Often students come to me having studied with other teachers; at an intermediate level, advanced level or even at a late-beginner grade. They are musical, they are interested in keeping up their piano studies, their parents are equally keen, there is just one problem: their technical ability is far below par when matched against the kind of music they want to play. For example, I’ve had students come to me from having studied with other teachers, who want to play Debussy’s Clair de Lune, or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Movement 1. I’ve listened to them at a consultation lesson and found basic technical weaknesses, and encouraged them to choose repertoire that will correct these flaws first, before moving on to the pieces of their choice. For example, a great predecessor to Beethoven’s Moonlight (movt 1) is Chopin’s E minor prelude; since right hand voicing needs to be grasped and understood, before the student can voice with double octaves underneath.

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The Consultation Lesson Explained

People ask me what a consultation lesson is, why is it free, so on and so forth, so I thought I would very quickly outline my thoughts behind this. When a prospective student or parent sends me an email asking about piano lessons in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, there are so many questions that arise for both parties. The consultation lesson is the opportunity to answer these questions, meet with the student/parents, access the logistical feasibility (piano, student’s address, commuting time) and give both parties a chance to see if this would be a good musical match.

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Piano Performance Tips and Advice for Advanced Students.

Don’t give “ghost recitals” in the practice room. There is no point in playing your repertoire over and over again at a loud volume as if you’re performing it. This is not practice. To practice means to work in sections – maybe 2-3 run throughs of the entire piece in one practice session. The rest of the time must be spent on careful donkey work – breaking down trouble spots, repetition, sight-reading, isolating musically challenging passages, writing down interpretation ideas. Only keep playing a piece from start to finish if you genuinely have nothing to improve upon.

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