The Pianist’s Expertise

The Pianist’s Reflections

How do you feel when so-called “experts” say things that just don’t match your experience? Is their academic learning superior to your practical experience?

Does the input of the “expert” leave you feeling more, or less confident than you were before? 

I firmly believe that practical experience and academic learning should ideally go hand in hand – the one neither replacing nor outbalancing the other.

But it’s helpful to consider how the right balance between the two is best achieved, because different temperaments tend to be drawn more to one or the other. Western society as a whole perhaps needs to redress that balance and listen more carefully to voices of experience.

So what can we learn from one another?

Continue reading The Pianist’s Expertise

Confessions of a piano student.

Regular guest author Simon Reich (pictured above as a little boy) has a confession to make… 

“I’d let down my piano teacher, my parents and ultimately myself, by not being able to read music better than my grades suggested”. This was the unfortunate soundtrack playing inside my head, each time I went to piano lessons.

But deep inside me a sleeping talent was about to emerge – and I didn’t yet know it!

Continue reading Confessions of a piano student.

My First Schumann

Sheet Music Review

Schott Music, the revered German publishers founded back in 1770, are maintaining an impressive commitment to new piano music publishing projects, including a wide range of resources and publications for players of all levels.

Of particular interest to intermediate players (and their teachers) will be there ongoing “My First …” series. The first two issues (Bach and Mozart – see below) have recently been joined by “My First Schumann”, which I am delighted to review here.

Continue reading My First Schumann

I got a nice new chair today

New Sounds
Andrew Eales: I got a nice new chair today

This week has been a bit of a struggle, with rather a lot on my plate.

On the plus side, I bought a new office chair to replace my broken one. And it’s good to celebrate small victories!

I sat down at the piano late yesterday evening and a little improvisation emerged from my fingers. At the encouragement of my family I hit the record button, and here’s my second attempt at playing around with this simple tune. I hope you enjoy it.

Follow: Andrew Eales on SoundCloud

Animal Jazz (Barbara Snow)

Sheet Music Review

Edition HH is a publishing house founded by Norwegian musician Per Hartmann, and based in Oxfordshire, UK. Their eclectic and ever-expanding catalogue embraces contemporary scores and scholarly performing editions of rarer items in the musical repertoire, from the Renaissance to the Romantic periods.

‘Animal Jazz’ is a recent addition, a selection of 15 brand new original short pieces for piano solo composed by London-based musician Barbara Snow.

Continue reading Animal Jazz (Barbara Snow)

The Lang Lang Piano Method

Sheet Music Review

Lang Lang may be the most famous classical pianist on the planet, but in recent years his interests and activities have certainly not been confined to the concert platform. His talent and charisma has inspired millions to take up the piano; in China alone the “Lang Lang Effect” is credited with encouraging over 40 million children to start lessons.

September 2014 saw the launch of the Lang Lang Piano Academy, a partnership venture with Faber Music that initially resulted in five volumes of ‘Mastering The Piano’, bringing together graded repertoire with an emphasis on technical development. And now we have ‘The Lang Lang Piano Method’, another series of five books, this time providing a structured piano method for beginners.

The first three books in this series are launched worldwide on March 8th 2016. I am pleased to be giving this in-depth review, with thanks to Faber Music for kindly allowing me access to the materials in advance.

Continue reading The Lang Lang Piano Method