Preparing for GDPR: A Piano Teacher’s Perspective.

I would like to thank Liz Giannopoulos for this exclusive article which will be of special interest and importance to all piano and instrumental teachers working in the UK.

Guest post by Liz Giannopoulos

Continue reading Preparing for GDPR: A Piano Teacher’s Perspective.

The Pianist’s Motivations

The Pianist’s Reflections Series

  • What is it that motivates us as pianists?
  • Why did we start learning to play the piano? ..
  • And why do we continue to play?
  • What are our piano goals for the future? ..
  • And how do they excite us?
  • How can we motivate and inspire our students?

Ask these questions to a hundred pianists, and there’s a good chance you will hear a hundred different answers – but some common themes will most likely emerge.

In this article I am going to consider the many and complex motivations we all experience in life, focussing in on the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and how each pertains to our piano playing.

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Stories of Recovery

Guest post by Simon Reich

Unless you lived in a humidified bubble, away from sharp objects and potential harmful items, injuries are part of life.

The response to my invitation for stories and anecdotes regarding incidents that may have curtailed your piano playing or ended your musical career altogether was overwhelming. As I was therefore unable to squeeze the material into one blog, I’ve been compelled to write a second part to You Can’t Stop the Music.

Just to reiterate, the injuries were not necessarily musically acquired, but things as simple as falling off a bike, crushing fingers between two bricks or hurting your back slipping down a flight of stairs.

Amazingly, after writing the first article, I found out my mum has some nerve problems in her fingers.

She told me that as children, her siblings would melt wax on their fingertips and when cooled to dry, play the piano as a fun alternative to the standard method! This was the way she described how playing the piano keyboard now felt. It hasn’t stopped her from performing but it’s certainly put a spanner in the works of eliciting dynamics and feeling to her performances.

Continue reading Stories of Recovery

Welcome to Pianodao!

Site Owner:  Andrew Eales

I’m so pleased that you’ve found this site, and hope that you enjoy exploring the 300+ articles here, written to inform, encourage and inspire you on your piano journey!

Pianodao grows weekly, and as well as being my own online journal, the site features posts by some of the world’s most popular and respected writers about piano playing and music education.

Built around the metaphor of piano playing as a lifetime journey, you will find plenty of articles about playing, teaching, and broader lifestyle issues, along with interviews, stories, and my recommendations of great new resources.

And you can contribute too, by leaving comments, questions, even sharing Your Story  here!

Continue reading Welcome to Pianodao!

The Pianist’s Kindness

The Pianist’s Reflections Series

As I write this I am in India on a two-week yoga retreat, in which each day has started with a reflective discourse on the ethics outlined in the Yoga sutras of Patanjali, the classic text from which yoga theory subsequently developed.

The first, foundational ethic presented by Patanjali was ahimsa, which can be literally translated no harm, and intrinsically means be kind. Without kindness, there can be no true yoga. And yet, as our teacher rather decisively noted:

“There are plenty of people in this world who can touch their toes – but who are still basically arseholes!”

As usual, what is true in one field can equally apply in another, and certainly from my own observations of pianists – both in online forums and the ‘real world’ – there are plenty of very fine piano players and teachers who, it would seem, somewhat lack kindness.

So how can we encourage the piano community to be a kinder one? As always, the answer must begin with ourselves …

Continue reading The Pianist’s Kindness

Pianodao Spring Clean!

Here in the UK, Spring has not yet sprung, and may be a few weeks away still, but I’ve been busy looking back at the 300+ articles published here over the last two years, with a view to tidying up a bit!

You may have noticed that the menus have recently been updated, bringing the site closer to its core focus of the pianist’s journey as a player, teacher, and in life.

However, this year’s Spring Clean goes beyond reorganising the site content, and I’ve taken time to remove quite a number of articles which I don’t believe comfortably fit the goals and values of Pianodao moving forward. The process is also still ongoing, so a few more posts may be sent to the basement yet…

Here, then, is a brief run down of what has gone, and why…

Continue reading Pianodao Spring Clean!

The Pianist’s Perseverance

The Pianist’s Reflections Series

January is, for many, a time of resolutions, grit and determination. Whether it’s a fresh commitment to healthy eating and exercise, or a renewal of discipline, setting aside time to practise the piano – this is a month where many make a decision to turn a new leaf.

I hope that as many as possible who make a commitment towards self-improvement in its many forms will succeed in their freshly stated aims. But what are the ingredients of perseverance which will foster that success? Here’s my theme for this month’s reflection!

And I will try to explain why I believe that Progress is a Process, and that perseverance is never simply a matter of grim resolve and self-discipline …

Continue reading The Pianist’s Perseverance

Working Positively with Parents

Guest Post by Karen Marshall

Pushy Parent Syndrome

Is this something you are experiencing in your studio?

I recently attended a teacher meeting where a teacher was relaying her recent experiences with a very difficult parent of a young 6-year-old student. As I pondered the topic I realised that ‘pushy parent syndrome’, luckily, has not been something that I’ve recently encountered as regularly as in my young teaching years.

I felt it may be helpful to share some practices I’ve developed which have certainly made my teaching life far easier.

My approach is partly a conflict resolution one.  I would add its a “work in progress” – I would never claim to have all the answers and I’m still learning constantly after over 25 years of piano teaching!

I say conflict resolution because a relationship between a teacher and parent has potential for conflict, simply because the parent purchases the lessons and the child receives them. The relationship is a triangle – if anyone has ever had a dotted line with two managers you will know first-hand the problems that can cause.

  • The parent’s needs may be different to the child’s – conflict.
  • The parent’s expectations may be different to the abilities of the child – conflict.

Before you know it, you are jam-sandwiched between the child and the parent. So, what are the practical things I try to employ to make things easier and – most importantly – best for the student whilst maintaining good professional practices?

Continue reading Working Positively with Parents

Active Repertoire Challenge 2018

Are you ready for a fresh challenge?

Throughout 2017, the Active Repertoire Project has helped piano players from around the world build confidence and find more enjoyment playing the piano.

In 2018, I invite you to join this exciting project –
and let’s take it to the Next Level!

Download ACTIVE REPERTOIRE 2018 sheets here.

Continue reading Active Repertoire Challenge 2018

Pianodao: Review of 2017

2017 has been a fabulous year in so many ways!

I want to start by thanking everyone who has supported me – personally and professionally – and the Pianodao site this year,

The site has welcomed 120,000 visits, coming from almost every country in the world (more than 90 – but there just a few central African countries still resisting the site’s charms!) and has been recognised as one of the top 20 piano blog sites worldwide.


Here are some highlights – specifically I will list the Top Ten Most Read Reviews of 2017, as well as the Top Ten Most Read Articles.

Phew! Here goes…

Continue reading Pianodao: Review of 2017