Tricky Corners: Fourth and Fifth Fingers in Chords

Today’s ‘Tricky Corner’ examines those pesky fourth and fifth fingers in chords. A student recently studied the Praeludium from Ludas Tonalis by Hindemith. This delightfully contemplative piece presents a few technical challenges, not least the opening introduction, which must sound improvisatory, and the subsequent Moderato passage (from bar 4), with its copious demisemiquaver figurations. None…

RSL Classical Piano Exams

It’s generally acknowledged that the UK music exam landscape is dominated by three major examination boards; ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), Trinity College London, and the London College of Music Exams. These organisations have been around for many years and have garnered quite a following –  they are also popular…

A Masterclass with Freddy Kempf

It’s time for a masterclass and today’s offering was recorded at the Royal College of Music in London during October 2020. Taking place in the RCM’s Performance Hall, the class was given by renowned British-born pianist Freddy Kempf, who worked with two young RCM students, Nataly Ganina and Kirill Zheleznov; they performed Chopin’s Scherzo No….

Pianist Magazine’s New Online Piano Courses

Renowned teacher and writer Graham Fitch and I will be hosting new online courses for Pianist Magazine. This will be the first time the magazine has ventured into piano lessons, and the new courses and workshops will hopefully encourage regular readers to engage with Pianist’s teachers and writers. Graham’s course, which is intended for those…

Repertoire Selection: 5 Tips

  My most recent newsletter article for Pianist Magazine focuses on repertoire selection, which is an important topic for many a piano student, and it’s especially pertinent at the beginning of a new year. I hope it’s of interest. Piano students occasionally struggle to find appropriate repertoire. And by ‘appropriate’ I mean piano works, which…

Happy New Year! Is the future online?

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and you were able to see loved ones during this lockdown period. There’s no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as one of the most catastrophic episodes of our lifetime – possibly of the century. We…

Merry Christmas!

At the end of this unprecedented year, I would like to wish you and your family a happy, restful and peaceful holiday period. Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog posts – your continued support is always much appreciated. And I also want to thank all those guest writers who have taken the…

Pianists From The Past: Sergei Rachmaninov

My Pianists From The Past series continues this week featuring the great Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninov. Today’s fascinating article has been penned by British concert pianist, teacher and broadcaster Robin Zebaida. Over to Robin… Aspects of Rachmaninov the pianist Although I first became familiar with Rachmaninov’s recordings in my mid-teens while studying his…

Tricky Corners: The Opening Phrase

I’ve been working with a student on Franz Joseph Haydn’s beautiful Sonata in E flat major Hob 52. Haydn’s final piano sonata was written in 1794, and it’s full of joie de vivre, a characteristic synonymous with Haydn’s music. Set in my favourite key, this work exudes warmth, colour, and a quite different harmonic and…

Ornaments: 5 Practice Tips

My most recent article for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter focuses on Ornaments. I hope you find it of interest. An aspect of piano playing which can be extremely tricky to implement is the inclusion of ornaments. An ornament is an embellishment or a ‘decorative’ added note pattern, in other words, notes which are not intrinsic to…