No Pain, No Gain?

How many times have you heard this phrase? A fair few, I would imagine. It may be true for some activities, perhaps those where grit and determination are necessary in order to achieve the desired outcome. But this phrase certainly does not apply to the activity of playing the piano. Yet, increasingly, pianists suffer from…

Painless Piano Playing Part 1

Today’s post was originally printed in the recent edition of Piano Professional, a magazine for piano teachers published by EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association). It focuses on an aspect of playing which I feel is extremely important: flexibility. This article concentrates on simple exercises which students find helpful as they start their practice sessions. Playing…

Piano teaching in Asia 2018

Returning from another enjoyable and successful book tour, I find myself reflecting on a perennial piano teaching issue; one which seems to occur all over the world. This tour was the busiest yet with visits to four countries and multiple cities; Singapore, Malaysia (Melaka and Kuala Lumpur), Indonesia (Jakarta and Surabaya), and Hong Kong.¬† On…

Jackdaws Piano Course 2019

The Jackdaws Music Educational Trust¬†instrumental and vocal courses are open for booking today! The 2018/19 programme offers more variety than ever, so there is sure to be something for everyone. The course venue, an attractive house in Somerset (pictured to the left), near Frome, contains excellent facilities, including a Steinway Model B piano, and several…

The Sustaining Pedal

I regularly write feature articles for Piano Professional Magazine published by EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association). The most recent, taken from the Spring 2018 Issue (Issue 47, pages 20 – 21), sheds some light on the sustaining pedal. I hope you find it of interest. The sustaining or damper pedal is one of the most…

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…

Honest Insights and Some Forgotten Exercises

British concert pianist Nick van Bloss has written the third guest post in my new series. Technical exercises often receive a bad press by pianists, teachers and students alike, but, practised carefully and diligently, and with the help of a talented teacher, they can be extremely helpful for building various aspects of piano technique. In…

Polishing Your Piano Technique: Jackdaws Course 2018

If you fancy a relaxing weekend in the most beautiful English country setting, with scrumptious home cooked food, and plenty of opportunity to hone your piano skills whilst meeting new like-minded friends, you will love the courses held at Jackdaws Music Educational Trust. Situated in Somerset (near Frome), this music course venue (pictured to the…

Guest Post: A Young Pianist’s Journey

Today’s blog is a guest post written by my student Amy Reynolds. Amy (pictured below) came to study with me a year ago, and together we’ve enjoyed quite a journey. Here, in her own words, she explains how we went about obtaining her dream, which was to study the piano at a British music conservatoire….

Hand Flexibility

Hands. They are fairly crucial for pianists. Many will immediately refer to the fingers as being the most significant ‘tools’ in a pianist’s tool box. And there’s no doubt, without fingers, playing is rather tricky. But, over the past few months, I’ve been working with a group of students and we have routinely discussed hands;…