Étude in A minor by Louise Farrenc

Louise Farrenc (1804 – 1875), pictured above, was a French Romantic composer. In her lifetime she enjoyed a considerable reputation, and whilst the majority of her compositions are for the piano, her chamber music is generally regarded as her finest work. She eventually opened a publishing house with her flautist husband Aristide Farrenc, and Éditions…

Selecting & Practising Piano Exam Repertoire: ABRSM Grade 3

Selecting and practising piano exam repertoire continues today with ABRSM Grade 3. I’m selecting contrasting works or those which sit well together, thereby producing an interesting programme. This element should not be underestimated; examiners are pleased to hear all the repertoire on set lists, but for the student, who might spend a good few months…

Selecting & Practising Piano Exam Repertoire: ABRSM Grade 1

Selecting and Practising Piano Exam Repertoire is a new series on my blog. It will essentially examine selected repertoire across the grades. I’m focusing on two exam boards: ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) and Trinity College London; both syllabuses require three piano pieces per grade (plus supporting tests). These works are…

9 Tips for Piano Exam Success in 2017

Selecting and Practising Piano Exam Repertoire is a new series on my blog, which will begin in earnest next week. Today’s post is in preparation, offering a few practice ideas to make piano exam study a more fruitful and rewarding affair. Some of you have written (over the past year or so) requesting information about…

Weekend Competition: Piano Notes 2017-18

Piano Notes were published last month and offer students and teachers a wealth of practical advice for the entire ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music examination board) piano syllabus from Grade 1 through to Grade 8, which started in January 2017 and goes through to Spring 2019. The notes include all alternative…

The Mindful Pianist: An Interview with Mark Tanner

The Mindful Pianist is a new book written by British pianist, author, teacher, composer, researcher, examiner and adjudicator,  Mark Tanner (pictured above). This volume forms part of EPTA‘s (European Piano Teachers Association) Piano Professional Series, and is published by Faber Music. I invited Mark to answer twelve questions about his life and diverse career as…

10 Top Tips To Pass Your Piano Exam

As the new term gets underway, many will be preparing for music exams at the end of the year and the aim of this post is to provide a few extra pointers and ideas for last-minute preparations. Once the pieces have been learnt, scales, arpeggios and technical work is all in place, and the dreaded…

Do Piano Exams Matter?

On returning from my holiday, I enjoyed reading Rosie Millard’s recent interesting and thought-provoking article in The Telegraph deliberating over the benefits of music exams (you can read it here). She labels herself a ‘pushy’ parent, although I don’t find her approach particularly ‘pushy’. I think her concerns are fairly natural amongst parents who want…

It’s all in the Preparation: 5 Top Tips

Preparation is key when it comes to learning your piano pieces. Some exam boards (such as ABRSM) have made the selection process easier by providing recordings of all works  for every grade (including alternative pieces), enabling pupils to choose their favourites effortlessly. Once a programme has been decided, the hard graft commences and the earlier stages of practice…

Piano Notes published by Rhinegold

Piano Notes are published by Rhinegold Music and produced in conjunction with the Music Teacher Magazine and International Piano Magazine. It’s essentially a guide to assist piano teachers whilst  they prepare students for the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) piano exams; this recently published volume features Grades 1 to 8 of the new 2015/16 syllabus. This publication…