Tricky Corners: The Leaping Fifth Finger

September heralds the start of a new academic year and is therefore an appropriate time to begin my new monthly series, ‘Tricky Corners’. Those who read this blog will know that I particularly enjoy developing a student’s technique. This is all about re-training bad habits, transforming them into good ones, which takes time and care….

Reverse Learning

My lastest article for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter, published in June (you can subscribe to the newsletter for free, here), focuses on a seemingly counterproductive concept: ‘reverse learning’.  But this can be a surprisingly useful tool, and I hope you might find it of interest.   Chances are that when you start learning a piece, you…

Jackdaws Piano Courses 2020/21

As many will know, the Jackdaws Music Education Trust is a very popular destination for music students of all ages. Set in Great Elm, just outside Frome in Somerset (U.K.), Jackdaws offers an exciting array of instrumental and vocal courses every year, and, as the saying goes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.  And I…

Weekend Competition: the winners

Many thanks to all those who took part in this weekend’s competition.  I really enjoyed reading your lovely comments. The prize was a copy of the new Faber Music Easy Piano Anthology for two lucky readers. Those winners are: LYNNE CONWAY and TAMARA BARSCHAK CONGRATULATIONS! Please send your name and address via the contact page…

The Faber Music Easy Piano Anthology: Weekend Competition

It’s time for a Summer weekend competition, and today’s chosen publication is the new Faber Music Easy Piano Anthology. Over the years, I’ve covered many of Faber’s new piano publications, and this one, in my opinion, will be particularly useful for teachers and their elementary students, due to the fact that most of the chosen…

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…

Positional Piano Playing

‘Positional piano playing’ is a term I use for a particularly helpful technique which allows students to locate and play note patterns with ease. At my most recent Finchcocks piano course (held at the end of last year), I applied this technique in one of my classes with several adult students, and to their amazement…

Pianists From The Past: Cyril Smith

My Pianists From The Past series continues today and this article has been written by British pianist and pedagogue Julian Saphir. Julian’s past pianist of choice is the British concert pianist and pedagogue Cyril Smith, with whom he had a personal connection. Over to Julian… One day in the Spring of 1991, during my third…

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…

Pianists From The Past: Lamar Crowson

I hope you continue to be safe and well during this difficult period. It’s time for a guest feature article. My Pianists From The Past series is proving popular, and today’s post has been penned by British pianist Julian Jacobson,  who is professor of piano at the Royal College of Music (in London, UK) and…