We’re delighted to announce our collaboration with Casio Music UK to make various resources on practising available to pianists and piano teachers alongside their Grand Hybrid Teacher Network. Initiatives arising from this partnership include a workshop on the Practice Tools in central London and an eBook titled Practising the Piano – An Introduction to Practice Strategies and Piano Technique.
Based on excerpts of popular content from our Practising the Piano multimedia eBook series, the eBook is available for free download and features the following topics:
Building firm foundations when learning pieces
Using quarantining to tackle trouble spots
Organising a practice session for the best results
The feedback loop
A brief history of piano technique
Selected walk throughs from our Online Academy series on Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Études
The eBook also introduces the reader to Casio’s Grand Hybrid Teacher Network, ensuring all that download the material have an opportunity to join a piano teacher community offering rich teaching resources, FREE workshops and special offers.
Click here to download ‘Practising the Piano – An Introduction to Practice Strategies and Piano Technique’ from the Casio Grand Hybrid Teacher Network site.
Links & resources
Practising the Piano multimedia eBook series – click here for more information
Practice Tools Lecture Series – click here to view the series index
Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Études – click here to view the series index
Casio’s Grand Hybrid Teacher Network – click here for more information
With many of us confined to our homes due to current circumstances, it does potentially make for a great opportunity to make the most of the situation by practising the piano! However, the subject of how to practise effectively is rarely taught. Much practice is unfocused and unproductive (or worse, leads to bad habits that might be hard to break in future).
To help you get the best results from your time spent practising, I’ve created a free two-week email course based on the videos from my Practice Tools video lecture series. Suitable for pianists of any level, it comprises ten lessons introducing various practice tools that will help you to:
Structure your practice sessions and practise efficiently
Learn new pieces faster and build more solid foundations
Develop speed using a better approach then simply increasing the metronome with each repetition
Improve the quality of your playing
As one of our initiatives to provide useful and inspiring content during this time, we’re making this course available for free to anyone and no subscription to the Online Academy is required for participation. All you need to do in order to register is sign-up with your email address, and you will receive your first lesson on the 14th of April (or immediately upon sign-up thereafter).
Please click here to sign-up and for further information and use the buttons below to share this course with anyone you think might be interested!
It it my hope that this course will inspire you to practise well and give you the necessary motivation to keep this going until you have some momentum.
Remember – it’s the quality of the practice that counts, not the quantity! (Tweet this quote)
Further reading & resources
Please also be sure to sign-up to our newsletter for further updates and subscribe to our YouTube channel for further content updates!
Our library of content on the Online Academy has grown substantially since we first launched. We have just developed a new feature called “collections” to provide another method of finding and accessing content.
Collections are selections of content from the Online Academy library which offer a guided pathway through content or a “play list” based on themes or topics. These may be topics not covered directly within the main browse categories or might span multiple categories e.g. resources at the intermediate level on practising and technique, repertoire collections, recommendations for “returning” pianists and so on.
How it works
Previously, the Online Academy was navigated by browsing, searching or a full content index. Collections offer an additional way to browse customised groupings from start to finish rather than having to browse / search for individual items.
Within a collection you will be able to browse backwards and forwards from start to finish. Breadcrumbs and additional menus will enable you to jump between items.
If you’re signed in then you will also be able to jump to your last viewed page from your “Recently viewed” links. You can also add pages that were particularly interesting to your bookmarks.
The Online academy recently turned four and therefore we decided to make first collection a set of highlights featuring some of the most popular recent items and a perennial favourites. As part of our birthday celebrations, these resources will be available to view free without a subscription on the Online Academy until Tuesday 24th November 2020.
The highlights collection includes:
Two of our most popular videos by Graham Fitch on practising which introduce highly effective practice tools
A selection of technique resources on general principles, position, scales, warming-up and the basics of using fore-arm rotation
Walk-throughs of pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Brahms from elementary through to the advanced level
…and much more!
following from this initial collection, we will be adding more on an ongoing basis, featuring existing content, new content and a combination thereof. The next collections planned will likely include a technique “health check”, a set of recommendations for getting started and repertoire collections focusing on specific topics or themes.
How to get access?
If you are on our mailing list then please check your email as we will have sent you further instructions on how to access this new feature. Otherwise if you’re not on our mailing list, you can sign-up here to receive an email with further details (you can unsubscribe at any time).
Many people attempt to learn a new piece by repeatedly reading it through at the piano. Unless the piece is well below your current level, this approach is not the smartest. It can lead to careless errors that can be hard to fix later on, potentially jeopardising your performance.
Fortunately, there are much more thorough ways to start learning a new piece that will give you far better results. These are the subject of my new email course which outlines and introduces a process, principles and practice tools for more efficient and effective learning.
The format of this course is similar to my original email course on practising launched last year. Over 1,000 participants completed it and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback with many reporting significant progress!
Based on a series of videos I’ve created as part of my resources for the new ABRSM piano examination syllabus, this new course focusses specifically on laying good foundations when starting a new piece. These will help you develop a more intimate knowledge of your piece and a level of security that will enable you to perform confidently and expressively.
What you will learn
Using your imagination to develop a narrative and a personal artistic image
How to manage read-throughs of a piece
Helpful tips to find the right fingering for a feeling of security in performance
Structuring your learning process and practising to avoid developing bad habits and get much better results
A simple, but powerful method for tackling trouble spots and ensuring they don’t trip you up in your performances
Tools for learning the piece deeply, effectively and efficiently to help you play your best
How it works
The course is comprised of seven lessons which are delivered daily by email. Each lesson features a video lecture ranging from three to twelve minutes in length. The videos are accompanied by downloads, notes and exercises (with instructions) to help you follow each stage of the process.
You can select one (or more, if you like!) pieces that you would like to begin learning from scratch. It’s better if you haven’t done any practice yet, but don’t worry if you know the notes a little bit.
The principles and approach presented can be applied to any piece and therefore your piece doesn’t necessarily need to be particularly challenging. I recommend choosing a piece that is not too long and that is at your current level, or a bit easier if you’d like to use the course as a tool for a quick study.
The course is free of charge and doesn’t require an Online Academy subscription in order to participate. Click here to sign-up!
Next Event – Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes
Tuesday 2nd March @ 19:00 – 20:30 GMT
These charming and versatile pieces have deservedly been a mainstay of elementary etude repertoire for many generations. In this online workshop, Graham Fitch explores the etudes and demonstrates how they can be used for various purposes, including as vehicles for improving technique, developing practice methods and even exercises for advanced pianists. Click here for more information.
The 29th of March is the 88th day of the year and we celebrated Piano Day 2022 by hosting a free online event featuring a revised version of one of our most popular online workshops. We will also be offering other specials on a selection of our resources.
Fundamentals of Piano Practice
In this online workshop Graham Fitch demonstrated his tried and tested methods and strategies for learning pieces and practising more effectively. Based on his eBook series and original practice tools workshops, the workshop covered the following:
How to analyse your piece: Before embarking on note learning, you will need some sort of a map of the terrain. Analysis does not have to be academic or dry – we will explore a few different and creative approaches to gain a clear overview of the shape and structure of the music
The importance of a good fingering: To assist with the process of automation (muscle memory) planning the fingering is essential. However, the printed fingering is a suggestion only so we will be covering some of the principles of fingering and how to choose the fingering that fits your hand.
Using “The Three S’s” in day-to-day practice: How to apply the principles of “Slowly”, “Separately”, and “Sections” to achieve real results from your practice session.
Deep-learning techniques: Many players apply a superficial repeated play-through approach in their practice, creating frustration when things do not improve. Liszt advised us to “make haste slowly”, and in this segment we will explore some aspects of deliberate, methodical practice that are absorbing and creative, and that yield permanent results.
The two practice states: Practising is a mindful process involving self-diagnosis and an understanding of how to apply the practice tools at every stage. When we prepare for a performance there is a different focus, where non-stop run-throughs become part of our training.
If you missed this event then you can still obtain access to the recording and resources by signing-up to our newsletter!
About Our Online Events
Originally started at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, our online events programme has proven to be an incredibly popular complement to our various digital resources. To date, hundreds of pianists and teachers from over thirty countries have participated in a range of events on topics including sight-reading, performing, preparing for examinations, technique and many more!
If you’d like to get a taste of some of the content, this extract from a workshop from one of our workshops on playing faster shows how to apply chaining techniques to the Allegroof the first movement of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata:
Further extracts from workshops can be viewed on our YouTube channel here and a listing of our past events is available here. If you haven’t yet participated in one of our online workshops and would like to do so, then this is the perfect chance to try one out. Click here to book your free place!
What Participants Say
Here’s what some of our participants have had to say about our online events and workshops:
“Excellent format and content, appropriate number of people and expertly demonstrated – I thoroughly enjoyed the session.”
“I had ready Graham’s books on practice, but it was great to be reminded of the key principles in a way that was focused, allowed questions and made me feel like a member of an engaged community of piano learners.”
“I enjoyed this workshop very much even though I had to be up at 6 AM! I am a member of Practising the Piano Online Academy and I have the eBooks but I always learn a bit more each time I review the materials or view a presentation!”
“The practical advice and very specific examples regarding effective practice. It’s great to not only hear about the principles but to be guided through sample applications.”
“Graham’s pedagogy is thorough and the scope of the content is as wide as it is deep.”
“I am very grateful for these events. That way, people who are not able to travel can benefit from the knowledge of a great teacher as well!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to using these newly gained tools in my piano practice.”
“I am very glad I have attended the Practice Tools workshop. I really liked the fact that Graham was going through any questions that we were posting in the chat in between his presentation slides.”
“The best part of the workshops was where Graham answered our questions when we needed clarification.”
“The clarity of Graham’s teaching and being able to watch his demonstrations so clearly and in such detail was fantastic.”
“I hope there will be more events like this in the future. I also found the combination with the materials on the Online Academy to be very beneficial.”
As a result of the incredible response we received for the free online event we ran on 29th March, we’ve decided to schedule another on Saturday 11th June @ 17:00 – 18:00 BST (GMT +1). This session will feature an abbreviated version of one of our other most popular workshops on deep learning and memorisation.
Beyond muscle memory
Playing a piece over and over eventually makes the muscular movements automatic, but this muscle memory can be extremely unreliable when under pressure in a performing situation. In this online workshop, Graham Fitch explores the different memory systems and introduces various tools that will help you go beyond simply relying on muscle memory when preparing for a performance.
In this workshop, you will learn:
About the learning process and the memory systems involved i.e. muscular, aural and analytic
“Muscles last” – How to develop the other memory systems alongside to supplement muscle memory
A simple, personalised approach to analysis which keeps the mind engaged and alert during practice
How to use effective tools for deep learning including deconstruction, tracking, and controlled stops
The material will be useful for piano teachers and pianists of an intermediate level and above. The session will be recorded and all participants will receive a link to download the video. Therefore, if you are unable to attend the session on the day, you will still be able to watch the video at your convenience.
Whether you choose to perform with the score or not, this workshop will equip you with effective tools to ensure that you know a work on a much deeper level!
About Our Online Events
Our online workshops programme was launched in 2020 and has proven to be an incredibly popular complement to our various digital resources. We have also discovered many benefits to the format, including the opportunity for participants can try things at home during a session and interacting with a diverse audience across the globe!
If you haven’t yet participated in one of our online workshops and would like to do so, then this is the perfect chance to try one out! If you would like to attend this event then please sign-up by completing the form below following which you will receive further registration instructions. More information on how our online events work is also available here.