News

The Piano Teachers’ Course Online

We’re delighted to announce the launch of a brand-new initiative on the Online Academy, PTC Online. Developed in partnership with the The Piano Teachers’ Course UK, this series features in-depth videos and downloadable content from expert tutors Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Graham Fitch, Sally Cathcart and Ilga Pitkevica. Aimed at piano teachers, the tutorials are based on content from the acclaimed Piano Teachers’ Course UK and provide handy teaching tips to view, download and use at your convenience.  There are six modules available, covering teaching beginners, practising, piano technique, improvisation and playing by ear, and psychology for teaching and learning. If you have wondered how to instill a genuine and long-lasting love of music in your beginner pupils, or you’ve been baffled about how to teach good technique even at advanced level, help is now available all in one place! The videos with accompanying downloads allow you to progress through each module at your own pace, return to the materials as often as you like, and start using the information straight away in your teaching. Even if you are not a piano teacher, a number of the modules will still be invaluable for the purposes of improving your playing and enjoyment of the piano, whether you are a beginner or accomplished pianist. To give a taste of what you can expect from the videos, the introductory sections of Anyone Can Improvise, and the first two videos of Graham Fitch’s Practice Tools and Piano Technique lecture series are freely available and can be viewed using the links below. These modules are all included as part of an Online Academy subscription or can be purchased individually. A complete bundle of all six is also available and can be purchased […]

By |June 20th, 2019|News|0 Comments

Introduction to the Practice Tools

I’m pleased to announce my new course, Introducing the Practice Tools, which is taking place on Saturday, 13th of July 2019 at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel in central London.  Aimed at teachers and pianists at an intermediate level or above, this one-day course is based on my eBook Series and blog. It will introduce highly effective strategies which will assist you and your students in getting the most out of time spent practising the piano. The course will be delivered in an innovative, interactive format with introductory presentations followed by breakout sessions. Each participant will have their own private digital piano with headphones to test out a particular practice skill. There will be plenty of opportunity for feedback with question and answer sessions forming the backbone of the day. The following topics will be covered: Introduction: An overview of the practice tools Using the feedback loop: How to plan and focus your practice session for maximum benefit in every area. Slow practice: How to use ultra-slow speeds for learning notes, correcting errors and finessing sound, and when not to use it! Gaining speed: We explore two methods of taking a piece from the slow stages to performance speed, developing fluency and accuracy as well as ease and grace. Repetition in practice: We form habits by repetition, but only perfect practice makes perfect. In this session we learn how to manage repetition in our practice mindfully and creatively to achieve tangible, lasting results. Preparatory materials for breakout sessions will be provided in advance and all participants will receive handouts and complimentary online access to my video lecture series on the Practice Tools (valued at £20). Please note that participants will not be required to play in front of […]

Black Friday – Subscription & eBook Offers!

It’s that time of the year again and we’re pleased to be offering a number of specials to our readers. These include 30% off all eBooks in our store and 50% off three-month subscriptions to the Online Academy. These offers are valid until the 5th of December and please see further details below. Practising the Piano Online Academy Get three month’s access for only £10! We’re offering £10 off once-off, three-month subscriptions to the Online Academy (standard price is £20). These subscriptions include access to all online content and updates, including: Over 40 walkthroughs and videos on learning popular works in the repertoire, including our acclaimed series featuring several works form Bürgmuller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes (Op. 100) Guides to ABRSM and Trinity College Examinations featuring over 20 articles, videos and worksheets and with many more still to come! From the Ground Up editions providing reduced scores and walkthroughs for popular works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg and Schumann Access to over 100 sample sight reading works for early and late beginner levels from the ReadAhead curriculum Complete series of 17 videos and articles from Lucinda Mackworth Young and original works from Forrest Kinney’s Create First! introducing approaches to teaching and learning improvisation How it works This subscription doesn’t renew automatically but at the end of the three month period you will have the option to upgrade to an annual or premium subscription. Should you choose to upgrade, we’ll also give you the full price of your three-month subscription (£20) off the price of your upgrade! Please click here to sign-up for this offer with the discount code automatically applied or click here to upgrade if you already have a free account. Further information […]

By |November 22nd, 2018|News|0 Comments

Launching the 2018-2020 Trinity Syllabus

I am very happy to announce a brand new series featuring the current Trinity College London Piano Syllabus on the Online Academy. Having been commissioned by Trinity to write the teaching notes for the advanced grades, I was delighted to put together this series of articles and video demonstrations for a selection of pieces from the 2018 – 2020 piano examination syllabus, with several examples from each grade from Initial to 8. Within this series you will find plenty of tips for practice, overcoming technical problems as well as suggestions for piano teachers and guidance on matters relating to style and interpretation. The following are example excerpts from two video demonstrations from the series: Initial Grade – Canon by Henk Badings One of the pieces in the Initial grade is Canon by Henk Badings. There are so many different ways to get value out of this little piece, from call and response games and some singing in lessons to phrase shaping and developing equality between the hands. Grade 4 – Allegretto by Mozart Jumping to Grade 4, and Mozart’s Allegretto, we find a delightful minuet-style piece with a trio section in the minor, and many interesting compositional features that can be explained and demonstrated to the learner. It’s also interesting to know that Mozart wrote this piece on a trip to London when he was only 8 years old. In the video I demonstrate quarantine practice, and explore different fingering possibilities, as well as options for phrasing and expression. The series currently includes two articles which serve as guides to the foundation and intermediate grades, along with video demonstrations for five selected works from the initial grade through to grade 4. Please click on one of the […]

The New Look Online Academy!

We’re delighted to announce that after some extensive development work during the course of the summer, the new look Online Academy website is finally live. The Online Academy’s content has grown substantially since its launch and therefore it was necessary to make some improvements to the way the site is navigated. In addition to these improvements, we’ve also taken  suggestions provided by our users into account and have made a few further refinements and cosmetic enhancements. The following is a summary of the new features and functionality updates: A new sidebar menu with quick access to main topics, search and other quick links More intuitive navigation of content by grouping articles within series or collections and new series landing pages which provide an index of articles within a series Redesigned user dashboard with new methods of accessing content including a “recently viewed” article listing Browse tabs and carousels (or sliders) which make it easier to browse, find and access multiple content items on a single page A simplified search interface which allows for filtering by criteria (including tags) and sorting by most recent or most popular content Grouping of search results by series for greater simplicity with text searches providing more granular results at article level thus giving the best of both worlds Improved handling of bookmarks with articles grouped and managed by series (Click in image to enlarge) Following on from these updates, we will be rolling out a number of further developments over the remainder of the year. These will include better personalisation of content, improved subscription management and new purchase and licensing options for teachers, schools and other institutions. Click here to sign-in to view the new site or click here for more […]

By |September 13th, 2018|News|0 Comments

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

Brahms Intermezzo op 76 no 7 Study Edition

Brahms’s sets of miniatures are among the best-loved shorter works in the whole piano literature, regularly programmed by concert artists and yet approachable by piano students and amateurs. The Intermezzo in A minor, op. 76 no. 7, is currently on the ABRSM Grade VIII syllabus, and will pose several challenges for those who wish to master it. I am pleased to announce that I have published some new resources featuring this work this week. These resources include an Annotated Study Edition and video walkthrough which have a special emphasis on artistic pedalling. In the video walkthrough, I look mainly at how to overcome the obstacles posed by the rests in the RH without drying out the pedal. If we pedal through the harmony as we would want to, we create the harmonic cloud the LH produces but we cover over the RH rest. If we interpret the rest as a literal and audible silence, we risk disturbing the harmonic underpinnings. There is a neat solution, involving phrase shaping, slow release pedals and overlapping touch in the LH. I admit its subtle and will take a bit of practice, but then playing a Brahms Intermezzo beautifully is no easy task! Apart from showing you how this pedalling solution works, in the Study Edition I also explore some fingering possibilities in the introduction – do we use legato fingerings and substitutions in the RH chord stream (bars 4-8) or do with go with all 5s in the top line? It depends on your hand size, but the principle is to avoid twisting at the wrist. I’ll also point out a neat exchange between the hands later in the piece that you won’t want to miss! Please click on […]

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

Announcing a Survey – Performance Anxiety among Pianists

There was a time when performing artists would not readily admit to suffering from stage fright, or performance anxiety.  They kept this to themselves so they could maintain the illusion of supreme confidence and command on stage. Nowadays, the subject is much more out in the open and players are less afraid (and less ashamed) to talk about how nerves affect them. Actually, it seems there is an industry that has arisen around performance psychology, with excellent books, blogs, courses and workshops. I am presently writing the 4th and final part of my ebook series, which will be dedicated to performance. I am planning to devote a whole volume to the subject of performance anxiety – its roots and causes, its effects and (most importantly) the various ways of dealing with it.  I am confident I will be able to offer a variety of different ways of handling anxiety, from the holistic to the pharmaceutical. As part of my research, I have devised a short (very short, actually) survey – Performance Anxiety among Pianists, the results of which I will collate and include in the publication. I would be most grateful if you would take two or three minutes to complete the survey. It really is very brief, and you will be completely anonymous. Whether you are a professional pianist, a piano student or play for your own pleasure your opinion and comments count. Let me thank you very much indeed in advance for your time and input! Take the survey            

Scale Generator

I am busy writing Part 3 of my eBook series, Practising the Piano, a volume on scales and arpeggios. After outlining the basic skills needed, I look at both scales and arpeggios from the point of view of elementary, intermediate and advanced level players. There are lots of demonstrations on the main technical points as well as exercises, suggestions for practice, and ideas to keep scale playing interesting and vibrant. This should be available for purchase very soon. One of the interactive tools we are developing for the publication is a “scales generator” which randomly selects scales to play from a prescribed list.  I am very excited to be able to introduce a demo version of it to you now in advance! At present it is still in the beta testing stage, so we would value your comments and suggestions. Any feedback you have is helpful so we can improve this. At present only ABRSM Grades 1 and 5 are available, but we will be including all the grades from 1 to 8. To test out the generator, please click here. Please leave your comments, suggestions and feedback at the bottom of this page. Thank you in advance!    

By |February 25th, 2014|News|9 Comments

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