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Technique Library & Resources Preview

Following our announcements last year regarding upcoming projects and content, we’ve been hard at work on a collection of modules on piano technique, the first of which is now available on the Online Academy – with others to follow thereafter. These initial modules will cover technical fundamentals, scales and arpeggios and a detailed exploration of forearm rotation.

The first module explores the basics of piano technique, covering seating position, posture, whole-arm and legato touches. Using a combination of bite-sized annotated video demonstrations, musical examples and downloads, this module shows how to move in ways that are natural to the body and to achieve physical freedom for playing that feels and sounds good. It will be a good starting point for beginners and useful for piano teachers who teach beginners as well as those seeking a refresher or “health check” on the basics.   

The next module will look at the basics of scale and arpeggio playing, featuring close-up video demonstrations of the movements involved. The following video example takes a break from the technical aspects and offers a practical keyboard theory lesson showing how we can go through the circle of fifths one key at a time, clockwise in the sharp direction or anti-clockwise in the flat direction by playing the scale as a chord (all eight notes together, one tetrachord per hand). The scale-chord gives us a bird’s-eye view of the scale and is an excellent way of seeing the pattern of black and white keys as a whole.

Building on the first two modules is an extended video-based course on the principles of forearm rotation and its application, with many musical examples and text. This video excerpt shows a short example of how we might choreograph a snippet from a Mozart sonata using rotations, rather than a more traditional main-knuckle approach to finger work:

This initiative is the first phase of an ambitious, long term project to create a comprehensive online piano technique library featuring content from various pedagogical experts. Topics at all levels of playing will ultimately be covered, along with detailed information on exercises and studies – from creative approaches to the standard fare to new ideas and resources for developing technique in an effective and engaging manner. 

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Elementary Technique – Introduction and Basics is available for once-off purchase here or with an Online Academy subscription. Please click here to find out more about subscription options, or click here to view the module index if you are already a subscriber. Be sure to sign-up to our newsletter for further updates and subscribe to our YouTube channel for previews and video excerpts!

Further links & resources

  • Fundamentals of Scales & Arpeggios – The next module in in the Online Academy’s technique library which follows on from the introduction and basics. Click here to view.
  • A Practical Guide to Forearm Rotation – A step-by-step approach to incorporating forearm rotation in your playing to feel strong, coordinated and tension-free. Click here to view.
  • Mastering Piano Technique – Part 2 of the Practising the Piano eBook series provides an overview of different schools and traditions through to an extensive listing of technical exercises. Click here for more information.
  • Piano Technique Lecture Series – Video lecture series from the Piano Teachers’ Course UK on piano technique by Graham Fitch with a particular emphasis on teaching beginners and beginner exercises. Click here for more information.
  • Online Academy technique resources – Click here to view an index of existing resources on piano technique on the Online Academy or on one of the following links:

These new resources will all be available through an Online Academy subscription for as little as £13.99 a month or £119.99 per year. Please click here to find out more about the Online Academy or click here to subscribe.

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Teaching Healthy, Expressive Technique Preview

This week we bring you a preview of a new project currently under development which will be launching soon. Based on Penelope Roskell’s award-winning book The Complete Pianist, we’re creating an online course called Teaching Healthy, Expressive Piano Technique. This detailed course will show teachers how to instil healthy practice methods in students of all levels, paving the way for a lifetime of fruitful, expressive and injury-free playing.  

healthy expressive technique video example

The course is primarily aimed at teachers and conservatoire students, although much of the material will also be directly relevant to pianists themselves. It aims to give teachers both new and experienced an in-depth understanding of how to teach all aspects of piano technique to students from beginner to the advanced level.

Each topic is addressed by a step-by-step approach, starting with simple exercises which are then developed into more complex intermediate and advanced examples. The exercises are then put into practice in pieces from the standard repertoire, as well as in pieces by Penelope herself.

healthy expressive technique image

We recently participated in NCKP 2021 which due to circumstances, was a virtual conference. As part of our activities, we hosted an online session in which Penelope introduces the course and demonstrates examples of some of the material featured in the course. If you missed the event (or would like to watch it again!), you can watch a recording of the session on Youtube:

The course will be launching in the fall with further online events to follow. Please click here to sign-up to the Roskell Academy mailing list if you would like further information and updates.

About Penelope Roskell

Penelope Roskell is equally renowned as a performer of international calibre, and as an inspirational teacher. She is professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and visiting professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

As a soloist, she has played in major concert halls in more than thirty countries. She is the leading UK specialist in healthy piano playing and Piano Advisor to the British Association for Performing Arts medicine, where she holds a clinic for pianists with tensions or injuries. Her major book, The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry is one of the most significant books written on the art of piano playing in recent years.

Further links

  • Penelope’s website (click here)
  • Penelope’s author page on the Online Academy (click here)
  • The Art of Piano Fingering (click here to purchase print edition)
  • The Art of Piano Fingering (click here to purchase eBook edition)
  • Yoga for Musicians (click here)
  • Guide to Healthy Piano Playing (click here)