Piano teachers tend to sit in a room all day. As one student leaves another appears and this repetitive cycle can go on for hour after hour. Some are happy with this status quo, whilst others admit to feeling isolated and ‘lonely’ during the working week – or the weekend, as many teachers work all day Saturday, too. There’s no doubt that this profession can be a ‘solo’ affair with little active support or contact with colleagues. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Organisations exist which seek to bring instrumental teachers together, whether they teach from their home studios or in a school setting. EPTA, or the European Piano Teachers Association, is one such ‘institute’. Established in 1978 by Carola Grindea, EPTA offers teachers a variety of opportunities from personal development and public liability insurance to much needed ‘camaraderie’. I have been involved with EPTA for many years, writing copious articles for their magazine Piano Professional as well as adjudicating some of their piano competitions and giving classes.
For a yearly fee, teachers are free to access all that EPTA offers and, if you teach, you may feel this is a worthwhile investment. This season I will be presenting one of the many EPTA webinars held throughout the year. Taking place this coming weekend, on Sunday October 9th, this event takes place from 3 – 4pm and I am focusing my talk on developing a flexible piano technique. I’ve spoken on this aspect of piano playing on many occasions and am always heartened by the number of students and teachers who have commented on just how useful they have found my exercises and suggestions. You can find out much more about these events, here.
Many readers of this blog hail from Australia, and I was delighted to be invited by the Music Teachers’ Association of South Australia to present a webinar on November 7th at 7.00pm (local time). Similar to the EPTA event, I will be running through my technical exercises which are the basis for developing a relaxed and ‘flexible’ piano technique when working with my students. You can find out more about my presentation, here.
This element of piano playing is one that I’m passionate about having witnessed the adverse effects of tension on students; tendonitis, repetitive strain injury and focal dystonia are just a few of the terrible afflictions which can manifest as a result of ‘tightness’ during piano practice and performance. It’s why I believe that there should be a far greater focus on instigating a sound technique from the beginning or the earlier stages of piano study. If you are a piano teacher and fancy learning more about these organisations, do check out them out, here:
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.