Notespinner

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

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A pianist's hands on the keyboard

Piano Fingering

I constantly re-iterate "Pitch, Rhythm, Fingering" when students start to learn a new piece: it helps their learning. Pitch and Rhythm alone are not enough.

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J S Bach's Explication - a guide to baroque ornamentation in keyboard music

Ornaments

It seems to me that there are two problems with ornaments: technical and visual. The technicalIt is not just that students can't get their fingers around ornaments on the piano - although the speed and delicacy is often a problem; I think that many players are confused when they shouldn't play the note printed (e.g. in baroque trills, they have to start on the upper auxiliary - they see a C and have to play D first).

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A dog chasing its tail

Is the backing track too fast?

You want to practise for your exam. You take out the CD from the envelope at the back of the book, but horror of horrors, it goes at the speed of light, and you can't keep up.

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A picture of numbers

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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Cartoon of a cat sitting at the piano, reading the score of Three blind mice

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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A cartoon of a happy piano player

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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