Category Archives: Practice Tips

No tortoisian ambling, please

“Slow practice can be a complete waste of time if the mind is not working quickly. Simply to trawl through passages like a contented tortoise is a waste of the felt on your piano’s hammers. Good slow practice is more … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Pianos, Practice Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t leave it to chance

I’m big on intervallic note-reading. Once the students get started, they’re away. But they need to get started. And sometimes restart mid-stream. At some point they need the ability to identify cold any given note on the grand staff. And … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Studio News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Ten Technical Tools

… for first-year piano students. One more list to make me feel completely inadequate.* This is from a workshop by the indomitable Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield that I attended almost 20 years ago. I get depressed when I realize how many of … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ear Training Tips

Exam results are trickling in – a time  for analysis and reflection. Ear training, I confess, is a bit hit-and-miss in my studio. Some students get it right away, and I tend to leave them to their own devices. More … Continue reading

Posted in Examinations, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Would you rather be doing dishes?

If I didn’t actually come up with the idea myself, I certainly perfected it as a teenager. No comment on how one of my siblings feels about this – to this day … See Teach Piano Today for more amusing … Continue reading

Posted in Music Humour, Practice Tips | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tetris, an ugly bump, and sight-reading

Thanks to good teaching I’ve never had a problem with tendinitis or any other pain in all the years I’ve been playing the piano. Thanks to Tetris, I have an ugly bump at the base of my thumb, which caused … Continue reading

Posted in General, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Sight Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

… and don’t blame the page-turner

“What is it to be musical? You will not be so, if your eyes are fixed on the notes with anxiety and you play your piece laboriously through; you will not be so if, supposing that someone should turn over … Continue reading

Posted in Music History, Performance, Practice Tips, Quotes, Technic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Where the body goes, the spirit follows”

“If you want to (play), plant your backside in front of the (piano). Don’t get up from the (bench), no matter how many brilliantly-plausible reasons your Resistance-churning brain presents to you. Sooner or later your fingers will settle onto the keys. … Continue reading

Posted in Beethoven, General, Inspirational, Practice Tips, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Technique Box – Part 3

In the box marked Advanced: 1. Essential Daily Exercises for Piano (Boris Berlin, pub Alfred). My go-to book for transfer students; a systematic approach to fixing or developing every aspect of technique. Organized in 20 sets (increasing in difficulty) of 14 … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Technic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let the kids do the work

Performance classes this week. Focus: a good hand position. I harp about this week in and week out. Take pains to make sure they’re sitting correctly at the lesson with strict instructions to go home and do likewise. Give all … Continue reading

Posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Studio News, Technic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Technique Box – part 2

Intermediate technique books sitting on my shelf. May or may not ever be used … 1. Technic is Fun, Books One and Two  (compiled, edited and arranged by David Hirschberg, pub. Alfred). Classic studies that cover a wide range of … Continue reading

Posted in Method Books, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Studio News, Technic | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Technique Box* (part 1)

There are three boxes of technique books sitting on the shelf, organized according to the level: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. These are used books. Stuff that I pull out for students as needed. My beginner and elementary students use the … Continue reading

Posted in Method Books, Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips, Studio News, Technic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments