New Online Workshops

Our online workshops and events programme for the next few months features a combination of repeats of popular events and new sessions based on requests and feedback from our participants to date. We’re also delighted to welcome two new presenters, Ken Johansen and Penelope Roskell to our programme! The following are some of the events that we have lined up for the summer: Practice Tools (Part 1 & Part 2) – A repeat of Graham Fitch’s Practice Tools workshops which give detailed demonstrations of how to apply various tools to make your practising more effective. Memorisation – By popular request, this new workshop follows-on from the Practice Tools workshops and focuses on methods and techniques for deep learning and memorisation. Developing Sight-reading Skills (Part 1 & Part 2) – A workshop in two parts by Ken Johansen based on his advanced sight-reading curriculum, providing an interactive demonstration of essential sight-reading skills, including eye training and flexibility. Click here for more information or to book your place. Healthy Technique & Injury “Clinic” – Penelope Roskell will be presenting her approach to healthy piano technique, followed by a pianist injury “clinic” in which she will answer questions on preventing and recovering from injury. Click here for more information or to book your place. Piano Technique Workshop – A repeat of Graham Fitch’s workshop on various aspects of piano technique covering topics such as technical fundamentals, scales and arpeggios, building speed and an introduction to the concept of forearm rotation. In addition to these online workshops, we regularly broadcast various free live events from our Facebook page. Videos from past live events can also be watched on our YouTube channel. Further details regarding these events will be announced shortly […]

By |June 25th, 2020|News|0 Comments

A Lesson in Sight-Reading from Julia Child

This weeks’ guest blog post introduces the newly published second part of our advanced sight-reading curriculum by Ken Johansen, associate professor at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and Online Academy contributor. *** *** *** The first requirement of sight-reading is that we keep going and not stop to correct mistakes. This is fundamentally different from practising, where we stop to root out mistakes as soon as they occur. This requirement obliges us, first of all, to choose our sight-reading repertoire carefully, so that we are able to keep going without making too much of a hash of things. Secondly, it means that when mistakes do occur, as they inevitably will, we must be able to sail through them without fear or regret. What Julia Child said about cooking applies equally to sight-reading: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” A “what-the-hell attitude” in sight-reading doesn’t imply that we don’t care about what we’re doing, but that we give priority to our musical experience – our first encounter with an unknown piece of music – rather than to monitoring our success or failure in reading the score accurately. After all, in cooking it is our enjoyment of the food we’ve created, and what we’ve learned from making it, that matters most, not whether or not we’ve followed the recipe in all its details. Such an attitude requires flexibility, not only in the spirit with which we confront challenges, but in the musicianship with which we adapt to them. Just as experienced cooks know how to adapt when the soufflé has collapsed or the roast is undercooked, so experienced sight-readers find ways to […]

New Practice Tools Workshop!

Due to the popularity of our online workshop on the Practice Tools, we are pleased to announce a new follow-on workshop. This second workshop builds on the concepts introduced in the first and introduces additional practice tools, including: How to deconstruct the score to learn pieces more efficiently Using transposition to solve technical problems Inventing exercises from within pieces Using shadow practice for tonal and motor control Deep learning with memory tools such as visualisation and mental practice for deep learning. As with all of our online workshops, the workshop will include opportunities for questions and answers, along with practice worksheets and resources. The session will also be recorded, and all participants will receive a link to download the video. We will also be running a repeat of the initial workshop (Part 1) if you missed one of the sessions in April / May and would like to attend (We recommend attending the first workshop before attending the second). Tickets can be purchased for each workshop individually for £25 or together for both workshops for £40 (please select “Combined Ticket” when purchasing your tickets). Online Academy subscribers get a further 40% off individual or combined tickets. Please use one of the following links to book your place: Part 1 (Saturday 6th June @ 15:00 BST) – Click here for more information or to book tickets. Part 2 (Saturday 13th June @ 15:00 BST) – Click here for more information or to book tickets. Frequently asked questions How do your online workshops work? We use Zoom, a widely used platform to deliver the workshops which is free for participants and easy to use and install. The workshops are presented over video using a combination of camera […]

Online Events & Workshops

April saw the launch of our first online events and workshops. We have been delighted by their reception and thrilled to welcome participants from almost all corners of the globe! The following are the initial events that took place in April and early May: Practice Tools Online Workshop – Based on Graham Fitch’s email course on practising strategies and tools, this online workshop provided a more in-depth look at specific practice tools with a detailed demonstration of how to apply them. Forearm Rotation Online Workshop – An online course based on our newly published guide to forearm rotation featuring a further, practical demonstration of the underlying concept and associated movements with opportunities for questions and answers. Practice Clinic – A live “practice clinic” open to everyone in which Graham Fitch will respond to practising-related queries submitted by our Online Academy subscribers in advance (click here to view a recording of the most recent event). Technique Showcase – A free demonstration of content from our newly published technique resources covering basic fundamentals, using forearm rotation and scales (click here to view recording of the most recent event). The feedback from these events has been overwhelmingly positive. Many participants specifically commented on how useful the sessions have been both in their own right and as a complement to our online content. The opportunities for questions and answers were also very popular! Upcoming events As a result of the interest and based on the feedback received, we will be offering an ongoing programme of online events and workshops. This will feature repeats of some of the initial sessions in addition to some new events. The following is a listing of the next events we have lined up: Brahms’ Intermezzo in A […]

By |May 19th, 2020|News|0 Comments

Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum Launched!

This week’s guest blog post announces the launch of a unique new online sight-reading curriculum for advanced pianists by Ken Johansen, associate professor at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and Online Academy contributor. *** *** *** Introducing the Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum to readers of this blog. This is the curriculum that I use in my class for piano majors at the Peabody Conservatory. It has been nearly twenty years in the making, and I believe that there is at present nothing else quite like it, in print or online. Virtually all piano teachers agree that sight-reading is an extremely important skill, perhaps even the most important. At the same time, it is a difficult skill to teach. It requires a vast quantity of carefully-chosen music, and the gradual, but concurrent, development of multiple aural, analytical, technical, and cognitive abilities. In this curriculum, we work on each of these component abilities – twenty of them altogether – individually, tackling the complex multi-tasking activity of sight-reading from twenty different angles, as it were. Improvement in sight-reading comes not simply from playing lots of pieces, but from acquiring new habits, and learning to think in new ways. Each of these new habits of mind needs first to be isolated, worked on with deliberate attention, and repeated in enough musical examples to become second nature. Whether we are learning how to read ahead, mastering dotted rhythms, or practicing the simplification of complex textures, we first need ways to think about these things, then lots of musical excerpts to practice them on, without too many other difficulties to distract or confuse us. Each of the twenty […]

By |January 23rd, 2020|News, Practising|0 Comments

An Essential Guide to Healthy Piano Playing

Piano playing is a deeply satisfying artistic activity, but it can also be very demanding physically on our arms and hands. Just as elite athletes understand and care for their bodies, so should pianists think carefully about their approach to playing and practising. A healthy piano technique not only avoids injury – it also helps to achieve greater freedom of expression, a more beautiful sound and quicker progress. With the number of piano-related injuries on the rise and as a response to this growing problem, we have worked with leading expert in pianist injuries, Penelope Roskell to publish a new guide to preventing and recovering from injury for pianists and teachers. Combined with Penelope’s existing resources on Yoga, warm-ups and posture, the guide offers detailed information on each of the most common playing-related injuries with numerous video demonstrations of practical remedial exercises to aid recovery and prevent relapse. The information contained within this guide is based on Penelope’s many years of experience in working with pianists with injuries. Although it will be useful to any pianist, it is especially beneficial for those experiencing fatigue, tension or pain and piano teachers who want to know more about helping their students keep healthy. The guide covers the following topics: Healthy playing – Develop a healthy technique (and wise practise) methods for greater freedom of expression, improved sound quality and quicker progress General advice on healthy and wise practising Whole-body approach and sitting posture Warm-up sequence Preventing and recovering from injury – Learn how to look after your arms and hands to avoid problems in future and general advice on recovering from injury Common pianist injuries How to identify common injuries like RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and tenosynovitis […]

By |January 16th, 2020|News, Technique|0 Comments

New Year’s Piano Resolutions!

We’d like to wish all of our readers all of the best for the year ahead and thank you for your support in 2019. With 2020 now underway, there are a number of exciting developments in the pipeline for Practising the Piano which we’re very much looking forward to sharing with you! The following are some examples of what we have in store over the next few months: Technique library and resources – A comprehensive library of resources focussing on improving technique and tackling technical challenges for all levels. This will include detailed demonstrations of various areas of technique, guides to exercises and studies with contributions from current and new authors. The Practice Tools – More content based on Graham Fitch’s workshops and eBook series, including a course teaching the fundamentals of effective practising and a revised index of practice tools for different levels. Walk throughs – Our repertoire library will continue to grow with works including Für Elise, Chopin’s mighty 1st Ballade and Brahms’s Intermezzo in A Major Op. 118 No. 2 coming shortly. We will also be celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with the launch of a series dedicated to his Sonatas. Healthy playing – Our healthy piano playing module by Penelope Roskell will be extended to include information and numerous video demonstrations on preventing and recovering from common pianist injuries. Together with Penelope’s recently published Yoga for Musicians videos, this will serve as an invaluable resource for pianists and teachers alike. Sight reading – An exciting new sight-reading curriculum developed by Ken Johansen at the Peabody Institute, for the advanced level along with exercises along with sample exercises from ReadAhead Level 4. New features – A number of developments are planned for the […]

By |January 2nd, 2020|General|0 Comments

Highlights & Most Popular Content of 2019

We’re currently taking a break over the Festive Session and will resume further posts and updates in the New Year. In the meantime, the following are some of our highlights and most popular content over the last year. 2019 Highlights: Launch of the Piano Teachers’ Course Online and a section within the Online Academy focusing on teaching Completion of our series of video walkthroughs for all the etudes in Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Studies, Op. 100 The Online Academy celebrated its third birthday Interactive Practice Tools workshop in London in partnership with Casio Music Most popular blog posts (new): The Fantasie-Impromptu Hands Separately Practice – Useful or Not? Precision Measurement in Jumps Why Perform? Resources for Pianists Schumann’s Romance in F-Sharp Most popular blog posts (previous): Enjoying Ultra-Slow Practice “But it Takes Me Ages to Learn a New Piece!” The 20-Minute Practice Session Rediscovering Bach’s Prelude in C Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Studies Most popular Online Academy series 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes (Burgmüller) Von fremden Ländern und Menschen (Schumann) A Guide to the Trinity College Piano Syllabus Foundations of Good Technique The Practice Tools Lecture Series Most popular videos on our YouTube channel: Proksch – And Now Let’s Handel Bruch – Moderato from Sechs Klavierstücke (Op. 12, No. 4) Mendelssohn – No. 2 from Kinderstücke (Op. 72) Sonata No. 8 in C Minor (Pathétique) – 1st Mvt (Preview) Chopin – Fantaisie Impromptu – How to Manage the 4:3 Polyrhythm Graham was also delighted to participate in an interview with Dr. Josh Wright which turned out to be an incredibly popular video (click here to view)! We also launched new functionality which makes Online Academy lessons available for once-off purchase without a subscription […]

By |December 27th, 2019|General|0 Comments

Ideal Gifts for a Pianist!

Are you looking for a present for someone who plays the piano? We’ve just added a new feature to our site which makes it possible to purchase a range of digital products and subscriptions as gift vouchers. Our range of eBooks, digital editions, online lessons and subscriptions make ideal presents for piano lovers!   How it works Select a gift from our catalogue (a full listing of products and subscriptions available for gift purchase can be viewed here) and click “Buy gift” Enter the details of the payment card that you wish to use to make the purchase and click “Pay” On successful completion of your payment you will be taken to a confirmation page which provides a voucher code and a link which the recipient can use to redeem their gift (further instructions for the recipient are also provided) Featured gifts eBooks & bundles: Practising the Piano eBook series – Click here to purchase a gift voucher for all four parts of Graham Fitch’s highly popular multimedia eBook series for £39.99 Annotated Study Edition Bundle – Click here to purchase a gift voucher for a bundle of Graham Fitch’s annotated study editions featuring works by Schubert, Ravel, Bach, Chopin, Brahms and Debussy for £19.99 From the Ground Up – Ken Johansen’s From the Ground Up series uses outlines and reduced scores to help learn pieces more effectively. Click here to purchase a gift voucher for a bundle of From the Ground Up editions which includes works by Schumann, Bach, Beethoven, Grieg and Chopin for £19.99 Editions: Study Edition – Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp Minor – Click here to purchase a gift voucher for an Annotated Study Edition of Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor, (Op. […]

By |December 10th, 2019|General, News|0 Comments

More Content Giveaways!

As part of our celebrations for the Online Academy’s third birthday, we’re making a selection of popular content from across the site available free until the end of October 2019. This content includes articles, musical examples, video walk-throughs, demonstrations and lectures on topics including practising, technique, learning pieces, sight-reading, improvisation and teaching. We’ve recently added a number of additional resources to the original collection which are listed below. All of this content will only be available free for another week therefore please be sure to have a look to avoid missing out! New free content How and When to Use Slow Practice – Slow practice is a cornerstone of our work from the beginner stages right through to the advanced level. This video shows how to approach slow practice and to enjoy it fully! Quarantining – A video lecture showing how to use this practice tool to practise more effectively and to overcome challenging spots within pieces (this video also serves as an introduction to our Q-Spots series which demonstrates the concept in the context of selected works of varying levels). The Basics of Playing Arpeggios – An overview of the basics of playing arpeggios which aims to make them practising them effective, interesting and fun Mozart Fantasy in D Minor – This video provides a section by section walk through of Mozart’s Fantasy in D Minor K397 (sometimes referred to as Fantasia) Beethoven Sonatina in G (2nd mvt) – A step-by-step approach to learning this piece from our From the Ground Up series which uses outlines and reduced scores that help you to learn pieces more effectively Telemann Rigaudon – Video showing how to use simple five-finger patterns to develop the skills involved in […]

By |October 24th, 2019|News|0 Comments