I'm no longer teaching regularly and although I still take an active interest in the world of piano pedagogy, I don't feel it's appropriate to continue to update this site, the main purpose of which was to offer guidance and advice for my own students and their parents, and for other piano teachers and students.… Continue reading A Piano Teacher Writes is signing off
Most of us in the music teaching community will have seen it by now - an ill-judged tweet by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) which stated that “Musical achievement is about how well you can do, how good you can get. That sense of attainment is tested by assessment which gives us intrinsic motivation to make us want to get better. That’s the virtuous circle of motivation.” (via Twitter, 24 September 2021).
Just as so many aspects of our normal daily lives have been severely disrupted or curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, so has the graded music exams system. The three main exam boards, ABSRM, Trinity College London (TCL) and London College of Music (LCM), cancelled physical face-to-face exams and both sought to offer candidates the opportunity… Continue reading MTB Exams – graded music exams for the digital age
This is a transcript of an article I wrote to accompany the release of Trinity College London's new piano syllabus, for which I also contributed teaching notes. Here I introduce the new piano syllabus for Grades 3 to 5 and explores some of my favourite pieces from the repertoire. For music examples, please see the… Continue reading New Trinity College London piano syllabus – exploring the repertoire
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
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
With this new syllabus, the ABRSM has sought to remain true to its core strength of offering a syllabus which combines rigour with a selection of music to appeal to a wide range of students around the world
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?
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
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