Notespinner

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

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Still from The Aristocats

Why practise piano scales? … and arpeggios!

What are benefits of scale practice, and what are the best ways to practise scales? The Aristocats knew: "Every truly cultured music student knows, You must learn your scales and your arpeggios"

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An image of piano scales from an old book

Piano Scales in exams

There are too many scales in ABRSM piano exams: far more than for other instruments - and I have sat across the table from the chief examiner and told her so. Why are there just scales and arpeggios and not technical exercises, as for other instruments?

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Proud children with exam certificates

Music exam boards go head-to-head

Which exam board should aspiring musicians follow? Which has the best syllabus? and which has the best structure? For years I have followed ABRSM: ABRSM is the gold standard, imho, against which other boards could and should compare themselves.

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A pianist's hand - ready for sevenths

A Guide to Playing Grade 8 ABRSM Dominant and Diminished Seventh Arpeggios

I've recently posted some Learning Guides to practising Diminished and Dominant Sevenths for ABRSM Grade 8 piano. I felt that students needed a framework for practice: so that they could see more easily the common elements in some of these arpeggios, and the differences in others.

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