Notespinner

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

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Is counting natural?

Is counting natural? My experience tells me not! Many young children have to be taught to hear the pulse of music, and most of us have had to learn to keep a steady pulse. One needs to practise, sometimes, with a metronome.

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Pipe Organ Tutor Books

It behoves a teacher to be able to suggest a course of study to a student of the Pipe Organ. This is a fraught area that requires a bespoke solution; this review of the literature suggests some options for teacher and pupil alike.

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How singers practise

The short answer would be "With some difficulty". If you are an instrumentalist, ask yourself, how would I practise if I didn't have my instrument with me? That puts you, more or less, in the position of a singer.

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How to Sight-Read at the piano

This page is a note about how I teach sight-reading. I've posted it as a matter of public service. Usual disclaimers about no responsibility taken if it doesn't help you, or makes matters worse!

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Playing the piano makes you brainy

Does playing the piano make you brainy? Yes. It really does. On 29th September 2010, New Scientist reported recent research from several sources which explain how.

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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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Adult Piano Tutors Review

Which is the best Piano Tutor for Adults? This article began in my mind when a new adult student turned up, and already had a tutor book.

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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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Schubert's An Silvia in English translation

You might be asking yourself why I would need to post a translation of a very famous song. Well, if you look this song up in an CD booklet or book of translations, almost all of them give the Shakespeare original. But that isn't right.

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Quick-fix Checklist for Sight Singing

This is a check list for sight-singing in ABRSM Singing Grades 1 to 5, and for general aural tests in Grades 6 to 8 (tests 6b, 7b and 8b).

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How to practise the piano

This page is a note about how I teach students how to practise. What areas they should include and what technique can help them improve pieces they are learning.

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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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