Weekend competition; the winner…

Many thanks to all those who took part in my weekend competition. The prize is a copy of the latest Faber Music publication from renowned music educationalist, Paul Harris. A piece a week Grade 3 continues the series, and can be used alongside Paul’s ever popular Improve your sight-reading! volumes. Containing 27 short pieces, this book will surely inspire pupils to gain more confidence when sight-reading and learning new repertoire.

The winner is…

Juan C.

Congratulations! Please send your address via my contact page on this blog, and your book will be on its way.

You can find out more and purchase A piece a week here.

Weekend Competition and Review: A piece a week

This new volume continues the highly beneficial series from Paul Harris, published by Faber Music. Anyone familiar with music education will surely know how Paul has played an important role in helping to transform music teaching, particularly instrumental instruction. I’ve enjoyed using Paul’s popular Improve Your Sight-Reading! publications with pupils, as well as The Virtuoso Teacher and Simultaneous Learning, which are intended for teachers.

The ability to sight-read is a crucial skill in music making, assisting quick learning, thereby eventually affording more opportunities for students to work with other musicians.

A piece a week can be used alongside the renowned Improve your sight-reading! series, encouraging students to learn and assimilate quickly, spending a short time swiftly reading and attaining note and rhythmic security, learning each piece fluently, before moving onto the next one.

Grade 3 focuses on mostly one page pieces (of which there are 27), all with colourful titles such as Ants and aardvarks, Bagpipes at breakfast, and Ghosts in a hurry, and beautifully set with illustrations (which should appeal to younger learners particularly). An introduction contains much useful information about such topics as fingering, pulse, practice and style, expression and character. As Paul says, ‘A new piece each week for 27 weeks before an exam will make a huge difference.’ Absolutely! This series should certainly inspire confidence and creativity.

I have one copy of this new volume to giveaway. Please leave your comment in the comment box at the end of this blog post, and I will announce the winner on Sunday evening (British time). Good luck!

You Can Read Music; the winner is…

You can read musicMany thanks to all those who took part in my weekend competition to win Paul Harris’ book, You Can Read Music. I have just one book to giveaway, and the lucky winner is:

Lavinia Livingston

Congratulations! Please send your address via the contact page on my blog, and your copy will be on its way.

Watch out for next weekend’s competition, which will consist of two exciting prizes.

If you wish to purchase a copy of You Can Read Music, click here.


Weekend Competition! You can read music by Paul Harris

You can read musicToday’s weekend competition offers a chance to win a copy of Paul Harris’ extremely useful guide entitled You Can Read Music. This practical little book, published by Faber Music, is part of the very popular Simultaneous Learning series, and aims to teach students to read music without an instrument.  A very beneficial publication for anyone wanting to learn from scratch or for those wanting to brush up their reading skills. The book also contains an audio CD.

I have a copy to giveaway, so please leave your comment in the comment box at the end of this post, and I will announce the winner on Sunday evening (British time). Good luck!

If you wish to purchase this book, you can do so here.

A piece a week: the winners….

congratulationsMany thanks to all for taking part in my New Year competition. With over 60 entries, the A piece a week series, written by Paul Harris and published by Faber Music, will surely prove to be a very popular one.

Karen Newby wins A piece a week Grade 1, and Lynne Hall wins A piece a week Grade 2. Congratulations! Please send your address via my contact page and I will send the books tomorrow.

There will be many more competitions and giveaways on my blog soon, so stay tuned!

You can find out more about this series, and purchase the books by clicking here.

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The Winners: Improve Your Theory! Grades 3, 4 & 5


A big thank you to all who took part in this weekend’s competition. With over 50 comments, I think it’s fair to say there are many Improve Your Theory! fans out there!

The winners are: Vera, who wins Improve Your Theory! Grade 3, mfrgolfgti wins Grade 4, and Vicki Spooner wins Grade 5. Many congratulations! Please send me your addresses via my contact page here on the blog, and I will pop the books in the post tomorrow.

For those who haven’t won, there will be  many more competitions here on my blog over the coming weeks, so stay tuned….


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Friday Competition: Improve Your Theory! Grades 3, 4, & 5

20150705_083625This is the second competition featuring Faber Music’s Improve Your Theory! books, written by expert educator Paul Harris. I know many of you enjoy these competitions, and If you recently entered for the Grades 1 & 2 competition, you’ll be pleased to hear this weekend you have a chance to win Grades 3, 4 & 5; three books for three lucky winners!

These volumes are designed to prepare students for theory exams (such as those by the ABRSM) and provide a wealth of information on all aspects of theory. They are useful additions to any music library.

To take part, just leave a suitable comment in the comment box at the end of this post and I will select the winners on Sunday evening (British time). Good luck!

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Improve Your Theory! Grades 1 & 2: The Winners…

And the winners are...

Many thanks to all who took part in my competition this weekend, and for the many lovely comments about my blog too – they are much appreciated. With well over forty comments, Improve Your Theory! is clearly destined to be a popular series of theory books. Unfortunately, there could only be two winners today.

Many congratulations to Ann Pepper who wins Improve Your Theory! Grade 1, and to Lynn Dinkle who wins the Grade 2 volume. Please send your addresses via the contact page here on my blog, and I will pop the books in the post tomorrow.

If you didn’t win, don’t despair! Next week I have Improve Your Theory! Grades 3, 4 and 5 to give away! Therefore, there will be three winners in the next competition; watch our for my Friday competitions which are now a regular feature here on my blog.

For more piano information and updates, please ‘like’ my blog’s Facebook page.

See you all next week!

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Friday Competition: Improve Your Theory!


A Friday often denotes a competition here on my blog, and today is no exception! There are two prizes, and therefore two lucky winners. You will probably be aware of Paul Harris’ very popular series, Improve Your Theory! At present, there are five books in this series (Grades 1 – 5), and they have all appeared in my monthly recommendations.

I have a copy of Grades 1 and 2 to give away. Published by Faber Music, Improve Your Theory! is designed to provide practical help and assistance to all those who desire a straightforward method to study the theory of music. The books are beautifully laid out and are based on Paul’s Simultaneous Learning ideology. You can  purchase them here. If you’re not familiar with these books, this is the perfect opportunity to explore what they have to offer.

As always, leave a comment in the comment box at the end of this post to be in with a chance of winning, and I will announce the winners on Sunday evening (British time).

PS. I hope you like my new look blog?


Simultaneous Learning: The Definitive Guide by Paul Harris

Paul Harris is a highly respected and revered music teacher, author and educationalist, who is single-handedly changing the delivery of instrumental and vocal teaching. With over 600 publications to his name, Paul is in great demand as an examiner, adjudicator, workshop and seminar leader, all around the world.

As a pianist and teacher, I have admired and ingested a whole collection of Paul’s extremely helpful and erudite books; some of which are devised for students, such as the wonderful Improve Your Sight-reading series, whilst others are designed specifically for teachers, such as The Virtuoso Teacher and equally essential   Improve Your Teaching. Faber Music are renowned for their dedication and commitment to music education. They have published Paul Harris’ books for over 20 years, so it was a privilege to attend the launch of Paul’s latest book at their head office in London last week.

Simultaneous Learning: The definitive guide is the culmination of Paul’s approach to instrumental and vocal music teaching. It’s a philosophy which empowers students, enabling them to become confident, individual, creative musicians. It focuses on positive, imaginative teaching where all the elements or ‘ingredients’ of music are connected, giving rise to lessons which are full of joy, enjoyment, cultivation of a love for music,  and the introduction of a thorough musical understanding. This organic, holistic path aims to banish frustrated teaching (and teachers!), by providing specific tools so that pupils will flourish. Paul believes that every student (irrespective of their standard or ability) can and will make progress via the Simultaneous Learning method, and every instrumental tutor can easily convert to becoming a Simultaneous Learning teacher. As someone who has integrated this concept already, I can confirm this to be true; it has definitely transformed my teaching and the way I present lessons.

The book is succinct, easy to read and full of innovative ideas to engage pupils, using every minute of lesson time productively. Paul insists we must move away from the misguided ‘reacting to mistakes’ style of teaching. The myth of ‘difficult’ is brushed to one side and replaced with more fruitful ways of teaching pro-actively, in a non-judgemental, inclusive, friendly manner. Each lesson activity is carefully set up so that it feels ‘natural, inevitable and sequential’, making connections through various elements such as investigating rhythm, scales, theory, improvisation, aural and musical detail in interesting and inventive learning patterns, often before any instrumental playing or singing commences. It employs a Simultaneous Learning Map to base these elements around pieces and songs, entrusting students to become complete musicians as opposed to teaching a few random pieces and a couple of scales, in the all too popular trend of ‘old-fashioned’ teaching, where moving from one exam to the next is frequently de-rigueur.

Each chapter takes us through the various processes necessary to become a Simultaneous Learning teacher, meticulously plotting our journey by suggesting practice and teaching methods and ideas. I particularly like the ‘Points to Ponder’ and ‘Practical Exercises’ which conclude every chapter. Also useful are lesson plans (from beginners through to advanced pupils). This book is very practically based employing clear language, using plenty of learning ‘maps’ highlighting and reinforcing Paul’s concepts.

It’s relatively simple to adjust our teaching by using this philosophy, and conversion does not have to occur overnight.  Neither is it a rigid, inflexible idea; teachers can select what they wish to include in lessons, gradually increasing the Simultaneous Learning theories.

This important publication can be regarded as an instrumental or vocal teaching ‘bible’, suitable for all those connected with music education, it could even be successfully applied to other subjects or genres too. Paul sums up Simultaneous Learning in one phrase: ‘its essence is that learning happens through making and embedding meaningful connections in a positive environment’ (chapter 6, page 35). If we can change our approach to music teaching, then we can make a significant difference to a pupil’s whole musical experience.

You can order your copy here.



You can purchase my book, So You Want To Play The Piano?, which is packed with practice tips and important piano information, here.