Jorge Bolet on competitions

The journalist Jeremy Nicholas interviewed legendary pianist Jorge Bolet back in 1977, and among other things asked him why “The Romantic Pianist” seemed already by then to have vanished.

Bolet’s reply was prescient, and perhaps even more relevant today than it was in the 1970s. Here is his response:

Continue reading Jorge Bolet on competitions

“Departures”

Sunday Sounds

The Sunday Sounds feature will occasionally feature my own original piano compositions, and it seems fitting to begin where I myself started.

This piece was improvised late one night some years ago. Listening back to it I realised that the structure and musical content was satisfactory without any editing, and when I subsequently set up my own SoundCloud account, it was the first piano track that I ever shared.

From the start, it has proved popular with listeners, and if this is your first encounter with it, I hope you will enjoy the piece!

Follow: Andrew Eales on SoundCloud


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Piano Technique, Weight in Motion, Boxing, Taichichuan and The Cherry Tomato

Guest Author Mark Polishook takes a look at the benefits of weight-based piano technique, with reference to boxing, martial arts and … cherry tomatoes.

Continue reading Piano Technique, Weight in Motion, Boxing, Taichichuan and The Cherry Tomato

“Legions of Poppies”

Sunday Sounds

Manchester based pianist and composer Terry Robinson says of this beautiful composition:

My wife bought a fabulous original watercolour painting of purple poppies and she left it on the music stand of my piano. As I sat down to practice I gazed at the painting and improvised this track. It has two aspects – the present day image of poppies blowing in the wind and the associated remembrance of soldiers who died in battle.

I recorded the improvisation and practised it until I could play the left hand part without it sounding too amateurish – at the end of recording the track my left hand felt about ready to fall off!

It’s a great track! Have a listen:

Follow: Terry Robinson on SoundCloud


“The Break of Dawn”

Sunday Sounds

One of the loveliest piano solos I have heard on SoundCloud, “The Break of Dawn” is composed by Christian Smith, a 21 year old composer from Hampshire, England, specialising in romantic and uplifting piano and string compositions.

Christian writes:

After 9 months of writers block, and many failed attempts, I have finally managed to complete a composition.

And what a composition it is!

Follow: Christian Smith on SoundCloud


“Sound before symbol”: lessons from history

Pathways for Teaching

Musicians and teachers often debate the relative merits of aural-based learning versus a notation-driven approach. Seeing the topic wheeled out for discussion again recently, I was reminded of this brilliant quote by the legendary concert pianist Andor Földes, taken from his book “Keys to the Keyboard” written back in 1950 :

“There is no such thing as a proper age for a child to start playing the piano. I avoid saying ‘to start his musical education’ because I believe that an education in music should start very early, perhaps years before the child ever actually learns how to read notes, or can find his way among the black and white keys.”

Földes’ basic point – made some four decades before “The Sounding Symbol” by George Odam re-popularised the phrase “sound before symbol” – is that music is essentially an aural language, and that playing and reading must build on that foundation.

Continue reading “Sound before symbol”: lessons from history

“Get Set! Piano”: six reasons to get excited!

Sheet Music Review

“Get Set! Piano” comprises two method books, two books of supplementary pieces, and extensive free website materials, all brought to us by Harper Collins. Aimed at younger beginners, the books claim to cover everything that pupils would need to know prior to taking Grade One piano (with any of the main boards).

Continue reading “Get Set! Piano”: six reasons to get excited!

Piano Lessons: Why 45 minutes?

During a recent forum discussion I mentioned that I prefer to teach my students for 45 minutes weekly or fortnightly, usually even when they are beginners (more advanced students often come for a consultation lesson once a month for 90 minutes).

The question was asked,

“45 minutes for somebody on Grade One is a lot, surely?
Isn’t 30 minutes plenty long enough?”

Continue reading Piano Lessons: Why 45 minutes?

“Voyages en Eau Douce”

Sunday Sounds

To kick off this brand new series on the Pianodao website, here’s a wonderful original piano piece from my friend Patrick Ytting…

Patrick Ytting live at a recital at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Berkshire, UK, 3rd Sep 2011. Recording engineer, Oliver Sadie. An original piano piece by Patrick Ytting entitled “Voyages en Eau Douce”

Follow: Patrick Ytting on SoundCloud


“Grade by Grade”

Sheet Music Review

This innovative new series of books from Boosey & Hawkes makes the bold claim to be “the complete resource for the grade ‘x’ pianist”. But does it live up to its aims?

Continue reading “Grade by Grade”