Notespinner

Thoughts on composing, teaching and performing music, by Fergus Black

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Top Ten Tips for Adult Piano Beginners

Here are the Top Ten Tips for adult beginners learning the piano, from an article that appeared in Pianist (the magazine) August-September 2003 by Jocelyn Abbott.

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Recommended Piano Books for beginners

Over the years, I have used many different piano tutor books with students of all ages as they start learning the piano. There are some books that I come back to again and again, because I think they are creative, well written, and structured.

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Why singers are lazy

Singers have something of a reputation, and not always in a good way. They don't practise as much as instrumentalists - in fact, many of them confuse the words practice and rehearsal - a cardinal sin in my book.

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Adjusting to the Brave New World

Fergus Black of John Clare School talks about his experience teaching music online over the past year.

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What do singers need for online singing lessons?

One thing, often overlooked for online lessons is that both the teacher and student need a copy of the same edition of the same music. But singers need still more.

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A Review of Piano Sight Reading Guides

The best way to improve your sight-reading at the piano is to play a lot more music, and have a teacher guide you about what you are doing right, and what you are doing wrong. But there are lots of books on the market that can help.

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Piano Help with note names

I find that some beginner students just can't remember the names of notes, so I made these resources to help.

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Music Theory Fast

I have been delivering a crash course in ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory this week, for some nice people in Stamford (UK). They called their course Music Theory Fast, and whilst I cavilled, of course, at the grammar, I liked the double meaning of "Fast": we did it quick, or rather quickly, and hopefully it will stick fast.

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Piano Teaching for Advanced Instrumentalists and A-level students

If you are an A-level (or prospective A-level student), who needs to improve their keyboard skills, then here is a possible syllabus that I would suggest, with resources for the first year of lessons.

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The Wider Benefits of Music Education

Sir, The wider benefits of music education are not limited to school age (letter, May 31). Some years ago I was delighted but surprised to discover that the music department of which I was head had the best record for employment within the university.

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Singing in english

Why is it that some singers manage to pronounce words clearly when they are singing? and others do not.

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Common Problems in Piano Sight-Reading

Many people struggle with sight-reading at the piano. But not all for the same reason or reasons. Here are some common problems, together with my solutions to them.

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