Piano teaching

Seeking diversity in anthologies and exam repertoire 

We are very lucky as pianists/piano teachers to have such a wide repertoire, and one which is constantly being expanded as composers continue to write for the piano. Which is why I find it rather disconcerting when new anthologies of piano music are released purporting to offer "variety" when in fact they merely present a… Continue reading Seeking diversity in anthologies and exam repertoire 

Exams, Piano teaching

Exam-obsessed?

The longer I teach (over 11 years at the time of writing), the more anti-exams I have become. For many - teachers, students and parents - exams are the visible benchmarks of progress, not just in music but in education in general. Children and young people are constantly tested, almost from the moment they enter… Continue reading Exam-obsessed?

Exams, Piano teaching, Repertoire, Students

LCM piano grade handbooks 2018-2020

I was delighted to act as a consultant in the selection of piano pieces for the new London College of Music (LCM) piano syllabus and I was impressed with the breadth and variety of music under consideration. When I received copies of the new handbooks, I was pleased to see some of the pieces I… Continue reading LCM piano grade handbooks 2018-2020

Exams, Piano teaching

Grade exams don’t make musicians 

She can certainly play the 2015-16 [Grade 8] syllabus pieces A-C brilliantly......Can she play anything else? I’ll get back to you on that. This is a quote from an article about graded music exams by journalist Rosie Millard, who, by her own admission, is "a pushy music parent" when it comes to her children's music… Continue reading Grade exams don’t make musicians 

General, Uncategorized

Exam mark sheets: help or hindrance?

  It's that time of the year again - exam season, when teachers and students everywhere are awaiting the results of their practical exams. All exam candidates receive a mark sheet which includes brief commentaries on and marks for their pieces, technical work (scales, arpeggios and exercises), aural tests, sight-reading etc. At the bottom of… Continue reading Exam mark sheets: help or hindrance?

Exams, Piano teaching

Celebrate every pass, merit and distinction

Now is the season of piano teachers up and down the country expectantly waiting for the sound of exam results dropping through the letterbox or into their email inbox. The summer season for graded music exams is the busiest and results are coming in thick and fast. It is cheering to see from colleagues' posts… Continue reading Celebrate every pass, merit and distinction

Exams

Be prepared! Getting ready for your piano exam

Here is some advice to help you prepare for your piano exam, at whatever level. You should aim to be ready for your exam at least two weeks ahead of the exam date. By this time, your pieces will be thoroughly learnt and finessed, and your technical work (scales and arpeggios, technical exercises etc) should… Continue reading Be prepared! Getting ready for your piano exam

Exams, Piano teaching, Practising

Picture Scales & Arpeggios

Here are some useful visual aids for students and teachers. I have found these picture scales and arpeggios particularly helpful with younger students or those who find it easier to visualise the notes on the keyboard rather than reading from the score. They are relevant for ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall exams. Click on the link… Continue reading Picture Scales & Arpeggios

Exams, Students

Guest Post: Piano exams success – 9 key points

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