Raise the Bar Competition – Practising the Piano

It is with great pleasure that I announce the publication of a new series from Trinity College London for which I have written the teaching notes, called Raise the Bar. In the three volumes that comprise the series (from Initial to Grade 8), you will find collections of the most popular pieces from past Trinity grade exam syllabuses.

There is a wide range of styles and genres included, and I have written a short teaching note for each. The series is designed to be used alongside exam preparation, and also for pleasure.

Raise the Bar

Quick Studies

I suggest another excellent use for the series. Players with weak reading skills often have good muscle memory, and can look away from the printed page quite early on in the note learning process. In itself, this is not a bad thing – at all! This is exactly what concert pianists aim to do, to get away from relying on reading the score at the keyboard as soon as possible. For younger or inexperienced pianists who take their eyes off the page before the notes have been properly learned, all sorts of mistakes creep in that may be really hard to eliminate later.

A quick study not only forces the eye onto the page, it bolsters reading and musical comprehension skills. I suggest taking a piece a couple of levels below your playing ability and allotting a short period of time to learn and then play it. Teachers can assign three or four quick studies a term, perhaps giving the piece out the week before and spending a few moments in the next lesson hearing it (exploring one or two points that may arise).

So, if you are a Grade 5 level player with weak reading skills, the pieces from Book 1 of Raise the Bar are ideal. Those who are at a higher level can use Book 2, and diploma candidates worrying about the quick study test in their exam can use the pieces from Book 3.

If you are involved in the 40 Piece Challenge then Raise the Bar is ideal!

For more details, and to order click here


I have devised a short competition – all you have to do is correctly identify the extracts below (giving composer and title of the piece). Trinity College London has kindly agreed to give away five copies of the series to the first five correct entries pulled from the hat. Simply email me your answers and I will publish the winners next week. Closing date is Wednesday, April 13.







Best of luck!