Notespinner

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

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Another Wedding (sigh!)

Please, people! If you go to a wedding ceremony at which live musicians are performing, please have the courtesy not to talk over them.

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Fioriture in Chopin’s Nocturnes

Old editions have their uses. The old Novello edition of Chopin Nocturnes has a very helpful table of the fioriture (fast florid passages) in the Chopin Nocturnes, with an interpretation by Frank Merrick of how to play them.

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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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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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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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Vocabulary for talking about music

ABRSM Aural Tests assess students' listening skills by requiring discussion of a piece of music which is played to the student on the piano. In my experience, students are sometimes disadvantaged by a lack of vocabulary in discussing the music.

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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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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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The Wider Benefits of Music Education

Sir, The wider benefits of music education are not limited to school age (letter, May 31). Some years ago I was delighted but surprised to discover that the music department of which I was head had the best record for employment within the university.

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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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Memory Lane

Some pianists, (many well-known concert artists, in fact) find playing from memory easy, and some find it very difficult. The pointers in this article, from Pianist magazine, may help.

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YouTube piano resources

There was a while when I felt obliged to make recordings for students, to help them learn new pieces. But now, there is a wealth of professional material available through YouTube

Please click on the buttons below to visit my other music web sites.

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