News

Summer School for Pianists 2017

It is my privilege to have been invited back for the 6th consecutive year to the Summer School for Pianists, taking place at Wolverhampton University in Walsall this coming August, 12th-18th. If you are a pianist looking for a friendly, safe and supportive course then Walsall is for you. The six days are filled with classes, tutor piano recitals, student concerts and lecture-presentations by the tutors, with plenty of opportunities for socialising. If you don’t fancy participating, you may come as an observer – and there will be plenty to observe! Over the last 40 years, the Summer School for Pianists has established a central and unique position in the field. Combining a friendly atmosphere with musical expertise, the Summer School for Pianists has become an essential annual event for pianists of all levels. The superb facilities at the all-Steinway Performance Hub offer top-class concert instruments and plenty of practice rooms. The dates for this year are 12th – 18th August 2017, and our tutors are James Lisney, Christine Stevenson, Karl Lutchmayer, Ann Martin-Davis and myself. Some of the classes are already full, but there is a waiting list (people have been known to drop out for a variety of reasons) so it is worth applying. With freedom of movement between classes (you may drop in on any tutor’s classes whenever you wish), there’s always the opportunity hear what is going on in another tutor’s class, or to sign up for a private lesson with a tutor of your choice. For full details and how to apply, follow this link to the website

New Sight-reading Resources Added To The Online Academy

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve partnered with Anacrusis to bring their innovative sight-reading curriculum, Read Ahead, to the Online Academy. This partnership will see the addition of a comprehensive set of sample materials for sight reading added to the Online Academy. The materials can be used as stand-alone sight reading exercises or with optional apps that add further interactive functionality. What is ReadAhead? Read Ahead is an exciting new program that helps piano students to improve their sight-reading ability. This unique curriculum is based on an extensive collection of carefully ordered compositions with related exercises and quizzes that help students develop the mental and tactile skills necessary for fluent sight-reading. How does it work? The syllabus is divided up into levels based on difficulty. Each level is comprised of a number of articles which in turn each constitute one day or a practice session’s worth of material. Articles contain several exercises and sample sight reading pieces. The pieces can be used “as-is” on screen or downloaded for printing purposes. The experience can also be enriched by using accompanying apps for iPhone or iPad. Interactive exercises on each day are identified in both the article and the app with the following icons: Touch exercises introduce patterns or technical issues that will be encountered in that day’s practice. This icon indicates a Memory exercise. Touch it on the corresponding day page in the app to practice a passage while training your short-term memory and decoding skills. Read Ahead exercises are complete pieces of music for sight-reading. Instructions, quizzes and tips on how to read them more effectively can be found in the app along with a built-in metronome preset to the correct tempo for each piece. In the iPad app, the music disappears in […]

By |March 30th, 2017|News|0 Comments

eBook Series – Revised Editions Launched!

The Practising the Piano eBook series was originally launched in 2012 and has been read by thousands of pianists all over the world. We’ve been working on publishing revised editions in conjunction with the development of the Online Academy and are pleased to announce that the complete series is now available via our catalogue. The revised editions feature a number of enhancements and updates, including: New supplementary content Numerous content updates and refinements A printable PDF download option and additional download options for PC and Mac Various formatting improvements Enhanced video streaming via Vimeo Improved download speeds from upgraded hosting infrastructure Full series catalogue Part 1 – The Practice Tools Practising the Piano Part 1 is a foundation course on practice methodology or what could be called techniques of learning. It shows you how to organise your practice sessions for maximum effect, enabling you to learn new pieces quickly and efficiently. It also provides a number of specific practise tools which will improve your confidence and the overall quality of your playing. Click here for more on Part 1 >> Part 2 – Mastering Piano Technique Practising the Piano Part 2 provides a comprehensive treatise on the subject of piano technique from an overview of different schools and traditions through to an extensive listing of technical exercises. Video demonstrations and precise written instructions with exercises accompanied by manuscript show exactly how to overcome technical difficulties with skill and panache while avoiding common pitfalls that lead to tension and injury. Click here for more on Part 2 >> Part 3 – Scales and Arpeggios Practising the Piano Part 3 is a comprehensive guide to scales and arpeggios. It features numerous video demonstrations, exercises, practice suggestions, resources and interactive tools to make […]

By |October 20th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Writing the Piano

WRITING THE PIANO Tuesday 18th October, 6.30-9.30pm 1901 Arts Club, London SE1 The piano, in all its complexity and beauty, is a source of constant fascination, for those who play it and those who enjoy hearing the instrument being played. This special event will explore how that fascination and engrossing engagement with the instrument translates into words. Three leading UK bloggers on the piano and piano teaching will explore different approaches to writing about the piano, pianism, being a pianist, piano playing, the instrument and its literature. The event will be of interest to pianists of all levels, professional or amateur, piano teachers, piano enthusiasts and music lovers in general, and takes place in the intimate and convivial surroundings of the 1901 Arts Club. Pianist Elspeth Wyllie will give a short recital of music by Gabriel Faure and Nicholas Sackman to open the event Guest speakers: ​Graham Fitch – acclaimed pianist, teacher, writer and author of the Practising the Piano blog and ebook series, founder of the Online Academy Andrew Eales – pianist, teacher and creator of the Piano Dao blog Frances Wilson – pianist, teacher, concert reviewer and author of The Cross-Eyed Pianist blog The bar and lounge at the 1901 Arts Club will be open before and during the event for the exclusive use of guests. Early booking is recommended due to the small size of the venue Book tickets https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/writing-the-piano

By |October 3rd, 2016|News|0 Comments

Summer School for Pianists 2016

It is my privilege to have been invited back for the 5th consecutive year to the Summer School for Pianists, taking place at Wolverhampton University in Walsall this coming August. If you are a pianist looking for a friendly, safe and supportive course then Walsall is for you. The six days are filled with classes, tutor piano recitals, student concerts and lecture-presentations by the tutors, with plenty of opportunities for socialising. If you don’t fancy participating, you may come as an observer – and there will be plenty to observe! Over the last 40 years, the Summer School for Pianists has established a central and unique position in the field. Combining a friendly atmosphere with musical expertise, the Summer School for Pianists has become an essential annual event for pianists of all levels. The superb facilities at the all-Steinway Performance Hub offer top-class concert instruments and plenty of practice rooms. The dates for this year are 13 – 19th August 2016, and our tutors are James Lisney, Christine Stevenson, Karl Lutchmayer, Ann Martin-Davis and myself. Some of the classes are already full, but there is a waiting list (people have been known to drop out for a variety of reasons) so it is worth applying. With freedom of movement between classes (you may drop in on any tutor’s classes whenever you wish), there’s always the opportunity hear what is going on in another tutor’s class, or to sign up for a private lesson with a tutor of your choice. For full details and how to apply, follow this link to the website

By |January 11th, 2016|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! Further links & resources Fundamentals of Scales & Arpeggios – The next module in in the Online Academy’s technique library which follows on from the introduction and basics. Click here to view. Elementary Technique (Introduction and Basics) – The first module in the Online Academy’s technique library exploring the basics of piano technique, covering seating position, posture, whole-arm and legato touches. Click here to view. Scales and Arpeggios – Part 3 of the Practising the Piano eBook series features numerous video demonstrations, exercises, practice suggestions, resources and interactive tools […]

By |February 25th, 2014|News|9 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

Most Popular Posts of 2013

2013 was a big year for Practising the Piano with the launch of my enhanced, interactive eBook series.  The website readership has also grown significantly with almost 40,000 unique visitors and almost 300,000 page views over the course of the year.  In order to make sure I continue to publish relevant and engaging articles I’ve been going through an exercise analysing my usage statistics in order to glean some information as to what content has been the most popular with my readership.  The following is a listing of the top ten postings of 2013:   “But it Takes Me Ages to Learn a New Piece!” “Sorry, I haven’t done as much practise as I would like this week…” A Beautiful Process for Scales But I Can Play It Perfectly Well At Home! The Weakest Link A Tool for Memory Work: Tracking Five Fingers Marking the Score The History of Piano Technique: Studies and Exercises Some Thoughts on Mental Tension Interestingly, while many of the posts are from earlier on in the year (and therefore have had more of an opportunity to attract visitors), the article on Hanon (number 9) was the fastest post to rise into the rankings which suggests that Hanon is still the subject of much debate over one hundred years on! Please feel free to get in touch if there are any topics you would like to see me cover in future posts.  I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support to date and to wish you all the best for 2014!