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…

The Thumb

I’ve published articles in Piano Professional, which is the magazine published by EPTA UK (European Piano Teachers Association), for the past 8 years. My latest, which was published in Issue 54, focuses on the thumb. I hope you find it of interest. Thumbs. We know they form an important part of our hand, but how…

Flipping musical misperceptions on their heads: Erica Sipes

My guest writer today is American pianist, writer and professor Erica Sipes. Erica is the author of the popular blog, Beyond The Notes, which provided the inspiration for my blog when I started almost ten years ago. In this article, Erica writes about an issue which often rears its head for many a musician. Having…

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….

Kindly speaking the truth

Canadian piano teacher and music examiner Amy Boyes lives in Ottawa where she also works an adjudicator, judging piano festivals and competitions. She believes that music educators must always strike a careful balance between kindness and criticism when giving feedback to students, and, in today’s guest post, she highlights an issue which can emerge after…

Pianists From The Past: Lamar Crowson

I hope you continue to be safe and well during this difficult period. It’s time for a guest feature article. My Pianists From The Past series is proving popular, and today’s post has been penned by British pianist Julian Jacobson,  who is professor of piano at the Royal College of Music (in London, UK) and…

The Bridge Position

Today’s post features my latest technique article for Piano Professional (published by EPTA or the European Piano Teachers Association). If you aren’t aware of this organisation, may I suggest visiting their website for more details. This article highlights the Bridge Position, which is generally considered an important assumed hand position for pianists. I hope it’s…

Master classes with Valentina Lisitsa

Continuing with my aim to highlight master classes, championing the importance of the public or ‘class’ lesson, today’s post features Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa. Valentina enjoys a busy performing career since establishing her YouTube channel in 2007, and she has been hailed an internet ‘star’. She now has over 582,000 followers, and 226 million views….

Creating Even Passagework

The following article was recently published in Pianist magazine’s newsletter, 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, encouraging fingers to work…

ArtePiano Masterclasses

My guest post today has been written by South African pianist Niel du Preez (pictured below), the artistic director of a new piano course, ArtePiano Masterclasses, which will be held in splendid Sankt Goar, Germany. Here, Niel descibes how and why he established this exciting new venture. Sankt Goar A couple of years ago I…