Christmas Repertoire Sheets

With preparations for Christmas concerts, shows and services under way for many piano players, it is tempting to leave our Active Repertoire to one side while we focus on festive favourites.

If you would like to read about some of the best new Christmas sheet music, do check out my recent round up review here.

So here is a special gift to help balance our musical goals over the next few weeks, in the run up to Christmas itself.

Christmas Repertoire Sheet DOWNLOAD

The Christmas Repertoire sheet can of course be used how you like, but personally I advise my students to use it exactly as we use our standard Active Repertoire sheets throughout the rest of the year.

For now, why not just copy over the three pieces from your current Active Repertoire sheet, but as we approach Christmas, look to replace or supplement those pieces with your Seasonal choices?

Alternatively, some will want to focus solely on Christmas Carols and songs, revising those already learnt in previous years as repertoire to play from memory over the coming weeks.

As always, the choice is with each player. And however you use the Christmas Repertoire sheets, I hope that it will make a positive contribution to your piano journey over the next two months!

Returning to Learning

What can piano teachers learn from stepping into the shoes of the beginner and taking up a new skill or pastime? Quite a lot, in my experience…

Like many adults, I periodically look to introduce a new discipline or hobby into my life. And as a teacher, it is always fascinating to put myself in the position of student.

The latest activity to find its way onto my list of exploits is Pilates, the exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates and often mentioned in the same breath as Yoga (though I think, quite different!)

This lot are learning Pilates too. They look happy, don’t they?

Pilates-1

And certainly I was hoping that I would find Pilates enjoyable – and hopefully beneficial for my health and fitness too.

And inevitably I also hoped that putting myself in the shoes of the complete beginner, there would be teaching parallels that I could reflect on, and which would give me fresh insight.

In this post I am going to list a few observations I made, followed by questions which make connections to piano teaching – these are for self-reflection only.

Continue reading Returning to Learning

Personalised Learning

Every aspect of music is personal.

A good performance depends on the player’s personal interpretation of the music. Enjoyment, for the listener, depends on their personal response to the music. Which in turn is informed by personal musical taste and experience.

And in the same way, learning to play a musical instrument is a highly personalised experience. In this post we’ll consider why that is true, and what it means in practice.

Continue reading Personalised Learning

The Eight Chord Trick

In this post I am going to share a simple trick that will help prompt you to compose and improvise your own music.

This also provides an excellent strategy for helping more advanced students develop their creativity, and move beyond written music.

When making up our own music it’s useful to have a “trigger” that helps get things started – or perhaps a set of “rules” or self-imposed limitations within which we will work. Far from limiting our imagination, this can stimulate our creativity as we explore the boundaries we have set ourselves.

The Eight Chord Trick can be used in exactly this way.

Continue reading The Eight Chord Trick

The Pianist’s Handshake

The Pianist’s Reflections

Do you ever feel a bit uncomfortable about shaking hands with people when you meet them?

Concerned about hygiene, and all those germs you’ll pick up “pressing the flesh”?
Worried about having your piano-playing fingers crushed by the over-enthusiastic clench of Mr. Assertive?

Then read on, and I will go over a few points that might help!

Continue reading The Pianist’s Handshake

The Effects of the Gendered Musical Canon

Guest Author, The Reverend Professor June Boyce-Tillman writes about the effect that the lack of female composers in music syllabuses had on a young child’s aspirations…

Continue reading The Effects of the Gendered Musical Canon