10 Top Tips to help Resolve Tension

 A few days ago I published an article which was originally written for EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) last year, and was published in the Piano Professional Magazine. This article focused on resolving tension at the piano (you can read it here), and many of you have subsequently contacted me asking for a few tips regarding tension, to remember…

Resolving Tension in Piano Playing: Article for EPTA’s Piano Professional

We all know too much tension can ruin piano playing, yet alleviating this issue generally takes time and lots of work. There are many ways of dealing with the uncomfortable, tight feeling which often accompanies a fixed, tense disposition at the piano. The following article was originally written for the Piano Professional Magazine, an EPTA (European Piano Teachers…

15 Top Tips for Successful Sight-reading

Last weekend’s blog post featured the first article I wrote for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA), which appeared in the Piano Professional Magazine (Autumn 2013 edition). Continuing with this theme, the following article was published in the Autumn 2014 Piano Professional (pages 20-22). It focuses on Sight-reading. We all know how important it is to be…

Ten Top Tips for Effective Memorisation: The Memory Game

Next week I’m coaching at the Overseas Masters Winter Piano Academy held at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey (UK). My classes will focus on sight-reading, studies and exercises, and memorisation. To prepare, I’ve been re-visiting notes and articles on these topics and found the following on memorisation techniques; it’s the first article I wrote…

Between the Notes

‘Music is the space between the notes.’ Claude Debussy (1862–1918) I’ve been busy adjudicating over the past few days. It’s totally inspiring work which allows time for reflection; when young pianists (and older pianists!) play in a festival setting it proffers the chance to sit back and evaluate many issues in performance practice. The Horsham Performers Platform is a…

Absolute Articulation

I have spent much of the last month adjudicating at various amateur music festivals around the country. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable job; I get to visit all different parts of the UK, and also hear a wide variety of piano playing. Standards vary of course, from young, inexperienced beginners to incredibly accomplished performers. Whilst it’s…

Structuring Your Piano Practice

This week’s piano post has been suggested by many of you; ‘structured practice for the more advanced pianist’ has been whirling around my inbox recently. I have written about it several times for beginners, but it does take on a different mantle for those of you who have clearly passed that stage. Piano practice has frequently…

Fifty Shades of Pianism

Tonal colour is a glorious and important aspect of piano playing. Irrespective of standard, all pianists need this skill which allows them alter or grade piano sound; it’s often known as shading or colouring. This adds variation to the music but it also demonstrates an understanding for the composer and a ‘feel’ for the work…

Guest Post: Are you all fingers and thumbs?

Piano summer schools are a great way to enjoy an intense learning experience and there are a fair few to choose from around the UK and abroad too. So in my guest post today,  concert pianist and teacher Christine Stevenson talks about the Walsall Piano Summer School, where she has been coaching for many years. Over to Christine….

Coaxing the fourth and fifth fingers into action

‘My little finger just won’t work on its own’; how often have I heard this phrase from disgruntled piano students? Too often is the answer. Pupils invariably spend so much time focusing on and looking at the music on the desk, that they forget all about posture and technique. One of the major technical obstacles…