Way of Piano Best Piano Blog

Pathways for Playing

Pianodao advocates a repertoire-rich approach to piano playing, with a focus on developing an Active Repertoire of pieces which you can confidently play any time, any place.

Pianodao includes many articles to support your piano practice, playing and performance, offering expert guidance and encouragement. You can explore this archive of advice below.

Andrew also offers a flexible range of personalised learning opportunities, from expert tuition to bespoke advice and friendly support, available in person at his studio, to his popular video feedback service, available online wherever in the world you are:

Selected Highlights:

The Three-Dimensional Pianist

Understanding the importance of the three dimensions of musical learning, Musical Mind, Musical Body and Musical Soul, empowers us to teach, learn and practise music holistically, and make more effective and lasting progress at the piano…

András Schiff & Natural Breathing

“For me, it is breathing that is vital. You must breathe naturally, like a singer. Pianists and string players often tend to forget the necessity of breathing and they can become very tense; then they get back pains and wrist pains and so on. Usually it can be sorted out through the breathing.”

Thoughts on the Art of Practice

In this incredibly helpful post from the internationally acclaimed concert pianist Philip Fowke, he shares a wealth of wise advice which I am delighted he has agreed to make public via the Pianodao website. There is so much here to take in, and of such lasting value…

Why Bother with Scales?

An in-depth look at the learning benefits, the importance of fingering, cumulative learning, and a more creative approach:

Who needs piano lessons anyway?

More and more players, especially adult beginners, are trying to teach themselves to play the piano without the support of a good teacher. And there are a growing number of apps, videos and books to help.

What (if anything) does a teacher offer that can’t be found elsewhere?

What Can You Play?

Getting the right balance between work and play at the piano is a sure way to stay motivated, foster musical enjoyment, stave off frustration, and develop confidence as the true musicians that we no doubt want to be and can be…

Explore All:

ABRSM Performance Diplomas

ABRSM recently published the full details of their new digital-only LRSM and FRSM Performance Diplomas.

Here’s a brand new and fully updated article outlining these qualifications, and addressing some of the concerns being raised within the profession…

Active Repertoire, Winter 23/24

The Active Repertoire Challenge offers an exciting pathway to a more motivated and truly rewarding piano journey. Are you ready to take part? If so, here’s your latest FREE sheet to plan and track your progress during the Winter months:

Music Theory • Online Courses

Keen to find out more about learning music theory online?

I have spoken to four leading course providers about the benefits and joys of their approach. Read on to find out more!

Active Repertoire • Autumn 2023

The Active Repertoire Challenge is now quarterly, with a radical redesign that offers a more playful, engaging format that aims both to promote more thought and discussion about music, and to inspire more creative curiosity…

Why use Graded Anthologies?

Whether or not you are interested in taking graded exams, anthologies of piano music selected for specific levels of playing can offer many advantages…

Our Commitment to Music

In this acutely observed and beautifully nuanced guest post, well-known pianist, educator and examiner Peter Noke deftly explores the links between exam concerns and the musician’s timeless commitment to live performance…

The Thinking Pianist 2023

After having a wonderful time at The Thinking Pianist course last summer, I am delighted to be joining the faculty once again this year. Read more to find out about this special course…

The Appeal of Einaudi’s Music

Why do so many millions connect with the piano music of Ludovico Einaudi, and what can we learn from his extraordinary popularity?

Keeping Your Own Piano Journal

Have you considered keeping your own Piano Journal?

In this post I explain how you can use a journal to improve your progress, deepen your engagement, track progress, get organised and plan for the future…

How to Practise Music: The Reviews

Since the international publication of my book HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC, I have been thrilled and touched by the many wonderful comments I have received and reviews that have appeared.

Here is a new, updated selection…

Why do we play the piano?

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 most of us combine aspects of most or all…

A Fresh Perspective

Are you ready for a fresh perspective on your playing? If so, here are some points to bear in mind…

“The Thinking Pianist” Summer Course

The Thinking Pianist is the brainchild of David Jones, an established pianist, educator, and presently Head of Keyboard Studies at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. In this interview, I talk to Jones about what it is that makes this particular course special, and distinct from other successful summer schools…

The Pianist’s Procrastination

Let today be the day to say “Goodbye” to procrastination. The first step can be trodden, the first brick can be laid, and visible progress can be achieved. Why not today?

Competition & Conflict

“To compete always damages your soul.” Maria João Pires.

We don’t need to beat others to have value… a reflection on the nature of competition.

How to Practise Music

The essential, pocket-sized companion for every musician!

Accessible and authoritative, HOW TO PRACTISE MUSIC is Andrew’s highly acclaimed book of tips for anyone who wants to get more out of their practice…

Andor Földes on being a Child Prodigy

Contributing to an interesting discussion about ‘child prodigy’ on social media, I have recently mentioned this quote from Földes book, and thought it worth also sharing here, together with some thoughts on how we nurture talent and more…

ABRSM’s Performance Grades

Having long recommended ABRSM to my students, it has been particularly interesting to see the development of their new Performance Grades, which place all aspects of musical development under the spotlight in their appropriate context: MUSIC.

The Pianist’s Limits

“It is certainly not negative, lacking in faith or discouraging to recognise, wisely, that we all have limitations. On the contrary: it is foolish, arrogant and self-defeating to think otherwise…”

The Pianist’s Imperfection

If we could all, as piano players and teachers, have a lighter spirit and be kinder to ourselves and each other, I rather suspect that we would find that our pursuit of excellence and our appreciation of the beauty within “imperfection” actually go very nicely hand in hand…

The Pianist’s Resolution

The start of any new year or season is for many a time for making resolutions: for ambition, grit and determination.

But what are the ingredients of perseverance which will foster that success?

Breathing with Bach

In this lesson, we address the importance of the breath in alleviating shoulder tension, using three dance movements from the Partita as example repertoire.

Simple fixes for easing piano pain

From doubting whether she might be able to continue playing, Bernice rediscovered and affirmed the joy that playing an instrument brings into her life. Here’s how…

Do you believe in classical music?

It is odd that some piano teachers seem to avoid classical music, unless and until it is specifically requested by a student or otherwise required. Why is this?

Personalised Learning

Personalised learning will help you and your children become confident independent players with a lifelong love of music. Here’s why…

Three types of Repertoire

Since writing my article ‘What can you play?’ readers have shown quite an interest in my concept of Active Repertoire. Now I am going to explain a little more about how Active Repertoire fits into the wider picture of your piano journey.

Piano Lessons: Dealing with Anxiety

I am sure that most piano teachers will be alert to the fact that some pupils coming to lessons are anxious. This post will look at some reasons for that, and offer some suggestions that might help normalise lessons.

Louis Couperin … on the Piano?

At my recent piano recital, I started with the very beautiful Chaconne in F major by the early French Baroque composer Louis Couperin (1626-61), uncle of the far better known François Couperin “Le Grand” (1668-1731).

The Pianist’s Lineage

Until quite recently it never occurred to me to consider who my teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher was…

Get email updates from Pianodao, delivered by WordPress.
You can unsubscribe at any time.