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…

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…

Weekend Competition: The Intermediate Pianist

Today’s weekend competition focuses on a new three-book piano course published by Faber Music. The Intermediate Pianist is intended for students and piano teachers tutoring students, from approximately Grades 3 – 5 level. Written by Karen Marshall and Heather Hammond, the course is designed to help students (and teachers) negotiate the intermediate stages of learning,…

Selecting & Practising Piano Exam Repertoire: ABRSM Grade 4

Today I am continuing my series on selected exam repertoire. I’ve chosen three complimentary pieces from the ABRSM Grade 4 list, taken from the main syllabus, as opposed to the alternative syllabus, and have offered five practice tips for each one, as well as a recording, which have been selected from the many on YouTube….

Approaches to Staccato Playing

I’m a regular contributor to Piano Professional, the British European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) magazine; I really enjoy writing for this publication, which focuses on providing piano teachers with helpful information. The following article was written for Issue 43 (published earlier this year), and examines various approaches to staccato. I hope it’s of interest. When…