Chetham’s International Piano Summer School Piano Teachers’ Course 2021

I’m really looking forward to leading the Piano Teachers’ Course at the renowned Chetham’s International Piano Summer School in 2021. My course was initially programmed to take place in August 2020, but, due to the pandemic, we decided to run it this year instead. If you haven’t yet explored what’s on offer at this incredible…

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…

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…

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…