Notespinner

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

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Piano keyboard with a tablet showing the YouTube logo

YouTube piano resources

There was a while when I felt obliged to make recordings for students, to help them learn new pieces. But now, there is a wealth of professional material available through YouTube

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the late George Pratt, Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield

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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A singer still in bed, mid-morning

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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Still from The Aristocats

Why practise piano scales? … and arpeggios!

What are benefits of scale practice, and what are the best ways to practise scales? The Aristocats knew: "Every truly cultured music student knows, You must learn your scales and your arpeggios"

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Tenor Peter Pears with Benjamin Britten in concert, off YouTube

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 picture of ears to illustrate listening to music and exam aural tests

Vocabulary for talking about music

ABRSM Aural Tests assess students' listening skills by requiring discussion of a piece of music which is played to the student on the piano. In my experience, students are sometimes disadvantaged by a lack of vocabulary in discussing the music.

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