Notespinner

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

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Practising the piano on holiday

"I couldn't practise, because there wasn't a piano where we were on holiday." My response would be "And your point is?". I get mystified looks. If they had at least taken their sheet music, they would have been able to do something.

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High Speed Beginner Piano Tutor

This book for beginners at the piano is a breath of fresh air. It is fun, amusing, and unlike any other beginner tutor I know of.

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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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In praise of the local music shop

All over the country, and probably the world, there are sad stories of independent bookshops closing down. I suppose the same must be happening with music shops

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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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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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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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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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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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Ornaments

It seems to me that there are two problems with ornaments: technical and visual. The technical aspect is not just that students can't get their fingers around ornaments on the piano

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Sports Psychology for Musicians

If your concert nerves get the better of you, take advice from the world of sports psychologists, and apply their techniques to tackling concert nerves: process goals, thought stopping, using imagery, and seeking social support.

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