Notespinner

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

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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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Boy practising 'air piano'

How to practice the piano in the holidays

"I couldn't practise, because there wasn't a piano where we were on holiday." My response would be "And your point is?". I get mystified looks. If they had at least taken their sheet music, they would have been able to do something.

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Singer with a Glove, 1878, painting by Degas

How singers practise

The short answer would be "With some difficulty". If you are an instrumentalist, ask yourself, how would I practise if I didn't have my instrument with me? That puts you, more or less, in the position of a singer.

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Fergus Black at the piano, teaching online

Hardware and Software for Online Music Lessons

Necessity is the mother of invention. When the coronavirus struck, my private and school teaching evaporated. I know the government would have stepped it to supplement my income (eventually), but with a bit of effort, I am managing to stand on my own two feet. Actually it was a lot of effort.

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get_it_right_240

Get it Right!

I wrote some piano music recently, and had my students perform it in a concert. Gosh! I was much more enthusiastic about drawing their attention to the details of the score than I usually am.

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