Preparing a new piano piece – Part 2

Today’s article featured in Pianist Magazine’s most recent newsletter. It focuses on basic practice suggestions and ideas for when learning a new piece. This article is part 2 of the process and you can read the Part 1, here. In my last article, Preparing A New Piece – 5 Tips Part 1, I offered several…

5 tips on preparing a new piano piece: Part 1

In the latest Pianist Magazine Newsletter, I focus on preparing a new piano piece. This is a three-part series. Part 1 looks at the periphery and early stages of preparing your piece. When learning a new piece, there are so many considerations. How will you start? Do you like to listen to several performances? Or…

Chord Playing and Improvising 3: Christopher Norton

Today I welcome back world-renowned composer Christopher Norton to my blog. Chris is contributing a series of guest articles, each one offering a free download of one of his piano pieces, as well as plenty of practice tips, suggestions and advice. A Gentle Touch, an early intermediate level piece, is number three in the series…

5 Tips For Breath Control

My latest article for Pianist Magazine’s newsletter and online content, focuses on breath control. I hope you find it of interest. Breath control. It might be a topic more closely associated with singing than piano playing, but developing secure breath control can by a most helpful asset, especially for those who regularly perform. Once this…

5 Tips for Perfecting That Silence

My latest Pianist Magazine newsletter article focuses on perfecting that silence! We sometimes forget the importance of observing rests, fermatas, or even creating dramatic pauses. Here are a few tips and reminders. Rests, as we know, indicate a place in the score where we literally stop playing. An actual rest is generally a specified length,…

Teaching Fast and Slow

Over the last few weeks I have been preparing for what will no doubt be the highlight of my year; directing the Piano Teachers’ Course at Chetham’s International Piano Summer School. This preparation has prompted a reflection on my own teaching, hence the subject of this blog post. There is often a general perception that…

Étude in A minor by Louise Farrenc

Louise Farrenc (1804 – 1875), pictured above, was a French Romantic composer. In her lifetime she enjoyed a considerable reputation, and whilst the majority of her compositions are for the piano, her chamber music is generally regarded as her finest work. She eventually opened a publishing house with her flautist husband Aristide Farrenc, and Éditions…

PIANO WEEK: What happens on a piano course?

Piano courses are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s not hard to see why. They afford students the opportunity to meet like-minded new friends, enjoy excellent tuition, fine food, and a mini ‘holiday’. If the course happens to be situated in a beautiful place, so much the better. For the last two weeks I have been…

New Piano Courses at Finchcocks

I’m very fortunate to love my work, and one particularly enjoyable aspect is the opportunity to direct piano courses and workshops. I’m writing this post whilst relaxing  in my accommodation in Shropshire, just a few miles from the Welsh border, where I’m working for two weeks at PIANO WEEK, an international piano festival and Summer…