22 Nocturnes for Chopin by Women Composers
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
4M ago
This new anthology is a result of EVC Music’s #CallToWomenComposers worldwide search for talented but not yet published women composers, and includes new piano works by twenty-two women composers inspired by Chopin’s Nocturnes. The project was initiated by Rose McLachlan, talented daughter of Scottish pianist and pedagogue Murray McLachlan, as part of her Masters degree. Applications were open to women composers aged 14+ and EVC Music received over eighty pieces in a variety of styles from romantic to experimental. The pieces were selected blind: the selection committee was presented with ‘nam ..read more
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A Piano Teacher Writes is signing off
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
I’m no longer teaching regularly and although I still take an active interest in the world of piano pedagogy, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to continue to update this site, the main purpose of which was to offer guidance and advice for my own students and their parents, and for other piano teachers and students. From now on, all piano teaching related articles, including guest articles, will appear on my main site, The Cross-Eyed Pianist. Please follow or subscribe to that site for new posts. This site will not be closed down – you can still access it and search the archive, but it won’t be up ..read more
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Some elements of effective practice
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
Guest post by Simon Nicholls (adapted from advice to an adult pupil, already in the profession as teacher and player) There is no such thing as a ‘note-bashing stage’. Rather, as soon as one or two notes are involved, there should be music being made; even if it’s slow-motion, dry, nothing like the finished article will be, it should be: musical, with feeling for the intervals, sense of sound and its connection with the physical approach to the instrument, which should always be supple and finding an elegant way (in the sense of economical and functional, like a Bauhaus elegance) to nego ..read more
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Challenging traditional practice at the piano
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
There are certain habits of piano practice which are ingrained in us from an early age and which have become a form of “piano dogma”. As a young piano student we may accept these practices without question, trusting in our teacher’s seniority and assertion that these activities are “good for you”, that they will make you “a better pianist”. These include scales, arpeggios and other technical exercises (Hanon, Czerny etc), separate hands practicing, slow practice and use of the metronome. Many of these practices come from theorists, lesser musicians, traditional teaching, and exam boards, who p ..read more
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Some thoughts in response to ABRSM’s tweet
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
Most of us in the music teaching community will have seen it by now – an ill-judged tweet by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) which stated that “Musical achievement is about how well you can do, how good you can get. That sense of attainment is tested by assessment which gives us intrinsic motivation to make us want to get better. That’s the virtuous circle of motivation.” (via Twitter, 24 September 2021). Understandably, the response to this statement has been largely negative. Here are two responses to the ABRSM’s tweet, the first from my friend Andrew Eales, a high ..read more
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Finding joy in music – every day: The Happy Music Play Book
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
‘The Happy Music Play Book’ by Cordelia Williams There’s a lot more to making music with children than singing The Wheels on the Bus or dancing to Baby Shark. Newborn babies can detect the pulse in music and infants respond to maternal speech and singing. Many children have a natural instinct for music making and enjoying singing, clapping, drumming and dancing, regardless of the genre or era of the music. Music can also help children unwind after a busy day and calm them ready for sleep (why else do we sing infants lullabies?). In her book The Happy Music Play Book, British pianist Cordelia W ..read more
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UK’s future music ‘talent pipeline’ at risk from A-level music decline
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
A-level music education provided by state schools could completely disappear by 2033 as a result of an alarming year-on-year decline, new research suggests. Falling access to the music qualifications, accelerated by cuts in local and central government funding in recent years, has also led to the gap between state and independent music education provision widening, according to work undertaken by Dr Adam Whittaker and Professor Martin Fautley at Birmingham City University. The academics’ findings reinforce fears of a future ‘talent pipeline’ shortage damaging the prospects of future artists an ..read more
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In the Key of C
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
The key of C major. It’s the beginner’s key signature and usually the first scale that early piano students learn. (In fact, Chopin considered it the most difficult scale to play and instead liked to begin his students with the B major scale in the right hand, in order to more naturally introduce the passing of the thumb under the other fingers and to help students develop a more fluid finger and hand position.) The earliest, easiest piano pieces a student may encounter are usually written in the key of C, because this key contains no daunting black notes to confound mind or fingers. Each musi ..read more
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Creative Piano Mashups – Rebecca Singerman-Knight in conversation with Tim Topham
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
Many piano teachers will know Tim Topham’s work; I’ve long been an admirer of his creative, imaginative approach. In this episode of his podcast series, he chats to Rebecca Singerman-Knight, a piano teacher based in Teddington in SW London, who also happens to be a good friend of mine, and with whom I have shared many a stimulating conversation about our personal approaches to teaching. With COVID and lockdown, a lot of teachers and students have been faced with the challenge of learning online. Teachers, especially, have had to think of ways to make online lessons more fun and engaging. In t ..read more
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Piano Journeys – six books to own and love
FRANCES WILSON'S PIANO STUDIO – A blog for piano students & piano teachers
by The Cross-Eyed Pianist
2y ago
Books about piano journeys are rare and valuable – especially those written from the perspective of the amateur player. A new book, by late-returner pianist and ex-technologist Howard Smith, adds to the genre and does so in a surprising (and delightful) fashion. In this article I list the six books I have read, and compare and contrast the approach each (very different) author has taken in narrating their adventures in pianism. My reading list comprises: 1. Piano Notes, The hidden world of the pianist, Charles Rosen 2. Piano Lessons, Music, love & true adventures, Noah Adams 3. The Piano S ..read more
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