Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and can be a great opportunity to embark upon some piano projects! If you are looking forward to some quality practice time, we’ve compiled some ideas to inspire you and help get you on your way. Otherwise, if you’re not going to have a piano at hand, we’ve also included some reading suggestions for the beach or wherever you might be!
Add to your repertoire
It’s always exciting learning new pieces and if you’re looking to build solid foundations from the outset, why not try our free email course on starting a new piece (click here to sign-up) or click here for some suggestions on choosing new pieces. You might also want to join our Learning New Piano Pieces group where we post various materials relating to learning pieces and give you the opportunity to discuss and share your progress.
If you’re looking for ideas for repertoire or for guidance then do visit our growing library of resources for the piano repertoire. These resources aim to help you learn and master over 250 pieces across all levels and include videos focussing on specific aspects of a piece through to detailed video walk-throughs of complete works and annotated study editions.
As a further suggestion to broaden your repertoire, why not try a few pieces that are earlier than your current level as quick studies? Examination syllabuses can be useful for obtaining an indication of difficulty and we’ve also added many new video lessons to our resources for the ABRSM 2023 & 2024 syllabus.
Hone your technique
Although it’s a means to an end, a refined technique is important for being able to realise our artistic aspirations at the piano. Why not take a refresher course on technical fundamentals or focus on your left hand if you feel that it sometimes holds you back?
For those who find exercises and studies useful, remember it’s not what you do but how you do them. Our technique library has an extensive collection of guides to using popular exercises and studies in the most effective and engaging ways, including a series by Fred Karpoff on Czerny’s Op. 821 and Graham Fitch’s “Jailbreaking Hanon”.
Brush up on your theory knowledge
Understanding music theory gives us a wonderful insight into how music works and can also enable you to learn repertoire faster, interpret it more authentically and explore new worlds of improvisation and composition. Our online course There’s more to Playing the Piano provides a concise, interactive explanation of the basics of music theory (click here to view the introduction).
Develop your general musical skills
With the emphasis so often being on developing technical skills and learning new repertoire, many pianists neglect the development of general musical skills. Why not use the summer break as an opportunity to train your ear or improve your sight-reading?
Learn to improvise
As a follow-on from the above suggestion, how about unleashing your creativity and giving improvisation a try? The first two modules of our new course on improvisation by Dave Hall show you how to train your ear and create basic melodies and accompaniments. Lucinda Mackworth-Young’s video series, Anyone Can Improvise also offers a step-by-step guide to playing by ear and improvising.
Catch-up on workshops & reading
We will be taking a break from our online events programme over the summer and resuming in September (be sure to sign-up to our mailing list to be notified of upcoming events!). In the meantime, if you haven’t yet watched the recordings for workshops that you signed-up for, head over to the events tab in your library to view them. You can also purchase access to recordings and resources for any workshop that you missed from our store or find links to watch the recordings of our monthly practice clinics here.
For some piano-themed holiday reading, how about reading Penelope Roskell’s highly acclaimed book, The Complete Pianist (now available in eBook format with video links!) or Neil Rutman’s fascinating and inspiring Stories, Images and Magic from the Piano Literature?
Lastly, we’ll also be celebrating the summer with specials on a selection of our digital resources. Click here to sign-up to our mailing list to avoid missing out!