Sheet Music Review
Sometimes, like busses, exam syllabi arrive more than one at a time. If it seems as if it were just last month that I wrote my bumper review of the 2021-2 ABRSM piano syllabus, well… that’s because it was. And now here is the new syllabus from Trinity College London (TCL) …
TCL tell us that this is their biggest ever piano syllabus, so there will be a lot of ground to cover in this bumper review.
Although I am going to integrate my material, I will tackle the review from two perspectives, trying to answer questions and pick up on the headline news for:
- existing TCL exam users; and
- those considering switching to TCL from ABRSM or another board.
So let’s discover the big stories in the TCL Piano Syllabus 2021-3…
Continue reading Trinity Piano Syllabus 2021-23
Sheet Music Review
I recently reviewed the Rockschool 2019 Piano syllabus (please refer to that review here), and now have the opportunity to tell you about an alternative I mentioned in that review, offered by Trinity College London’s Rock & Pop Keyboard exams.
The disclaimers I made when reviewing Rockschool equally apply here: I haven’t entered myself or a student for the actual exams, and this review is based on the syllabus, publications and resources.
I also had the chance to chat to Trinity’s Head of Product Management Julia Martin and Product Support Manager for Music Govind Kharbanda, to whom I am most grateful for talking me through their syllabus and answering my plethora of questions.
As we shall see, the Trinity Rock & Pop offering has much in common with the Rockschool Piano syllabus, but there are also some significant points of departure. Together they occupy a unique space in the market; comparisons are inevitable, but I will aim to keep them for my conclusion!
Continue reading Trinity Rock & Pop Keyboards
For 45 years, Finchcocks – a beautiful Georgian manor house situated in Kent – was home to Richard and Katrina Burnett’s impressive collection of over 100 historical keyboard instruments (some 40 of which were fully restored), including harpsichords, clavichords, early fortepianos, square pianos, and more.
These instruments could not only be seen by visitors whenever the house was open to the general public – they could also be heard in performances there, and even played. Finchcocks was one of the few collections where visitors could avail themselves of the chance to get a feel for playing earlier repertoire on authentic instruments.
When the Burnetts retired in 2015, and the museum closed, with many of its instruments auctioned off for charity, there was naturally some sadness among aficionados of historical performance practice.
Enter new owners, by Neil and Harriet Nichols…
Continue reading Finchcocks Reborn
Pathways for Teaching
In the minds of many students (and in the case of children, their parents), two questions are constantly lurking –
- How well am I doing? and,
- How can I improve?
I believe teachers should routinely answer these questions, but how best to frame those answers? As a general principle I would suggest that pupils will gain confidence if they have a clear, honest perception of their progress, and goals which are detailed and encouraging.
Graded exams can offer one way – and an important framework – for pupils to gain the meaningful, quantative answers that help foster confidence.
While exams are certainly not without their issues, most of the concerns I see raised relate more to their misuse than to their appropriate use.
In this article I will consider both, and offer a personal perspective on some of the most common concerns. And in conclusion, I will try to provide an answer to the question: Graded Exams – Friend or Foe?
Continue reading Graded Exams: Friend or Foe?
Sheet Music Review
Piano Stories from Trinity College London Press is, without doubt, one of the most pleasant surprises to make an appearance in my post-bag recently, and for those who use the Trinity Piano Syllabus with younger children the series is an absolute godsend.
Continue reading Trinity’s “Piano Stories”
Sheet Music Review by Karen Marshall
November has seen the London College of Music present their new piano syllabus.
Due to staff changes the last time the syllabus was changed was back in 2013. So I was very excited to see what LCM were offering – especially as many of my colleagues Andrew Eales, David Barton, Francis Wilson and Melanie Spanswick have consulted on the main albums.
As a teacher who actively uses LCM, along with Trinity and ABRSM, Andrew asked me to write the review (to maintain impartiality).
As my first full syllabus review on Pianodao, I have worked really hard to get a broad collection of voices – many thanks to my piano teaching colleagues who have helped me shape this review.
I must say that the overall impression is that this is a job very well done by LCM, and a big step up from previously piano syllabi in terms of pedagogical content, variety of repertoire, quality of editing and presentation of the publications. Huge congratulations to William Alexander, David Duncan and the rest of the team at LCM for this achievement.
Continue reading LCM Syllabus 2018: The Big Review
Now here’s my review, and in true Pianodao style, it is equally as detailed as Andrew’s! I really hope it proves helpful to teachers and pupils.
The publication of a new Piano Exam Syllabus is always (rightly or wrongly) a major event in the piano teacher’s calendar, a “big reveal” in which we learn the repertoire around which our musical curriculum might to some extent orbit for the next few years.
Judging by the response to my review of the current ABRSM Piano Syllabus, I am sure that readers will be keen to know my thoughts on the latest syllabus from their largest UK competitor, Trinity College London, published this month.
I must start with a disclaimer: as a teacher I rarely enter students for exams other than ABRSM. With that in mind, I am delighted that Karen Marshall has agreed to offer her “Second Opinion” later in the review.
Karen’s contribution will take the form of an interview following on from my own comments. She will offer the perspective of a well-regarded teacher who has used the Trinity Syllabus with her students over many years.
But first, my thoughts, essentially coming to this syllabus fresh…
Continue reading Trinity Piano Syllabus 2018-20