Tutoring piano courses is certainly a lot of fun. I’ve been doing more and more of this work, and it’s a great way to connect with a variety of different piano students.
Jackdaws Music Educational Trust offers a wonderful selection of piano courses with superb tutors. My course takes place in January 2020, and I’ll be focusing on piano technique. This is a subject close to my heart, and it’s an element which I truly believe to be vital when learning to play, whether you’re an amateur, student or professional pianist. We will concentrate on developing and maintaining flexibility during practice and performance, and I work with participants both on their selected repertoire and via simple exercises. The course venue, an attractive house in Somerset near Frome, contains excellent facilities, including a Steinway Model B piano, and several practice rooms. If you decide to take the plunge and book a course, you’ll enjoy the most beautiful countryside, delicious home cooked food, and plenty of opportunity to hone your piano skills whilst meeting new like-minded friends. And this year Jackdaws have added a new concert venue, too (see photo below).
For my course, participants are advised to bring two to three contrasting pieces to the workshops, although these do not have to be performance ready. I do hope you’ll join us!
Finchcocks Piano Courses are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. A beautiful setting, coupled with excellent food, an inviting selection of different instruments on which to play and practice, and the prospect of meeting fellow piano-loving course members.
In a similar vein to Jackdaws, Finchcocks offers an impressive roster of teachers, and what is interesting and definitely more helpful is the fact that the courses are categorised in terms of ability. There are courses for beginners (roughly Grade 1 -3 level), intermediate (around Grade 4 – 7 level) and advanced level players (Grade 7 and above), and there are also courses for teachers.
I will be conducting an intermediate and an advanced course this Autumn, and we will be working on a variety of different piano ‘elements’. Starting on a Friday evening with group duets and trios, which provide a fun introduction. On Saturday there will be a brief foray into discussing flexibility at the keyboard in the technique session, plus sessions on memorisation and sight-reading. And it’s a good idea to bring along two or three pieces to play.
Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.
For more information, please visit the publications page, here.