Notespinner

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

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Drawing of human head with post-it notes

Memorising Vocal Music

Singers often have to work from memory, in opera, for example. So, ABRSM singing exams require all song to be memorised. What is the best way to memorise vocal music? Different things work for different people.

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black performers advertise a cakewalk. Historic image.

Le Petit Negre or The English Soldier?

What is to be done with Debussy's Little Negro? It is a good piece, around grade 5-6, with enough difficulty to be useful, and yet it is also an attractive piece to the young pianist, but unusable with its current title.

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Picture that compares a digital piano and a portable keyboard

Keyboard or Piano?

I offer Piano lessons - not Portable Keyboard lessons. If you are considering whether an instrument at home is suitable, here is a short guide.

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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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Stamford Music Shop

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: the same pressure from online retailers, who offer the convenience of shopping at 2am on a Sunday, and who drive down prices.

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