Piano teaching

Coffee Shop Questions: Beethoven ‘Tempest’ Sonata

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

Exams, Practising

Coffee Shop Questions: Keeping exam repertoire fresh

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

Piano teaching

Coffee Shop Questions: Tackling Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor

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

Piano teaching

Coffee Shop Questions – a new series

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

Practising, Repertoire

Repertoire in focus: Mozart Rondo in A minor, K511

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

Piano teaching

Fingering schemes: help or hindrance?

"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?

Piano teaching, Repertoire

ABRSM: Core Classics for Piano

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

Piano teaching, Practising

The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry – Penelope Roskell

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