A conversation between Frances Wilson (The Cross-Eyed Pianist) and Howard Smith Howard Smith is a late-returner pianist and the author of Note For Note: Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered. Here he shares his anxiety about the thorny issue of ‘efficient practice’ and the burden of imposter syndrome on self-confidence in one's practicing. Howard: I am in… Continue reading Efficient Practice and the ‘Imposter Syndrome’
If we understand how to adapt specific skills, to make them relevant to the repertoire we are currently working on, we can make the learning process less arduous and more rewarding, while also continuing to build on existing skills and develop new ones.
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
The key is trying to limit yourself to perform only the pieces that will be best for you and the audience. Otherwise, you’re doing everyone—yourself, the composer, and the audience, a huge disservice. – Richard Goode, concert pianist I’m sure most performers would agree with Richard Goode’s statement, yet many, especially younger artists, are under… Continue reading Play what you play best
The first of a series of short films made in collaboration with Casio UK and Pianist magazine. In this film, I offer suggestions on how to make the most of limited practice time, and making practising productive and most of all enjoyable. Find out more about the Casio Premium Grand Hybrid https://youtu.be/hzZT_LyOJwE Frances Wilson is… Continue reading Practising Tips with Frances Wilson
On the most basic level, we practice to get better, to become proficient, to ensure we never play a wrong note. However, productive practising should never just be mindless “note bashing”. As pianist and renowned teacher Seymour Bernstein says in his excellent book ‘With Your Own Two Hands’, “productive practising puts you in touch with… Continue reading The Three H’s of Practicing
Encouraging piano students to practice can be the bane of the piano teacher's life and teachers regular seek new ways to encourage students to practice creatively, thoughtfully and intelligently. The practice notebook is usually the means by which the teacher records what he or she would like student to focus on in the intervening days… Continue reading A new kind of practice notebook
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
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?