Creating Even Passagework

The following article was recently published in Pianist magazine’s newsletter (you can subscribe, here), and I hope it might be a useful practice tool for all those who are planning a weekend of piano practice! Creating even passages, devoid of lumps, bumps, and rhythmic jerkiness, can be a demanding challenge. How can we practice fruitfully,…

5 Tips on Stage Presentation Part 1

Stage presentation is an important topic, not just for those who perform regularly, but also for students preparing for exams, diplomas, or school concerts and festivals. In my latest article for Pianist Magazine newsletter, I offer the first of two articles on stage presentation, with a few ideas for honing and developing a more assured…

Playing to Your Strengths

I haven’t written many guest posts over the past six years (the length of time that I have been running this blog). There’s no particular reason for this, but when the superb writer, author, journalist, and presenter, Jessica Duchen, kindly invited me to pen a post for her excellent blog, it was an offer I…

Are you all Fingers and Thumbs?

My most recent article for Pianist Magazine’s e-newsletter focuses on the thumb. As always, my intention is to draw attention to an area of piano playing which may benefit from concentrated practice. I notice in my own teaching that students perpetually work to achieve and maintain finger strength, but then leave the poor old thumb…

Guest Post: Andreas Eggertsberger speaks out about Focal Dystonia

I first met Austrian pianist Andreas Eggertsberger in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) last November, when we were both presenting at the UCSI University Piano Pedagogy Conference. I was fortunate to catch Andreas’ fascinating presentation which focused on this little known condition. Injuries are frequently considered a taboo subject for pianists, and tend to be surreptitiously swept…

Chicken Wings

I try to be inventive when conveying various technical and musical details to students, but I’ve yet to come up with a ‘technical term’ as wacky as this one. Devised by my pupil Amy Reynolds, ‘Chicken Wings’ may be of interest to anyone focusing on the elbow. Many pedagogues feel this part of the body…

5 Top Tips to Aid Memorisation

Pianist Magazine produces a newsletter which wings its way into a reader’s e mail box every other month. It’s brimming with piano news and information, as well as a few piano articles. I write a regular ‘Piano Tips’ feature, and today’s post presents the most recent, which focuses on memorisation. I’ve written about this topic…

A Weekend at Jackdaws Music Education Trust

I had the pleasure of tutoring a second piano course at Jackdaws Music Education Trust over the weekend. Jackdaws is dedicated to improving participation in and enjoyment of music through residential and one day instrumental and vocal courses, various education projects, a Young Artists Programme, as well as performances by world-class musicians. Piano courses, whether…

Meet the Judges Live Stream Interview

As you may have gathered, I’m in Chicago all week adjudicating at the Chicago AmateurPiano Competition. Judging starts today, but this competition offers an impressive events roster (a fairly unique concept amongst competitions), which runs in tandem, therefore proceedings actually started last night. Fifty-five talented pianists will play a short programme over the next two…

5 Top Tips to Improve Wrist Staccato

This is the second post exploring touch and articulation. The first focused on finger staccato (you can read it here), and today I’ll try to provide a few practice ideas for wrist staccato. Wrist staccato technique is generally used to play chordal passage work or groups of two notes or more in a very short, detached manner. A pianist friend and…