As part of our celebrations for the Online Academy’s fifth birthday this month, we are publishing a set of showcases featuring resources from the Online Academy’s extensive library on our blog. Each showcase explores a selection of highlights for a specific topic or collection and includes new and free content. The first showcase starts with our practising section which aims to help you practise and learn pieces more effectively.


Getting the Best Results from Your Practising

Given the amount of time an aspiring pianist needs to spend practising, it is very important to know exactly what to do in order to make the best use of this time. However, while most pianists are taught how to play, very few are taught how to practise effectively!

Originally based on Graham Fitch’s highly popular Practising the Piano eBook series and blog, the Online Academy’s practising section aims to help you practise effectively and provide specific tools to help you:

  • Get the best results from your practice time
  • Learn pieces faster and build strong foundations for a confident performance
  • Tackle difficult spots and solve problems
practising showcase and highlights

Highlights

The Practice Tools Lecture Series

In this series of video lectures, Graham Fitch introduces various practice tools for more focussed, productive practising. Click here to view on the Online Academy.

FREE VIDEO: This video from our Practice Tools Lecture Series introduces a powerful concept called “quarantining” which provides a systematic approach to tackling trouble spots within pieces. Click here to view.

How to Start Learning a New Piece

Many people attempt to learn a new piece by repeatedly reading it through at the piano. Unless the piece is well below your current level this approach can lead to problems that can be hard to fix later on, potentially jeopardising your performance.

In this video series Graham Fitch shows how to lay strong foundations from the outset when learning a new piece. The videos feature numerous examples from the ABRSM syllabus covering such topics as background research, analysis, fingering, interpretation and practice methods. Click here to view.

FREE VIDEO: Playing the notes correctly and accurately is only a part of the story. This video from our How to Learn a New Piece series gives some ideas on how we might develop a narrative, imagery, or a mood as we learn a piece so that, when we perform, we communicate a meaningful message to our listener. Click here to view.

FREE EMAIL COURSE: Based on the above video series, our email course is designed to guide you through the early stages of the process and will show you principles and practice tools for efficient and effective learning. Click here for more information and to sign-up to the course!

Practising for Long-Term Results

It can be discouraging to work out a keyboard passage one day only to find that one has to re-learn it the next. How can we “digest” our learning more successfully? In this video, William Westney demonstrates a remarkably easy technique for mind and body to truly “digest” (and remember) what we’ve practised.

NEW FREE VIDEO: In this excerpt from his presentation at NCKP 2021, William Westney shares a personal story about how a frustration with Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 53 ultimately lead to a breakthrough discovery.

Other Resources

  • Practising the Piano Part 1 – This eBook serves as a foundation course on practice strategies and approaches, showing . how to organise your practice sessions for maximum effect and providing specific practise tools which will improve your confidence and the overall quality of your playing. The full set of Practising the Piano eBooks is included with an annual subscription to the Online Academy or can be purchased from our store.
  • Practice Clinics – In our monthly Practice Clinics, Graham Fitch responds to practising-related questions submitted in advance by Online Academy subscribers. These are broadcast live via Facebook and posted to our YouTube channel where they can be viewed free of charge. Click here to view our archive of practice clinics on Youtube.

More Highlights, Updates & Free Content!

We will be publishing more highlights, including new and free content, throughout the month. Click here to sign-up to our mailing list for updates and notifications!

Practising the Piano Online Academy

The Practising the Piano Online Academy is the ultimate online resource for mastering the piano. It features a constantly growing library of over 300 articles, thousands of musical excerpts and hundreds of videos on topics including practising, piano technique and performing from leading experts. Please click here to find out more about the Online Academy or on one of the options below to subscribe:

  • Monthly subscription – Subscribe for £9.99 a month to get full, unlimited access to all Online Academy articles and updates (click here to sign-up for this option)
  • Annual subscription – Save over 15% on the monthly subscription with an annual subscription for £99.99 per year and get free eBooks and editions worth over £70! (click here to sign-up for this option)