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:
Also available • Andrew’s essential handbook
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…
The Active Repertoire Challenge 2023
ANNOUNCEMENT: The 2023 Active Repertoire Challenge is now live! It’s time to play with confidence! Download your FREE challenge sheet here:
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:
The Pianist’s Motivations
Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation are like Yin and Yang – we need a happy balance of both…
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…
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…
ABRSM to update their professional diplomas
ABRSM have just announced their intention to replace their entire range of diploma assessments in performance, teaching and direction with new qualifications by 2024. Here’s their full announcement, together with …
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…
The Serial Starter
I’m delighted to introduce this Guest Post in which Joanna García asks, “are you a serial starter?” and offers encouragement to develop your repertoire…
Singing in Aural Tests: the Bottom Line
The topic of singing in aural tests has long been a contentious one, but has become more so in recent years…
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 Handbook
My first book from Hal Leonard is now available, and in this post I will give you a sneak peak…
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…
Achievement, Assessment and Motivation
ABRSM have recently launched a debate into the nature of musical achievement, assessment, and intrinsic motivation. How do these three relate, if at all?
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?
Playing like the Winter Sun
Cherish the music you play. Dazzle with the easy! Stop thinking in terms of levels and progress, and start thinking about reaching the soul. Play like the winter sun…
Chetham’s Summer School for Pianists
The Chetham’s International Summer School styles itself as “The Friendliest Summer School in the World”. I decided to find out for myself …
“Stand back from the edge please!”
Most of us rarely question the fears or values that were instilled in us at a young age. But perhaps we should do…
Practice in Perspective
Practice is amazing. And then it’s awful…
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?
The Pianist’s Accomplishment
Piano playing is a journey with no fixed destination…
Slow Progress: is there any other kind?
Learning to Play with Precision
We can play so much better if we are willing to make the effort required to develop precision.
Musical Focus is Paramount
Here’s an excellent practice suggestion from Norma Fisher…
The importance of hearing and rehearsing the whole piece, uninterrupted …
Some thoughts on shoes…
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.
Take a Bow! How, When and Why…
Stagecraft is a skill that must be taught to students as part of performance preparation…
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).
ARSM: Your Questions Answered
Penny Milsom (Executive Director of Products and Services, ABRSM) answers your questions about the new ARSM diploma
The Pianist’s Lineage
Until quite recently it never occurred to me to consider who my teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher was…
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