Women Composers, Piano Exams, and the Quest for Balance

When I published David Duncan’s guest article Women Composers and Grade Exams I really hoped that it would promote a healthy debate about a really important issue, and I am pleased that it has done so.

While I don’t generally comment on Guest Posts, on this occasion I would like to add a few thoughts. And I must begin by applauding David Duncan and his colleagues at LCM for their determination to address an imbalance. David makes a valuable contribution to the discussion, and I believe his efforts at LCM deserve our support and enthusiasm.

My hope is that by including far more works by women composers, their forthcoming piano  syllabus will be an eye-opener, in which unjustly neglected works will receive the greater exposure they deserve.

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Women composers and Graded Exams

Guest Post by David Duncan
Publications Officer, LCM Examinations

Should we care about the representation of women composers in graded music exams?

Continue reading Women composers and Graded Exams

ABRSM’s Theory rethink: a step in the right direction?

ABRSM surprised the teaching world this week with an email announcement detailing significant changes they plan to make to their Theory of Music Grades 1-5 examinations, from January 2018.

In this post I will explain the changes ABRSM are planning, assess reaction from teachers online, and share my own views, particularly in the context of my previous writings on this topic.

So let’s start by looking at exactly what ABRSM are planning to change.

Continue reading ABRSM’s Theory rethink: a step in the right direction?

ABRSM’s Michael Elliott: The Pianodao Interview

An Interview with Michael Elliott, Chief Executive, ABRSM

I am hugely grateful to Michael Elliott, Chief Executive of ABRSM, for giving up his time to take part in this interview. At his suggestion, the questions were crowd-sourced prior to the interview.

As well as the many questions raised on the Pianodao site here, I received several via email and have included topics raised on the Piano Network UK forum.

So far as possible I will include reader questions word for word, but I have streamlined the recurring themes which cropped up.

And many of the questions asked were very probing – so get comfortable and prepare for an in-depth and revealing read! …

Continue reading ABRSM’s Michael Elliott: The Pianodao Interview

SHINE Because of Music!

I’ve just heard about a FREE event taking part in London on 7th July 2017, which looks fantastic!

“Shine!” is a celebratory event hosted by ABRSM in partnership with the Barbican and Classic FM with a great line up of speakers, performers and awards to celebrate music education.

Confirmed to be appearing are the London Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Jess Gillam, Sir Simon Rattle and Classic FM presenter Myleene Klass.

Whatever your interest in music – whether a player, teacher, student or parent – this looks like a fantastic programme that offers something for everyone.

So without further ado, here is the full press release from ABRSM, and the link to reserve your FREE tickets:

Continue reading SHINE Because of Music!

Alan Bullard’s Preludes

Sheet Music Review

Alan Bullard will be known to many readers for his many contributions to popular educational series such as Piano Time from OUP and Piano Star from ABRSM. His Joining the Dots series of sight reading books for ABRSM and the excellent adult piano method series Pianoworks, co-written with his wife Janet, have also become well known favourites.

Alan’s latest publication is brought to us by Colne Edition, distributed by Spartan Press, and is entitled Twelve or Thirteen Preludes for Solo Piano.

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Ask ABRSM

I’m delighted to let you know that Pianodao will feature an exclusive interview with ABRSM Chief Executive Michael Elliott next month.

Readers are invited to submit questions here.
Simply add yours as a comment below this blog post, and I will try to include it in the interview.

The goal of the interview is to get behind the scenes, perhaps bust a few myths, and give Michael a chance to talk about the direction ABRSM are headed, answering any questions or concerns teachers and candidates may have.

ABRSM and Pianodao will both be sharing this blog post via our respective social media channels, and hope to crowd-source as many interesting questions as possible. Questions submitted elsewhere on social media might get missed however, so please be sure to post your question in the comments here.

On your marks, get set ….  ASK!

Closing date: Monday 3rd April.

[NB if you haven’t commented here before, your first comment is send for approval before it appears in public, but I get an instant notification and will approve quickly.]

ABRSM Conference Report

ABRSM’s Teacher Conference has established itself as one of the leading events in the instrumental teacher’s calendar, providing an opportunity for colleagues to network, stay abreast of new developments in the music teaching world, and refresh teaching skills.

This year’s conference took place at London’s Grange Tower Bridge Hotel on Saturday 5th November, and took as its title and grand theme ”The Art and Craft of Performing. More than 500 teachers attended, including me for the first time.

Continue reading ABRSM Conference Report