In this month’s Practice Clinic, Graham Fitch answers questions on maintaining focus and concentration when practising, fingering and fatigue in a Chopin Nocturne and discusses pedalling, articulation and dynamics in works by Bach and Byrd.
Practice clinic questions
Chopin Nocturne in B-Flat Minor, Op. 9 No. 1 – I am having difficulty playing it smoothly from just the middle of bar 59, for several bars where this left hand is repeated. If I use the fingering recommended, which is 4 2 1 2 4 5 my hand really aches after that. [Please note that a short extract of this work is currently muted in the recording due to an automated copyright dispute on Facebook and will be replaced shortly]
JS Bach Prelude and Fugue in B-Flat Major (WTC Book 1) – I am planning to learn this work for my Grade 8 exam. I am already struggling with the repeated Fs in bar 11, etc, I trip over this spot all the time. I would appreciate advice on how to overcome this problem, and any thoughts you might have on articulation and dynamics in general.
William Byrd Pavan: The Earle of Salisbury – I’m wondering if it is OK to use pedal to help manage the legato. How would you recommend pedalling or should I leave it out?
Maintaining focus and concentration when practising – I have a general question about practising. I find my mind wanders all the time when I sit at the piano. It’s a bit like being in some sort of dream. When I “awaken”, which might be in the middle of a phrase, or when I’ve got to the end of something, I find I haven’t been concentrating on the music. Your suggestions on how I can improve this would be most welcome!
Next practice clinic
We will be taking a short break over the summer and will be resuming our monthly practice clinics in September! Please sign-up to our mailing list here for updates on future practice clinic dates.
Watch previous clinics
How they work?
Online Academy subscribers can submit questions for practice clinics up to two weeks before each session. This can be done using the link provided on the Online Academy dashboard under “subscription benefits” (click here to sign-in and visit your dashboard).