Notespinner

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

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Arty drawing of the human brain

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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Musical Dreame - some of the best English enunciation

Singing in english

Why is it that some singers manage to pronounce words clearly when they are singing? and others do not. Opera singers are notoriously hard to understand: something I suppose to do with singing very loudly. Wide vibrato doesn't help, and singers have a lot of vibrato. I blame large auditoria.

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Cartoon of a singer in difficulty

Sight singing

I realise that many instrumentalists find sight-reading difficult. However, they should spare a thought for singers. Except for those who have perfect pitch, singing at sight is a lot harder than playing at sight on an instrument.

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A pianist's left hand on the piano. Black and White.

Right Hand or Left Hand?

When learning a new piece of piano music, start with the Left Hand. Why? Because it is harder. But we can all take inspiration from the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who used only his left arm and hand in concerts.

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Front Cover of Play Piano Tutor Book

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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cartoon eyes

Quick-fix Checklist for Sight Singing

This is a check list for ABRSM Singing Grades 1 to 5, and for general aural tests in Grades 6 to 8 (tests 6b, 7b and 8b). I find that many students are in need of a systematic approach to the subject, which I aim to provide through this checklist.

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