Attuning Our Listening Skills

My most recent post for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter focuses on our ability to ‘hear’ what we are playing. I hope you find it of interest. One of the most important piano playing skills that we need to assimilate is the ability to listen. I spent my college years struggling with aural tests, especially the atonal…

Snapchats Duets & Trios: New recordings by Christopher Norton

Snapchats was originally a collection of short piano duets which was published a few years ago. The volume was republished and updated in 2019, with the inclusion of extra duets and piano trios. This new version has proved popular with both children and adult students, and I always enjoy using them in my own sight-reading…

Studying at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam: Yuki Negishi

The first guest post of 2022 has been written by Japanese concert pianist Yuki Negishi. This is the third article in Yuki’s series for this blog, reflecting on her training, and, specifically, her time spent studying at various music conservatoires around the world. The first two posts explored her experiences studying in New York, at…

Happy New Year: 10 Years Blogging

I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing festive holiday and I’d like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  Tenth Anniversary 2022 is an important year for this blog, because on January 28th, it will celebrate its tenth anniversary. When I started this ‘project’ back in 2012, I was in a very different…

Happy Christmas 2021

We’ve almost come to the end of another year. For most, 2021 will surely be one to forget, marred with lockdowns and financial uncertainty. We can only hope that 2022 may offer us all a safe pathway out of this dreadful pandemic. As always, I am grateful to you for your support, and for reading…

The Thinking Pianist: David Jones

My guest post today has been written by David Jones who is Head of Keyboard Studies at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Earlier this year, David inaugurated a new piano course held at Cheltenham Ladies College; The Thinking Pianist. After an extremely successful pilot course in July 2021, The Thinking Pianist, will now offer a more expansive…

Tricky Corners: Tension Breaks

Students often find the concept of tension breaks challenging. What do I mean by this expression? Most pianists understand the idea of tension and release; we need a certain amount of tension in our bodies to play a note or a group of notes, but the second (or millisecond) the note or notes have been…

MicroJazz Refreshed: the winners

Many thanks to all those who took part in my weekend competition. The prize is one of two books from composer Christopher Norton’s newly reissued MicroJazz series. The two winners are: Sinden Collier and Martin Bakaert Congratulations! Please send your address via the contact page on this blog, and your books will be on their…

MicroJazz Refreshed: Christopher Norton

I’m delighted to welcome back composer Christopher Norton as my guest writer today. Chris, who has written many articles for this blog, is renowned for his excellent MicroJazz piano series, which has expanded exponentially over the years, and the pieces have featured in countless examination syllabuses as well as in many music festival syllabuses around…

Sweet Dreams by P. I. Tchaikovsky

Sweet Dreams (Douce Rêverie) No. 21 from Album pour enfants, Op. 39 P.I Tchaikovsky A very popular and beautiful piece from a set which Tchaikovsky wrote for children, Sweet Dreams appears on List B of the current ABRSM Grade 5 piano exam syllabus, and also on the Grade 5 piano exam syllabus for Trinity College…