We’re delighted to announce the launch of a brand-new initiative on the Online Academy, PTC Online. Developed in partnership with the The Piano Teachers’ Course UK, this series features in-depth videos and downloadable content from expert tutors Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Graham Fitch, Sally Cathcart and Ilga Pitkevica.
Aimed at piano teachers, the tutorials are based on content from the acclaimed Piano Teachers’ Course UK and provide handy teaching tips to view, download and use at your convenience. There are six modules available, covering teaching beginners, practising, piano technique, improvisation and playing by ear, and psychology for teaching and learning.
If you have wondered how to instill a genuine and long-lasting love of music in your beginner pupils, or you’ve been baffled about how to teach good technique even at advanced level, help is now available all in one place! The videos with accompanying downloads allow you to progress through each module at your own pace, return to the materials as often as you like, and start using the information straight away in your teaching.
Even if you are not a piano teacher, a number of the modules will still be invaluable for the purposes of improving your playing and enjoyment of the piano, whether you are a beginner or accomplished pianist.
To give a taste of what you can expect from the videos, the introductory sections of Anyone Can Improvise, and the first two videos of Graham Fitch’s Practice Tools and Piano Technique lecture series are freely available and can be viewed using the links below.
These modules are all included as part of an Online Academy subscription or can be purchased individually. A complete bundle of all six is also available and can be purchased for £59.99:
Click here to buy the complete bundle for £59.99. Alternatively, if you’d like access to these modules along with a further 300 articles, hundreds of videos, musical examples and downloads then you may wish to subscribe to the Practising the Piano Online Academy. Click here to sign-up or click here to find out more about subscription options.
The Online Academy will soon be three years old and we have a number of exciting developments in the pipeline to celebrate this milestone. Following from our previous post which provided an overview of existing resources and content, this article will give you an idea of what you can look forward to from the Online Academy over the coming months.
The Practice Tools – A detailed collection of resources building on Graham Fitch’s workshops and eBook series will be published as a complement to existing resources. These will include a course teaching the fundamentals of effective practising and a revised index of practice tools.
Quarantine Spots Series – We will be launching a focussed series which takes one of the practice tools, Quarantining, and expands on it with demonstrations of how it can be used in context of challenging examples from popular works within the repertoire.
Technique Library and Resources – A comprehensive library of resources focusing on improving technique and tackling technical challenges for all levels. This will include detailed demonstrations of various areas of techniques, guides to exercises and studies with contributions from current and new authors.
Walk throughs – Our library of resources for the piano repertoire will continue to grow and will feature words by Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach to name a few. Resources for examination syllabi will also be added on a continual basis.
Burgmüller’s 25 Easy and Progressive Etudes – The final four walk throughs are currently in production and will be added to complete this comprehensive series shortly.
Healthy Playing – Our set of resources on healthy playing by Penelope Roskell will be extended to include information on preventing and recovering from common pianist injuries
Teaching Beginners – Additional lectures and demonstrations from Ilga Pitkevica on teaching the foundations of a good technique are being developed as a follow-on from her recently published videos on teaching beginners.
Sight Reading – A new sight-reading curriculum for the advanced level along with exercises along with sample exercises from ReadAhead Level 4 extends our existing resources for elementary and early intermediate levels to cater for the intermediate and advanced levels.
Features & enhancements
Usability and Finding Content – Miscellaneous updates to the user interfaces will be added to make navigating and finding content easier. These include a new browse page, an updated content index and a new “search wizard”. Improved context sensitive help is also being added through-out the site.
Personalisation – Further tools allowing you to access personalised content recommendations
Courses – Subscribers will be able to enroll in courses on specific topics which provide a step-by-step, guided pathway through Online Academy content.
Questions and Answers – We will be launching a Q&A series which annual and premium subscribers will have the opportunity to contribute questions for possible inclusion.
Singles – Various improvements to our recently launched “Singles” offering which provides additional once-off purchase options for selected collections of Online Academy content.
Teaching Tools – New tools and licensing options for teachers and institutions will be added to make it easier to use content within a teaching practice and to share content with students.
We are very much looking forward to sharing the above developments with you. If you are already an Online Academy subscriber, then please be sure to sign-up for updates via our mailing list here. If you aren’t a subscriber and would like to get access to our existing resources and these new developments, then please click here.
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!
April saw the launch of our first online events and workshops. We have been delighted by their reception and thrilled to welcome participants from almost all corners of the globe!
The following are the initial events that took place in April and early May:
Practice Tools Online Workshop – Based on Graham Fitch’s email course on practising strategies and tools, this online workshop provided a more in-depth look at specific practice tools with a detailed demonstration of how to apply them.
Forearm Rotation Online Workshop – An online course based on our newly published guide to forearm rotation featuring a further, practical demonstration of the underlying concept and associated movements with opportunities for questions and answers.
Practice Clinic – A live “practice clinic” open to everyone in which Graham Fitch will respond to practising-related queries submitted by our Online Academy subscribers in advance (click here to view a recording of the most recent event).
Technique Showcase – A free demonstration of content from our newly published technique resources covering basic fundamentals, using forearm rotation and scales (click here to view recording of the most recent event).
The feedback from these events has been overwhelmingly positive. Many participants specifically commented on how useful the sessions have been both in their own right and as a complement to our online content. The opportunities for questions and answers were also very popular!
As a result of the interest and based on the feedback received, we will be offering an ongoing programme of online events and workshops. This will feature repeats of some of the initial sessions in addition to some new events. The following is a listing of the next events we have lined up:
Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major – Join us on Thursday 21st May @ 11:00 BST on Facebook for a live stream in which Graham Fitch will give a presentation on one of the most beloved piano works, Brahms’s Intermezzo in A Major (Op. 118 No. 2) (Click here to view our Facebook events page and to set a reminder).
Practice Clinic – The next practice clinic will take place on Friday 29th May at 12:00 BST via Facebook Live. Subscribers will be given an opportunity to submit advanced practising-related queries shortly (Click here to view our Facebook events page and to set a reminder).
Online Piano Technique Workshop – In this workshop, Graham will demonstrate a number of aspects of piano technique based on his recently published online modules. The following topics will be covered:
An exploration of the basics of piano technique with an emphasis on how to move in ways that are natural to the body and achieving physical freedom for playing that feels and sounds good
A demonstration of some of the fundamentals of scale and arpeggio playing, including dealing with technical challenges such as thumb passage and gaining speed
A basic introduction to the concept of forearm rotation and how it can be incorporated into your playing to help you feel strong, coordinated and tension-free
Click here to find out more and to purchase tickets (discounted tickets are available for Online Academy subscribers – further details will be provided by email!).
Following on from the above, events that we have planned for June & July include:
Practice Tools Online Workshop – A repeat of the initial workshop which provided an in-depth look at specific practice tools
Practice Tools Part 2 – A follow-on from the above workshop which will look at additional practice tools and how to apply them
Forearm Rotation – A repeat of our most popular workshop to date which was a sell-out!
Online Academy subscribers are entitled to a 40% discount on all online events and workshops. If you are not an Online Academy subscriber and would like to find out more then please click here for further information.
We will also continue to offer a number of free events via Facebook Live, including our practice clinic and other presentations and showcases. Please sign-up for our mailing list here if you’d like notifications of upcoming events. Videos from selected events are also available on our YouTube channel.
Our online workshops and events programme for the next few months features a combination of repeats of popular events and new sessions based on requests and feedback from our participants to date. We’re also delighted to welcome two new presenters, Ken Johansen and Penelope Roskell to our programme!
The following are some of the events that we have lined up for the summer:
Practice Tools (Part 1 & Part 2) – A repeat of Graham Fitch’s Practice Tools workshops which give detailed demonstrations of how to apply various tools to make your practising more effective. Click here for more information or to book your place.
Memorisation – By popular request, this new workshop follows-on from the Practice Tools workshops and focuses on methods and techniques for deep learning and memorisation. Click here for more information or to book your place.
Developing Sight-reading Skills (Part 1 & Part 2) – A workshop in two parts by Ken Johansen based on his advanced sight-reading curriculum, providing an interactive demonstration of essential sight-reading skills, including eye training and flexibility. Click here for more information or to book your place.
Healthy Technique & Injury “Clinic” – Penelope Roskell will be presenting her approach to healthy piano technique, followed by a pianist injury “clinic” in which she will answer questions on preventing and recovering from injury. Click here for more information or to book your place.
Piano Technique Workshop – A repeat of Graham Fitch’s workshop on various aspects of piano technique covering topics such as technical fundamentals, scales and arpeggios, building speed and an introduction to the concept of forearm rotation.
In addition to these online workshops, we regularly broadcast various free live events from our Facebook page. Videos from past live events can also be watched on our YouTube channel.
Further details regarding these events will be announced shortly – please sign-up for our mailing list if you would like to receive notifications and information by email.
If you’d like to find out more about how our online workshops work and see answers to frequently asked questions then please click here.
We’ve expanded our increasingly popular online workshops programme further this month by adding sessions on several new topics. The first of these were on developing sight-reading skills and healthy piano playing. The next workshops towards the end of the month will look at memorisation and learning new pieces.
Sight-Reading & Healthy Piano Playing
In our first event of the month, Ken Johansen provided an interactive demonstration of how to develop sight-reading skills. Based on his advanced sight-reading curriculum, Ken shared his structured approach to training the eye and adopting a flexible attitude in order to keep going no matter what!
“This has been the most useful and comprehensive set of strategies I have found for working on sight reading. I feel enthused!”
The next sessions featured expert in healthy piano playing and pianists injuries, Penelope Roskell. In the first part, Penelope introduced key principles behind a healthy technique and demonstrated her “parachute” touch for controlling arm weight and minimising effort. The second part was an injury clinic in which Penelope responded in detail to numerous questions from our audience all over the globe!
“Thank you so much for the sessions today. This was the best event I have ever attended and more successful than I could have imagined a Zoom meeting could be. Penelope was so generous with her advice and I have learned so much that will stop me incurring further injury!”
We are planning on repeating these sessions due to their popularity. Therefore please sign-up for our mailing list if you missed them and would like notifications of future dates.
Learning Pieces & Memorisation
Our next workshops will be presented by Graham Fitch on Friday 31st July. The first features a step-by-step guide to learning new pieces effectively, from laying the right foundations in the beginning through to polishing for a performance that reflects your full potential. Click here for more information or to book your place.
The next workshop is a follow-on from Graham’s Practice Tools workshops and focuses on methods and techniques for deep learning and memorisation. Click here for more information or to book your place.
We will also be running repeats of Part 1 & Part 2 of Graham’s original Practice Tools workshops on 8th August. These workshops give detailed demonstrations of how to apply various tools to make your practising more effective. Click here for more information or to book your place.
Lastly, our next practice clinic in which Graham answers questions submitted by Online Academy subscribers in advance will take place on Thursday 30th July @ 12:00 BST via Facebook Live (please check your email for further instructions if you are a subscriber and would like to submit a question).
Save 40% on our Online Workshops!
Online Academy subscribers are entitled to a 40% discount on all online events and workshops in addition to access to our extensive library of hundreds of videos and articles on playing and teaching the piano.
If you are not an Online Academy subscriber and would like to find out more then please click here for further information.
The Online Academy will be turning four in October and we have many exciting developments lined up for the year ahead! Our content library will continue to grow in breadth and depth, and we will be adding several new features to help you get even more from the site. The following are some highlights of what you can expect over the coming months.
New content and contributors
New contributors – We will be welcoming several new authors, including two distinguished performers, a renowned pedagogue and author of a best-selling book! Their contributions will cover topics such as mindful practising, performance psychology, technique and repertoire.
Technique – Our technique library project will see the addition of several new modules covering topics such as octave playing and guides to technical exercises and regimes. An extensive series on “Balanced Technique” based on the Russian School will be published shortly, followed by a guide to some unorthodox, but highly effective exercises!
Practising & learning pieces – New modules and an index of practice tools are planned for our resources on effective practising. Step-by-step guides demonstrating how to apply the practice tools in the context of learning specific pieces of varying levels are also in development.
Repertoire – Numerous additions to our library of resources for the piano repertoire are in production featuring works by Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Mozart and Bach to name a few. We’re also embarking upon a major project featuring Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
Examination guides – Ongoing updates will be made to our recently launched series featuring walk-throughs of pieces from the new ABRSM syllabus. We will also be extending these resources to cover selections from other examination boards
Study Editions – Several new study editions are in the pipeline featuring works by Mozart, Bach and Chopin, starting with an incredibly detailed edition for one of the most famous piano pieces by the latter!
Content collections & courses
As our library continues to grow, we’re adding new ways to find, access and interact with content. A new “content collections” feature will provide curated playlists of content suggestions and guided pathways based on various themes and topics.
Following on from our pilot email course on practising, we are in the process will be adding new “micro-courses” which offer a step-by-step approach to learning about practising, learning pieces, technique or teaching.
Personalised feedback on your playing!
We’re busy working on a new “performance assessment” offering. This tool will give you the opportunity to submit videos of your playing and receive personalised feedback. As with our recently launched events programme, Online Academy subscribers will be entitled to discounts on performance assessments.
We look forward to sharing these developments with you and be sure to sign-up to our mailing list for news and updates!
It’s the Online Academy’s birthday today and a lot has happened since we first launched four years ago! Initially the site contained a few collections of videos and articles based on my eBook series. It has since grown to house almost a thousand videos with contributions from several renowned pianists and pedagogues.
The last year has been particularly busy with the launch of several new initiatives alongside an extensive production schedule. Our online events programme was launched and has proven to be very popular along with our regular “practice clinics”. We also piloted an email course on practising and were delighted to receive a glowing review from International Piano magazine.
Our plans for the year ahead are packed with a busy publishing schedule and many new initiatives to make the site even better than before (click here to find out more about what’s in store!)
The Practising the Piano Online Academy turns five in October 2021! Thanks to the support of our readers and subscribers, the site has grown significantly over the last five years. Our content library now features over 1000 videos and we’ve developed several value-added offerings, including our highly popular online events programme and practice clinics.
During the course of the month, we will be celebrating by publishing various content updates and making a selection of popular videos from our premium content library freely available. Click here to sign-up to our mailing list for updates on new and free content!
The following are some of the highlights from new content published over the last year:
Practising – New videos featuring practice tips from William Westney, an email course on how to start learning and practising a new piece and the next part in our Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum.
Technique – Several modules on how to use exercises by Hanon, Czerny and Berens, in addition to more resources on mastering scales & arpeggios.
Learning Pieces – Our repertoire library grew significantly with video walk-throughs of over 100 pieces from all levels. We also kicked-off a new series called Beethoven on Board which will ultimately feature detailed videos on each of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas!
Performing & Exam Preparation – Our project for the 2021 & 2022 ABRSM piano syllabus was completed and now includes videos for pieces from all grades and several supplementary videos with tips on preparing for other aspects of an exam.
Online Workshops & Practice Clinics
Our online workshops programme has featured over fifty events and has proven to be very popular. These events provide a live, interactive way to learn about various topics with opportunities for questions and answers. The workshops are recorded and we provide links to the video along with any relevant resources for the sessions afterwards. More information about how our online workshops work is available here.
Last year we launched monthly “practice clinics” in which Graham Fitch answers practising-related queries submitted by subscribers in advance. These are broadcast live on Facebook and are also posted up on our YouTube channel shortly afterwards. Click here to find out more or click here to view videos from past events.
We’re constantly working on extending and improving the Online Academy and look forward to sharing our future developments with you!
Technique – Further installments in our technique library project focusing on improving technique and providing recommendations and guides to popular exercises, studies and regimes
Practising – Extensions to our resources on effective practising with an index of practice tools and many additional examples in the context of repertoire of varying levels
Learning Pieces & Repertoire – More guides and examples on how to apply practice tools to learn new pieces efficiently and effectively and numerous additions of varying levels to our repertoire library
Sight-reading – Additions to our existing resources for improving sight-reading skills, including the final part of our advanced curriculum
Examination Guides – Video walk-throughs of selected repertoire from the syllabuses of several examination boards, starting with Trinity College London
We will also be making several enhancements to the Online Academy to make it easier to find and interact with content as the library continues to grow. These include various navigation improvements and applying new video viewing and online course functionality to selected content.
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.”