Notespinner

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

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A concert opera on stage with orchestra

Unstaged Opera

My wife and I have been to the opera. But we prefer to go to unstaged opera: that's when an orchestra gives an orchestral concert, but instead of playing an overture, concerto and symphony, they play an opera instead, with the soloists standing out front.

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Cartoon of man taking his piano on a cart to his first piano lesson.

Top Ten Tips for Adult Piano Beginners

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

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Photograph of Ewan MacColl by Chris Taylor_240

The unaccompanied traditional song

The ABRSM requires a traditional unaccompanied song at all grades. Here are some thoughts: more to follow, but for now: Narrative, Range, Difficulty - and where do you find folk songs anyway?

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Broken keys on a piano

The most important thing to do when you practice

What is the secret of successful practise? Don't play the wrong notes! Does that sound simplistic? Bear with me.

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The West Front of Westminster Abbey with Union Jack projection.

The impact of Brexit on the Church musician

This humorous article about putting together a Lessons and Carols service for Christmas in the brave new world of the UK leaving the EU, first appeared in the December edition of the Stamford All Saints' December 2018 magazine.

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The cover of the piano tutor

Teaching Young Beginners

There seems to be a view that 8 years old is a good age to begin piano lessons: by that age children have sufficient mental and physical capacity - not to mention the concentration and discipline to benefit from lessons (and indeed to make the teacher's life easier).

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