Graded music exams don’t make musicians

She can certainly play the 2015-16 [Grade 8] syllabus pieces A-C brilliantly……Can she play anything else? I’ll get back to you on that. This is a quote from an article about graded music exams by journalist Rosie Millard, who, by her own admission, is “a pushy music parent” when it comes to her children’s musicContinue reading “Graded music exams don’t make musicians”

Reflections on ten years as a piano teacher

Another term is over and as my students depart for their summer holidays, I have time to pause and reflect as my piano teaching studio approaches its 10th birthday. I never intended to be a piano teacher. I worked for ten years in art and academic publishing after leaving university and I continued to freelanceContinue reading “Reflections on ten years as a piano teacher”

Teaching students to teach themselves

Following on from a post on my blog The Cross-Eyed Pianist about the notion of the “self-taught pianist”, I would like to explore further how teachers can – and should – enable their students to teach themselves. The word “teach” comes from the Old English tǣcan which means “to show, present, point out”. This forContinue reading “Teaching students to teach themselves”

Professionalism in Private Piano Teaching

A presentation for The Oxford Piano Group I was delighted to be invited to contribute to a very interesting and stimulating discussion on the subject of professionalism in piano teaching at the The Oxford Piano Group  on 29th October 2014. Other contributors to this important debate were Nigel Scaife (Syllabus Director, ABRSM), Lucinda Mackworth-Young andContinue reading “Professionalism in Private Piano Teaching”

Repertoire in Focus: Schubert’s Impromptu in F minor, D935/1

Schubert wrote two sets of Impromptus (D899 and D935). Composed in 1827, his post-‘Winterreise’ annus mirabilis, a year of fervent creativity, the Impromptus remain some of his most popular piano works, particularly the first set and the third of the D935 (a set of variations based on the ‘Rosamunde’ theme from his opera of theContinue reading “Repertoire in Focus: Schubert’s Impromptu in F minor, D935/1”

An image crisis in independent piano teaching?

I recently ran a survey, Perceptions of Independent Piano Teachers, as part of some research for a paper I am writing to present at the Oxford Piano Group meeting at the end of this month. Originally intended to offer some insight into whether private and independent piano teachers regard themselves as “professionals”, the survey revealedContinue reading “An image crisis in independent piano teaching?”