eBooks

Mid-year Wrap-up and What Lies Ahead…

We’re now just over half way through 2018 and as always, it’s been a very eventful year for both the Practising the Piano blog and Online Academy. With the summer holidays soon upon us, we will be winding down briefly before resuming an extensive schedule packed with publishing of new resources and updates for the remainder of the year. Therefore, we’d like to take this opportunity to review some of the highlights from the year so far and to share some insights as to what’s in store. Online Academy Highlights It’s been almost two years since the launch of the Online Academy in September 2016 and the site has grown to over 300 articles, 1000 music excerpts, 200 videos and 100 downloads (more information on featured content and resources is available here). Some of the highlights of the year so far include: A new series of resources focussing on technique kicked-off with a comprehensive guide to playing double notes at the advanced level. This guide is comprised of several chapters featuring over 100 musical excerpts, 40 video demonstrations and downloadable worksheets. Click here to view the introduction and index. Launch of an extensive new collection of walkthroughs called From the Ground Up devoted to learning individual pieces using outlines and reduced scores that help you to practise more effectively, memorize more consciously, and interpret music more creatively. Each From the Ground Up edition starts with a reduced score or foundation to which detail is then added in layers with successive scores. Click here to find out more about this series or here to view a listing of available works. Two new Annotated Study Editions and online walkthroughs featuring Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair and Brahms’s Intermezzo in A Minor (Op. […]

By |July 17th, 2018|eBooks, News|0 Comments

6 Helpful Tips for Using Our Products & Services

In order to continually improve our products and services, we regularly review correspondence and support queries from our readership. Therefore we thought it might be helpful to compile a listing of tips provided in response to some of the most common questions just in case they are useful to you. We’re also making a few updates to our various systems in order to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), that comes into effect May 25, 2018. As part of these updates, we’re  consolidating our various mailing lists and are making a number of improvements which will make it much easier for you to manage and customise the content you receive from us. Therefore we’ve also included some further information on this process (#1) and how you can use these new features to manage your email preferences. #1 Manage your email subscriptions and preferences If you would like to sign-up for any of our mailing lists then please click here. If you are already subscribed then we will need you to confirm whether you would still like to receive content from us. You can do this by visiting this form and entering your email address and clicking “Subscribe”. You will then be able to request an email with a link to a form for updating your preferences. You can also update your preferences via your Online Academy account if you have one (further details are provided below) or using the “Update Subscription Preferences” link in the footer of any of the emails that we send you. If you have an Online Academy account then you can also click here (you will need to sign-in first) or visit “My Account” and then “Click here to edit email preferences” to subscribe, […]

Black Friday Subscription & eBook Specials!

Tomorrow is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year and we’re offering a number of specials on both Online Academy subscriptions and all of our eBooks. Therefore, if you enjoy the Practising the Piano blog and are interested in the Practising the Piano Online Academy or eBooks, then you may wish to take advantage of the following offers: Online Academy Subscriptions – Save £20 off Annual & Premium Subscriptions It’s been just over a year since the launch of the Online Academy in September 2016 and the site has grown to over 200 articles and over 700 music excerpts, 150 videos and 100 downloads (a full index of series and articles can be viewed here). We have many exciting updates in the pipeline for the year ahead which include extending existing resources, delving into specific topics in further detail and covering new topics. There will also be several updates to the website itself, largely focussing on making it easier to find and navigate content. More information on planned content and website updates is available here in a recent blog post. Take advantage of our Black Friday specials and upgrade to an annual or premium subscription for full access to all Online Academy articles and updates: Annual subscription offer – Get an annual subscription for just £59.99 (a saving of £20 on the full price of £79.99) –  Sign-up or upgrade Premium subscription offer – Get a premium subscription which includes the complete multimedia eBook series and Annotated Study Edition bundle for just £59.99 plus a once off payment of £20 (a saving of £20 on the full price of £99.99) – Sign-up or upgrade Click here to find out more about the Online Academy and for further information on subscription options and pricing. eBooks and Annotated Study Editions We’re also offering 40% off all eBooks, annotated study editions and […]

By |November 17th, 2017|eBooks, General, News|0 Comments

Popular Posts and Articles

Graham is currently away and will be resuming his regular blog posts in September. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some holiday reading, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular blog posts and Online Academy series from the first half of this year. We’re also offering 40% off all eBooks in our store until 31/07 (please see further details below). Most popular blog posts But it Takes Me Ages to Learn a New Piece! Enjoying Ultra-Slow Practice On Practice versus Playing Through Developing Sight Reading Skills On Silence and Reflection in Practice Most popular Online Academy series The Basics of Playing Scales and ABRSM Grade 1 Scales & Broken Chords Burgmuller: 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes, Op. 100 CPE Bach – Solfeggietto in C Minor Technical Exercises and Regimes Read Ahead – Level 3 ***   ***   *** Practising the Piano eBook Series (Revised Editions!) There are surprisingly few books that deal with the art of practising. This multimedia eBook series contains hundreds of videos, audio clips, music examples and downloadable worksheets to show you exactly what need to do in order to get the most out of your practice time. Click here for more information. Practising the Piano Online Academy Building on my blog posts and eBook series, the Online Academy takes my work to the next level with a comprehensive library of lessons, masterclasses and resources combined with insights from other leading experts. Aimed at piano teachers and pianists, it will transform the way you approach playing or teaching the piano! A number of articles are available without registration and you can also register for free to view an additional five articles (no credit card required). Click here to find out more about the Online […]

Memory Tips: Analyse

We can trace the tradition of playing solo piano music from memory back to Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann. Before that, it was inappropriate to play without a score in front of you. Chopin even got angry at the prospect of a student playing one of his pieces from memory, since, according to the traditions of the day, it would have looked like it was not from Chopin’s pen at all but being improvised or embellished by the performer. Indeed Liszt, when he played his own works, used the score to show to his audience these were not improvisations but composed pieces. Thanks to the many recordings freely available, today’s audiences are generally very familiar with the mainstream works. To add insult to injury, these recordings are often made under artificial conditions with retake after retake, each clip spliced together to make one “perfect” whole. This adds to the pressure in a live performance, since anything untoward is immediately noticeable. Pianist and writer Susan Tomes writes eloquently and persuasively about her own feelings and experiences on the subject of memorisation, and ends her article with this pertinent question: Must musicians waste so much of their time and emotional energy on memorisation? If we’ve prepared the music thoroughly, does playing it from memory really add an extra dimension that is worth all the pain? Pianist Gilbert Kalish has long played his entire solo repertoire using scores, even standard works. As a faculty member of the music department at Stony Brook University, Mr. Kalish helped change the degree requirements. For the past few decades, piano students have been able to play any work in their official recitals from memory or not. They needed to decide which resulted in the best, […]

Practising the Piano Part 3 – Scales and Arpeggios

It seems to me that a thorough knowledge of scales and arpeggios is an absolute necessity for all serious students of the piano. Western music is built on the major/minor tonal system, and to attempt to study the piano without scales (or basic theory) would be as nonsensical as learning language without the alphabet or without bothering with grammar. You would get so far, then reach a dead end. Scale work is an ongoing process from the relative beginning stages of piano study through to conservatory level and beyond. The professional pianist will have mastered all major and minor scales in single as well as double notes, plus an array of different types of arpeggios, in all inversions. The result will be an intimate kinesthetic knowledge of the keyboard (how a particular scale feels under the hand) and of all tonalities and key relationships, acquired and honed over the course of time. Whether we continue to practise scales in later life depends on the individual – the great virtuoso Shura Cherkassky apparently played scales and arpeggios in every key every day! Many of the world’s greatest pianists and teachers wouldn’t think of beginning their daily practice without a thorough regimen of scales and arpeggios (possibly along with other exercises and studies), and they expect their students to do the same. Practising the Piano Part 3 It can be difficult to summon up the necessary enthusiasm to practise scales unless they are presented in ways that are fun, rewarding and challenging. I think there needs to be additional resources available to encourage the student to practise scales in a disciplined and orderly fashion, and a system of logging the work from day to day. Self-testing is also an important […]

By |March 21st, 2014|eBooks|0 Comments

My New eBook on Scales and Arpeggios

I’m delighted to announce the launch of Part 3 of my eBook series, Practising the Piano. Part 3 is a single, bumper volume on scales and arpeggios starting with a guide to the basic skills required followed by chapters for the elementary, intermediate and advanced levels. As with my other eBooks, Part 3 features numerous video demonstrations, exercises written out in manuscript and practice suggestions.  It also features a number of resources and interactive tools to keep you motivated and to make your practising more effective: Scales index This section provides an index of all major, harmonic and melodic minor scales with key signatures, fingerings and variations for practice.  There is also a keyboard diagram of each scale so the beginner will be able to see the note patterns at a glance. Scales and arpeggios charts Download printable practice charts for ABRSM Grades 1 through to 8 featuring a grid layout with the keys listed vertically and the types of scales horizontally.  Teachers can use these to assign scales for practising in between lessons, and for students to keep a record of what they have practised. Scales and arpeggios generator Don’t you wish there was a way to test yourself on the scales and arpeggios for your grade?  Part 3 includes a scale generator that randomly selects these from the ABRSM syllabus for you.  It will keep you on your toes by requesting additional ways of doing them (different touches and speeds, and so on) and gives you an optional self-scoring mechanism for charting your progress. There are so many different and creative ways to practise your scales (have you ever tried the “Russian” way?).  Practising the Piano Part 3 shows you exactly how to practise […]

By |March 18th, 2014|eBooks|5 Comments

Practising the Piano Part 1 eBooks available on Amazon

I am pleased to announce that all three volumes of Part 1 of my Practising the Piano eBook series are now available on the Amazon Kindle store via the following links: Volume I Volume II Volume III   Please note that while the full content of each publication is included within the Kindle versions, due to the limitations of the platform, the multimedia content is not accessible offline.  Furthermore, while the text content and images are accessible on eInk devices (e.g. Kindle eReaders), a device with media playback capabilities (e.g. Smartphone, Tablet or Computer) is required for video and audio. As with the iBooks versions of the publications, existing customers who have purchased directly from my publisher will also get access to the Amazon Kindle editions of the publications they own via their library.  However, those of you who have existing Amazon accounts now have the option to purchase via Amazon should you prefer to do so.

By |February 18th, 2014|eBooks, News|8 Comments

Complete Practising the Piano series now available for iBooks

As many of you who have purchased my eBooks are probably aware, my publisher has been busy producing versions of my publications for Apple iBooks.  This is intended to offer existing customers another option for accessing the publications on Apple devices in addition to making the publications available for purchase via the Apple iBookstore. I’m now pleased to announce that all six volumes of Part I and Part II are now available in this format.  Please click here for more information on how to access them or click here to log-in to your library (note that you may need to refresh your library page in order to see the new download option). The first volume of Part 1 is now also available for purchase via the iBookstore here.  Subsequent volumes will be made available in the iBookstore in due course subject to Apple’s review process.  Versions for Amazon Kindle are also in the pipeline although these will not support some of the interactive publication features or offline video due to the limitations of the Amazon platform.   Please note that purchasing direct from my publisher will give you access to all of the available formats for each publication you purchase (in addition to the iBooks versions mentioned above).  However, those of you who have existing Apple iTunes accounts may prefer purchasing via this route (or via Amazon in future).  

By |February 5th, 2014|eBooks, News|0 Comments

My new eBook on Technique

When I started work on Part 2 of Practising the Piano, I had only a rough outline of the content I wanted to cover. I soon found that the project was expanding in all sorts of directions. It has been an exciting journey putting it all into writing, and one that I am happy to share with you. While writing articles on technique for Pianist Magazine over the years, I learnt how to put my ideas into words succinctly, but there is still the strong possibility that someone might misconstrue the written word. Fortunately, the technology behind the eBooks enables me to include video demonstration of anything I have just described in words. Because the reader can watch the video over and over, there is a greater chance they will understand what I mean. This is why I included over 100 videos in Part 2, the camera perched as close as possible to the keyboard – warts and all! A colleague once said to me that he did not teach technique; each student must work it out for themselves in their practice room. I couldn’t agree with him less. There are so many detours and dead ends a piano student can take when left to their own devices in this way. They can get seriously side-tracked, the worst-case scenario being debilitating injury. Why have them reinvent the wheel? Why not pass down methodology that is proven to work? Piano playing is a highly sophisticated activity and, while some people do seem born to it, for most of us success is achieved through sheer hard work – blood, sweat and tears. It is true that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to […]

By |November 15th, 2013|eBooks, News|1 Comment

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