5 Tips to Help Develop the Fourth & Fifth Fingers

Wishing you all a happy and restful bank holiday weekend. Today’s post was first published in Pianist magazine’s April 2020 newsletter (you can subscribe to this newsletter for free, here). I’ve written before about these pesky fingers! The fourth and fifth fingers can be tricky to control and they require patience to develop, and,  if…

5 Vital Daily Practice Reminders

Today’s post was recently published in a Pianist Magazine newsletter, and will hopefully provide a few basic, but important, practice reminders. We all benefit from reminders. Those elements which tend to be forgotten as we sit at the instrument, keen to get on with our job of practising. But sometimes it’s a good idea to…

Let’s make way for the Ladies!

The latest edition of Pianist Magazine is now available and it’s an ‘all women’ affair. Spotlighting Isata Kanneh-Mason, who appears on the front cover, this issue offers all the usual magazine goodies; ‘how-to-play’ articles by Lucy Parham, Nils Franke and myself, highlighting female composers (Maria Szymanowska, Cécile Chaminade, and Clara Schumann), in-depth masterclasses from Graham…

5 Tips for Secure Coordination and Quick Movement

This month’s 5 tips for Pianist magazine’s newsletter focuses on the issue of moving quickly around the instrument. I hope it’s useful. Moving quickly and accurately can be tricky. Especially if fast passage work is involved. There are many ways to alleviate this conundrum, but one which can be really beneficial is octave displacement. Yes,…

A Holiday Competition!

This weekend Pianist magazine and Schott Music are holding a competition which takes place on Pianist’s social media sites. One of five copies of Play it again: PIANO Book 3 are available for five winners. You can find out more about the whole Play it again series, here. For regular piano updates subscribe to Pianist’s…

5 Stage Presentation Tips Part 2

My most recent article for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter features the art of stage presentation. This often forgotten topic is rarely highlighted, yet it plays a significant role in every performance. This is the second of two articles on this subject, and you can read the first one, here. In my previous article on stage presentation,…

Etude op. 97 No 1 by Anton Reicha

Some readers will know that I write a regular ‘how-to-play’ article for Pianist magazine; If you’ve yet to discover this magazine, you can find out much more here. My article focuses on elementary level pieces for students of around Grade 1 – 3 level. It’s actually called a ‘beginners how-to-play’, but in reality few students…

5 Tips to Create the Illusion of Legato

Every pianist knows the importance of legato, or the creation of a smooth musical line or phrase, notes joining evenly from one to the next. But there are many instances in piano music where we can’t join the notes; the melodic line might leap beyond our comfortable stretch, for example. How do we overcome this…

5 tips to quell a sustaining pedal addiction

It’s a common tendency for students to rely too much on the sustaining (or right) pedal; whether aiming to create smooth legato lines or add resonance, the pedal can have an intoxicating effect. We use a little, and then before we know it, every bar is drenched! The article below is one I wrote for…

Favourable Fingering

I’m almost half way through my work here in Hong Kong and am having a thoroughly lovely time, enjoying the urban vibe and fast pace of life. I will be giving several book presentations after I finish adjudicating, and some readers have asked where and when these will take place, so here are some details:…