The Art of Polyphony: 12 Top Tips

Today’s post features an article I wrote for Piano Professional Magazine (an EPTA or the European Piano Teachers Association publication). It was published in June this year, and focuses on a few practice suggestions for counterpoint (or polyphony). There are so many different ways to work at this demanding style, and my thoughts are based…

A few thoughts on the ‘Una Corda’

I’ve previously written about the Sustaining or Damper pedal here on this blog; it’s the foot pedal farthest to the right on a piano, irrespective of whether there are two or three pedals (grand pianos tend to have three whereas uprights often have two). You can read my post about the Sustaining pedal here. Today,…

It’s all in the Preparation 4: 5 Top Tips

This is the final post in my series providing a few suggestions and tips to help prepare piano pieces. As I’ve already written in my earlier three posts, practising and preparing often causes issues, purely because there are many strategies or methods which are missed or not applied, particularly during the early stages of learning. If this happens,…

It’s All In The Preparation 3: 5 Top Tips

This is the third post in my series intended to help those who would like a few tips on how to prepare and practice piano pieces from the very beginning. It can be beneficial to have a strategy, or ‘tried and tested’ method which can be used on a whole range of pieces and genres. The first two posts…

It’s all in the Preparation 2: 5 Top Tips

Last week I offered a few tips for those about to prepare a piano piece. These tips were primarily concerned with pre-practice elements (you can read them here), and today’s post proffers a few more ideas which I hope may be of interest. Once you’ve marked up your score and have studied its structure, it’s time to get practising. 1….

It’s all in the Preparation: 5 Top Tips

Preparation is key when it comes to learning your piano pieces. Some exam boards (such as ABRSM) have made the selection process easier by providing recordings of all works  for every grade (including alternative pieces), enabling pupils to choose their favourites effortlessly. Once a programme has been decided, the hard graft commences and the earlier stages of practice…

A few thoughts on Ornaments

The subject of Ornaments (embellishments or musical flourishes) has cropped up several times over the past few weeks, both in my student’s lessons and whilst writing the Piano Notes for the ABRSM 2015/6 piano syllabus published by Rhinegold. I’ve been contributing to the Piano Notes Series for many of the Grade 1 – 3 pieces, and several A list works…

Some thoughts on ‘practising’ during piano lessons

There are so many different ways of constructing a piano lesson, and of course, every teacher has their own approach or method. It will also depend on the student. Are they preparing for an exam? Are they working on improving their technique? Perhaps taking a theory exam? Or just starting to learn? There can be many elements to tackle…

Perfect Hand Positions

If you read my post on Perfect Piano Posture, you will now know how to find the best playing position at the piano, or at least you’ll know what to be aware of when you’re sitting at the instrument. Today I will take a look at what constitutes the perfect hand position. This is just as important as posture and…

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…