Notespinner

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

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SEARCH RESULTS

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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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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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Piano Scales for 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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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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Ornaments

It seems to me that there are two problems with ornaments: technical and visual. The technical aspect is not just that students can't get their fingers around ornaments on the piano

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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 Fingering

I constantly re-iterate "Pitch, Rhythm, Fingering" when students start to learn a new piece: it helps their learning. Pitch and Rhythm alone are not enough.

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Practising the piano on holiday

"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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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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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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Why singers are lazy

Singers have something of a reputation, and not always in a good way. They don't practise as much as instrumentalists - in fact, many of them confuse the words practice and rehearsal - a cardinal sin in my book.

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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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