Improving Practising

Monthly Activity Focus

Each month I am taking a different aspect of piano playing to be a studio-wide focus. September's focus is PRACTICE.

As with all of the areas I have lined up for the year ahead, practice should be a part of every lesson and every student's week at home with their piano.

Why make it a focus for just one month?

practice focus.png

By focussing on an aspect of piano playing for a month I hope to build some good habits that my students will carry on for the year ahead. (Practice is actually going to make three appearances this year!)

What will this achieve?

This September, with the Practice Focus, I am hoping to:

  • get students thinking about piano practice after the summer holiday
  • get younger students DOING some practice
  • get more advanced students developing their practice techniques

There are tasks set for each of four weeks. If the students complete the tasks they work their way through Novice status, to Prodigy status, to Virtuoso status and finally to Maestro status. 

The younger students will also receive points based on how well they have completed that week's task. And yes, points mean prizes!

Your free handout...

So that you can run a similar studio-wide project I have uploaded the file that contains the handouts for these - just click here!

What do you think about this idea?

I would love to know if you think this would work for your students - please let me know what you think and how you get on with it!

Motivating Teens by Sending Them Online

Have Your Teens Always Got Something Better To Do?

Let’s face it, most teens can always find something to do instead of practise piano.

With pressures from school, sports and other activities alongside the always-on social networking aspect of their lives, encouraging teens to engage in a solitary activity that requires serious focus and effort can be a hard sell.

That’s where this post comes in: I’m going to discuss some ideas to get teens fully engaged in their piano practice by getting them to do something else entirely.

What Can Playing Volleyball Teach Us About Playing the Piano?

Volleyball and Piano. Not related, surely? Well... I think there are some interesting and important parallels between sport and music. Both require skill and practice to develop competence, both can be enjoyed by the player as well as by an audience or spectators. What I think is particularly useful is where differences start to emerge: In my experience (very much anecdotal and not scientific at all!) people are more ready to commit to drills and practice in volleyball than they are with piano; whilst anxiety about performing in front of others often seems to be less of an issue in volleyball than with piano. Starting from these observations, what can playing volleyball teach us about playing the piano?

Apps to Help You Learn Piano

Phone and tablet apps can be a genuinely useful aid to learning piano. They allow you to practise isolated skills away from your instrument, they enable you to learn required facts, they provide opportunities for you to develop aural awareness. I have reviewed and selected my favourite apps for both Android and iOS. As it turns out, I actually prefer the Android apps, which is not something I expected.

Worldwide and European Piano Challenge - RESOURCES and LISTENING

58! Yes - that would appear to be the total number of European countries. I have to admit to being slightly surprised by this, which unfortunately bears testament to my terrible geographical ignorance. In case you were worrying that the European Piano Challenge seemed ridiculously overwhelming I am allowing my students...

Worldwide and European Piano Challenges

As the final few hours of this half term are flying past I am getting ready for next half term's challenge. The Practice Challenge which ran for this half term has been a great success. All my students have put in the time at home and have passed the Practice Challenge (practice at least 5 times a week) without even...

What I'm Listening To or Beyond Beethoven and Chopin...

As ever, I've got a LOT of time for Chopin. And indeed Beethoven too. I'm currently studying a Chopin Nocturne, a Beethoven Sonata, reading about Romantic interpretation and enjoying a biography of Chopin too! But I like to explore where ELSE the piano can take me. I also believe that to help motivate students it is important to serve them a diet of more than just the standard classical repertoire...