Attuning Our Listening Skills

My most recent post for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter focuses on our ability to ‘hear’ what we are playing. I hope you find it of interest. One of the most important piano playing skills that we need to assimilate is the ability to listen. I spent my college years struggling with aural tests, especially the atonal…

Snapchats Duets & Trios: New recordings by Christopher Norton

Snapchats was originally a collection of short piano duets which was published a few years ago. The volume was republished and updated in 2019, with the inclusion of extra duets and piano trios. This new version has proved popular with both children and adult students, and I always enjoy using them in my own sight-reading…

The Thinking Pianist: David Jones

My guest post today has been written by David Jones who is Head of Keyboard Studies at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. Earlier this year, David inaugurated a new piano course held at Cheltenham Ladies College; The Thinking Pianist. After an extremely successful pilot course in July 2021, The Thinking Pianist, will now offer a more expansive…

Tricky Corners: Tension Breaks

Students often find the concept of tension breaks challenging. What do I mean by this expression? Most pianists understand the idea of tension and release; we need a certain amount of tension in our bodies to play a note or a group of notes, but the second (or millisecond) the note or notes have been…

5 Tips for Perfecting That Silence

My latest Pianist Magazine newsletter article focuses on perfecting that silence! We sometimes forget the importance of observing rests, fermatas, or even creating dramatic pauses. Here are a few tips and reminders. Rests, as we know, indicate a place in the score where we literally stop playing. An actual rest is generally a specified length,…

Spot Finger Practice

Pianist Magazine is currently celebrating its twentieth year, and it has been an honour to write for the magazine since 2014. I write a ‘How-to-play’ article in every issue and a ‘5 Tips’ based article for the bi-monthly newsletter. The following piece first appeared in the magazine’s most recent newsletter. It’s a subject which I…

Montecatini International Piano Competition 2021 | Online Edition

I am delighted to welcome pianist, artistic director and Steinway Artist Aisa Ijiri to the blog. She has written the following guest post highlighting this year’s Montecatini International Piano Competition, of which she is the founder and artistic director. The Montecatini Competition is open to pianists of all nationalities and age groups. There are a…

Chetham’s International Piano Summer School 2021

I can clearly recall the first time I was made aware of Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. A friend had participated as a student and had waxed lyrical about the bountiful facets she had encountered; the high calibre artists and teachers on the faculty, the opportunity to eavesdrop on lessons and forge new piano friendships,…

A Master Class with Zoltán Kocsis

Hungarian pianist Zoltán Kocsis was one of the finest pianists of his generation. He was a true representative of the Hungarian school and a great contemporary pianist (as well as a conductor and composer). His teaching serves to evoke the major figures of the great Hungarian piano tradition, from Franz Liszt, via Béla Bartók and Ernst…

Teaching Fast and Slow

Over the last few weeks I have been preparing for what will no doubt be the highlight of my year; directing the Piano Teachers’ Course at Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. This preparation has prompted a reflection on my own teaching, hence the subject of this blog post. There is often a general perception that…