready to sit ABRSM G7 theory and practical exams but obviously cannot due to the current situation. I’ll continue with past exam papers but with my 3 performance pieces how do I stop getting stale/bored with them ? Can you suggest any ways I can vary practice ? I recently joined… Continue reading Coffee Shop Questions: Keeping exam repertoire fresh
Howard Smith and Frances Wilson exchange thoughts on Mozart's Fantasia in D minor, K397 H: Approaching Grade Seven, you suggested I tackle this lovely work, Frances. I am enjoying the challenge. Listening to recordings of the Mozart, it seems there are degrees of freedom in interpretation. What could be more different than those of Mitsuko… Continue reading Coffee Shop Questions: Tackling Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor
Being confined to one's home for the duration of the coronavirus crisis may be an excellent reason to engage in more piano practice, but you may have questions arising out of your practising. In this new series, inspired by teaching sessions and conversations (in a London coffee shop) with a friend from my London piano… Continue reading Coffee Shop Questions – a new series
I first heard this work live more than 10 years ago at a concert given by the American pianist and noted Mozart specialist Robert Levin, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Played on a fortepiano, whose relatively modest voice spoke so elegantly in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, from the opening measures I was… Continue reading Repertoire in focus: Mozart Rondo in A minor, K511
"The most dangerous thing is 'finger memory'; if you really know a piece harmonically, it doesn't matter what finger you use, but if finger memory fails you, it falls apart utterly." the late Peter Feuchtwanger, quoted in The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart. From our earliest time at the piano, we… Continue reading Fingering schemes: help or hindrance?
When I was a young piano student in the 1970s, taking lessons with Mrs Scott in Sutton Coldfield, I remember having books like the ABRSM's new Core Classics series, volumes such as Hours With the Masters and Step By Step to the Classics, edited by Felix Swinstead (whose music still regularly appears in ABRSM exam… Continue reading ABRSM: Core Classics for Piano
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
I'm a 'returner' pianist - and maybe, if you're reading this article, you are too and therefore what follows will chime with you. Or perhaps you are thinking of taking up the piano again after a long absence (as I did), in which case you should definitely read on.....
It’s important to try to encourage adult learners to start benefitting from the technology that’s available. Youngsters will just do it anyway and will get tremendous advantages from it. Why should mature learners miss out?