Keeping Your Own Piano Journal

Supporting Your Piano Playing Journey
Written by ANDREW EALES


In my book How to Practise Music, I wrote the following to suggest adult learners keep a piano journal:

“Older learners often like to keep their own journal in which they write a more reflective account of their practice journey, which may or may not be shared with a teacher. These can be excellent tools for structuring practice sessions, probing for solutions, or looking back on previous work.”

It is a suggestion I unpack a little in the book, but in this post I want to explain the concept and potential benefits in more depth, as well as offering some practical tips to help you get started…

Continue reading Keeping Your Own Piano Journal

How to Practise Music: The Reviews

A highlight of 2022 has been the release and positive reception of my first book for Hal Leonard.

Published worldwide, How to Practise Music is a practical handbook for musicians of all stripes, described by the publishers as:

“The essential, pocket-sized companion for every musician. Accessible and authoritative, How to Practise Music is an ideal guide for anyone learning to play music. Suitable for instrumentalists and vocalists of any genre, this comprehensive handbook will give you a better idea of how to practise music, good reasons for doing so, and the confidence to succeed. “

The book is now available in both UK and US versions (Practice/Practise!):


The book is also available digitally for Amazon Kindle and Apple Books.

The book is also now available from the RNIB Bookshare, which aims to open up the world of reading to those with a print disability, including dyslexia, partial sight, and blindness. Titles are made available via the RNIB Bookshare website in a range of accessible formats that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the personal needs of readers.

Over the course of the last few months I have been truly thrilled and touched by the many wonderful comments I have received, and glowing reviews that have appeared in the press and online.

Here is an updated selection…

Continue reading How to Practise Music: The Reviews

ABRSM to update their professional diplomas

Supporting Your Piano Playing Journey
Written by ANDREW EALES


Leading exam board and awarding body ABRSM have just announced their intention to replace their entire range of diploma assessments in performance, teaching and direction with a new set of qualifications by 2024.

Among the headline points, they plan to scrap the DipABRSM altogether (seemingly elevating the existing ARSM as its replacement), and replace their LRSM and FRSM diplomas with new assessments which candidates will be able to take digitally, online. We are not told whether the opportunity to take a live, face-to-face diploma exam will remain at all.

These basic points may understandably perplex some readers. For my own part, I regularly teach and prepare candidates for both ARSM and DipABRSM qualifications, so (as with many of ABRSM’s recent changes) this news will directly impact my own students and ongoing professional practice.

Continue reading ABRSM to update their professional diplomas

Why do we play the piano?

Supporting Your Piano Playing Journey
Written by ANDREW EALES


The question of why we play the piano would seem to be both an obvious one to ask and an easy one to answer. And yet it rarely is.

In this article I consider four “types” of player, while recognising that many of us combine aspects of most or all of them.

Continue reading Why do we play the piano?

Thoughts on the Art of Practice

Guest Post written by Philip Fowke

I am delighted to include this incredibly helpful post from the internationally acclaimed concert pianist, recording artist and teacher Philip Fowke.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Philip on the faculty of the Thinking Pianist course, where he shared this very wise advice, and am delighted that he has agreed to make it public via the Pianodao website. There is so much here to take in, and of such lasting value.

Before Philip’s article, let’s remind ourselves of his stunning musicianship, recorded here at the BBC Proms performing that beloved masterpiece, Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell:


Continue reading Thoughts on the Art of Practice

Singing in Aural Tests: the Bottom Line

Supporting Teachers • Promoting Learning
Written by ANDREW EALES


The topic of singing in aural tests has long been a contentious one, but has become more so in recent years. Not only have growing numbers of teachers noted how unpopular the singing tests are, but research in the field of cognitive science now casts doubt on the previously assumed validity of such tests.

In this article I will explore the requirements of the five main boards, consider the links between singing and “audiation”, touch on some basic scientific research (with links for those wanting to read more) and suggest change.

Continue reading Singing in Aural Tests: the Bottom Line

A Fresh Perspective

Supporting Your Piano Playing Journey
Written by ANDREW EALES


Those who know me well enough to have observed some of my personal struggles often urge me to stop caring what others think of my choices, opinions, beliefs and work. Many of us become trapped in the mindset of the “people-pleaser”; manipulated or bullied by others, we can easily lose sight of our own core values if we aren’t careful.

A decision not to care what others think about us can be emancipating, and can empower us to be our more authentic selves. I’m not surprised that this sentiment has become a common theme in self-help manuals.

But wait. If we stop caring about what others think, how long before we stop caring about them at all? Mutual understanding of each other’s ideas, feelings and perspectives is a crucial foundation for building empathetic, honest relationships.

We may not always agree with the opinions of others, but shutting them out ultimately isolates us. Clearly a balance is needed, along with an ability to accept the perspectives of others without feeling belittled.

As in life, so too this applies in our piano playing…

Continue reading A Fresh Perspective

“The Thinking Pianist” Summer Course

Supporting Your Piano Playing Journey
Written by ANDREW EALES


Summer schools and courses for (especially) adult piano enthusiasts have become an embedded feature of the music education landscape in recent years, and last year saw the launch of the latest.

The Thinking Pianist is the brainchild of David Jones, an established pianist, educator, and presently Head of Keyboard Studies at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

I am delighted to announce that for this, the course’s second year, I will be joining the faculty. Here in advance, I talk to Jones about what it is that makes this particular course special, and distinct from other successful summer schools…

Continue reading “The Thinking Pianist” Summer Course