Tea Room Tips from the Pianodao Tea Room…
Announcing our latest discussion event for Pianodao Members, I asked the following questions about sight reading:
- Do you find it easy or difficult to play at sight?
- What approaches have helped you to improve?
- Do you have advice that might help others develop their sight-reading fluency?
Here are some of the highlights from the discussion which followed, which offer a wealth advice both for piano players and teachers…
Continue reading Tips for Playing at Sight
Guest Post by Susan Bettaney
The Piano Duet form is an enriching experience which opens up a plethora of knowledge and repertoire dating back to the 18th Century, a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of a wondrous art form which evolved from the quills of the Great Composers ideal for the drawing rooms and salons of the times.
Continue reading Hooked on Duets
Tea Room Tips
The Pianodao Tea Room is an online group for supporters of this site. In addition to our private discussions we now run a monthly “event” in which members can share their tips on a subject of interest, with highlights collated here for Pianodao readers.
This month, I asked members,
“How do you find / make time in your schedule for piano practice on a regular basis? What has worked for you?”
Here’s some of the answers members gave…
Continue reading Making Time for Regular Practice
Steve Luck is a piano teacher from Newcastle Upon Tyne. This guest post originally appeared as a forum post within the Piano Network UK group, the leading Facebook community of piano players, teachers and enthusiasts living in the United Kingdom.
Steve’s post includes such useful information, aimed primarily at piano parents and students, that he has agreed to me giving it a public platform here on the Pianodao site, for which I am grateful, as I am sure many readers will be!
Continue reading Steve Luck’s Practice Tips
Featured Image: Anthony Kelly
Guest Post by Mark Tanner
Continue reading Thumbs up for the Thumb!
Pianists tend to think of the thumb as being the root cause of unevenness, bumps and a host of other undesirables…
Wonderful news: the latest figures from the BPI reveal that sales and streaming of recorded classical music grew by 10.2% in the last twelve months.
This compares to the much lower 5.7% growth in other genres. In fact, classical CD sales grew by 6.9%, while most other genres actually saw a decline in sales. And online streaming of classical music grew by a whopping 42%, compared to the 33% rise in the overall market. These figures are presented and discussed in this BBC News article.
Some will no doubt quibble over the specific artists and composers featured in the statistics, and we must admit that the categories formulated by salespeople and marketeers rarely tell the whole story.
But those of us who really believe in classical music won’t be surprised by its upsurge and enduring popularity. We know that once people encounter good music, it can wield its transformative power.
It is odd, then, that some piano teaching colleagues seem to avoid classical music, unless and until it is specifically requested by a student or otherwise required. Why is this?
Continue reading Do you believe in classical music?
Featured Image: Wolfgang Lonien
Guest post by Liz Giannopoulos
As the New Year begins, my thoughts turn to my practice routine, and I’m full of good resolutions about what, when and how I will practise.
The new term also provides an opportunity to reflect on my students’ practice habits and how I can encourage them to commit to regular and effective practice.
Continue reading Practice Resolutions
What can you play?
This is a question which for too many pianists leads to such answers as:
- I’m working on Allegro, but it’s not yet ready to play;
- I finished learning Andante last month, but I’ve forgotten it now;
- I don’t have my music books with me, so …
What a pity!
The reality is that too many of us can’t sit down at the piano – without notice, without notation, and without embarrassment – and simply play something!
Continue reading Active Repertoire Challenge 2019
Exclusive Interview with Michael Elliott, Chief Executive, ABRSM
Having attended a few ABRSM conferences in recent years, the teachers’ conference last Saturday was notable in many ways. On a visible front, it was noticeable that having sold out well in advance, the venue was teeming with enthusiastic professionals.
More subtly, it seemed to me that ABRSM as an organisation was invigorated, the spring back in its collective step, its message an overwhelmingly positive one, in spite of the challenges which presently face music education.
Against this backdrop, it was unusual too that in his welcome address, ABRSM’s Chief Executive Michael Elliott refrained from listing a string of achievements and announcements for the future, as has typically been the case.
Happily, I later in the day had the chance to sit down with Michael, together with ABRSM’s new Communications Officer Kerry Sheehan, to follow up on a few announcements from previous years and other rumours doing the rounds.
Michael gave generous and full answers, outlining his vision and a raft of forthcoming developments which will undoubtedly please readers here. And he was happy for me to audio record our interview and publish this full transcript, in which I hope readers will capture something of his enthusiasm and positive message!
Continue reading ABRSM: New Directions 2019
In my recent article Why Bother with Scales? I considered the many benefits that arise from regularly playing and teaching scales and arpeggios.
In this shorter post I’m going to hone in on one especially important advantage which is sometimes overlooked entirely:
Regular scale and arpeggio practice trains the brain and the fingers to develop precision in judging and playing all intervals up to a fourth, using any standard combination of shapes and fingerings, and in all the standard keys.
This significant benefit is certainly not to be sniffed at, and fosters a technical ability that is otherwise unlikely to develop during the formative stages of learning the piano.
Let’s consider how this works…
Continue reading Learning to Play with Precision