Why Perform? Resources for Pianists

I first published this post a few years ago, but I have recently been sent details of brand new piano meetup groups in the UK, and decided to republish this post with all the updates. Please let me know if you run a piano group and I will be happy to include your details.

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When we perform, we call on a different part of ourselves from when we practise or play alone, because these are completely different activities.

The concert stage is no place for shrinking violets. In performance we need to project our ideas about the music – as well as our sound – outwards to the listener, and we must make sure we do this convincingly so they really get it!

When we perform authoritatively we summon feelings of abandon, spontaneity, and creativity. These qualities are associated with right-brained activity, whereas practising relies on thoughtful, analytic procedures where we constantly evaluate – repeating and refining our results until we are satisfied they are correct. These are more left-brained activities.

We must be prepared to go with the punches – there’s no point worrying about the piano, or that you weren’t happy with how you played that opening phrase. In practice we go back and get it right, in performance we have to accept what comes out and just deal with it.

Performance Mindset

In performance, we need to leave our inner critic in the green room and go into another state of mind once we are on the stage, one where we are not engaged in thinking, but rather in being and doing.

We probably all know an excellent pianist who is not able to make the transition from the one state of mind to the other. While they may play wonderfully, they can’t seem to put themselves through what they perceive as the torment of public performance.

Letting go of our critic is easier for some than others. What makes a good performer is the combination of natural talent and the capacity for sheer hard work, together with the ability to let go and surrender control when on stage. Some relish the act of showmanship – performance with all its theatre – while others shrink from it, seemingly unable to believe in their own abilities or to get out of their own way.

Franz Liszt by Nadar, March 1886
Franz Liszt (a few months before his death)

Even though these words are from violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz, they apply absolutely to us pianists:

Practice like it means everything in the world to you. Perform like you don’t give a damn.

Like most other things in life, the more we do something, the easier and more familiar it becomes. Smart piano teachers have regular student concerts where everyone gets up and plays – they are all in it together. Exams and (more usefully) festivals or eisteddfods are wonderful ways of developing performance skills. You are usually playing in a fair-sized hall on a grand piano, to a built-in audience and a professional adjudicator.

At the conservatory level, there will be many opportunities for performance: concerts in front of teachers and peers, as well as higher profile events where there will be a public audience. Outside of formal exams, there will be a portfolio of in-house competitions you will be eligible to enter, and there will probably be weekly performance classes where you test out your pieces. Use as many opportunities to perform as are on offer to you, or that you can generate yourself.

Remember: The very best way to learn performance skills is to perform regularly!

For my students, I have a rule that a programme needs to be aired three times in safe, smallish situations before it is ready to be presented to a paying audience or an examiner. These smaller performances could be to an invited audience in a private home, a lunchtime recital in a church, playing in a hospital or old people’s home, etc. The run-throughs are themselves prefaced by a week of playing the programme through in its entirety daily as part of the practice regime. Only then is the programme properly seasoned and ready to be taken on the road.

For more on developing performance skills, follow this link to my blog post Cavaliers and Rounheads (click here) and to Part 4, Volume 1 of my eBook Series (click here)

The Amateur Pianist

I work with a number of amateur pianists and this is a very special part of what I do. What a privilege to be able to help people improve their playing and to express their love of music more freely and more skilfully! I notice time and time again how vital piano playing is in the lives of amateur players, who approach it with a passion that would put many a professional musician to shame.

It is of course quite possible to take piano lessons and play only for yourself at home. Many people do just this, because they are fearful when playing for others. They imagine they will make all sorts of mistakes and their playing just wouldn’t hold up under pressure. What a shame, though, not to share your playing with others who might be able to appreciate it and also support you!

Haeckel Orchidae

Think of your playing like an exotic plant, such as an orchid. You love, care for and tend to it and are proud to show it to others. It brings joy not only to you but to other people too – it really is a beautiful thing.

My advice is to take the plunge – jump in the deep end and give it  a shot. Playing the piano is probably essential in your life for recreation and self expression, and you might want a safe opportunity to perform when you have something ready to play.

Resources for Developing Pianists and Amateurs

We’re building an online directory of resources for amateur pianists, including a listing of opportunities to play for and listen to others. If you run or organise piano-themed groups or events then we’d love to include your group in our listing! Please click here to tell us a bit more and we will notify you when our directory is due to be published.

If you’re looking for opportunities to perform then please click here to visit our directory. You can also sign-up to our mailing list here to receive a free video on dealing with performance anxiety by Graham Fitch plus some additional resources to help you deliver performances that are fulfilling to both you and your listeners!

In addition to these groups, the following are some further places, groups and organisations that offer performance oportunities:

Finchcocks offers residential piano courses for adults of all abilities. Many of the guests are keen to take up the piano again, having not had time to play properly since leaving school. Equally, they cater for people who are keen to take up the piano from scratch, sometimes having not played the piano at all. At the other end of the spectrum, they offer courses for advanced players (grade 8+) who are working on their diploma as well as courses for piano teachers. I tutor regular courses at Finchcocks, and can vouch for the inspiring nature of the place, the amazing hospitality from Neil and Harriet, and the wonderful food and wine. There are nine grand pianos available.

Finchcocks courses for amateur pianists

The Summer School for Pianists. Over the past 40 years, this Summer School has established a unique place amongst an ever-growing number of summer schools being held each year throughout the British Isles. It combines an atmosphere of friendliness with musical expertise, creating a most positive and rewarding week. Within the state-of-the art setting of the Performance Hub in Walsall, people of a very wide range of pianistic levels can meet and enjoy all that’s good about music-making, without any unhealthy competitiveness or feeling of inadequacy. Participants return year after year to this keenly anticipated annual event. A warm welcome, studies with leading experts, plenty of practice pianos at this All Steinway School, good food and accommodation, recitals by tutors and students, and a final gala dinner and barn dance make the week very special indeed. I count myself privileged to have been on the tutoring staff since 2012.

Jackdaws is dedicated to improving participation in and enjoyment of music through weekend courses, education projects, a Young Artists Programme and performances by world class musicians. There are year-round programme of residential music courses that allow musicians of all abilities to come together and learn from some of the most experienced tutors in the trade. Jackdaws’ mission is to enable creative expression by bringing music to life. This goal is underpinned by the core values of inspiration, access and inclusion. Jackdaws is situated on the banks of the Mells river, surrounded by beautiful English countryside, set among the fields, rivers and valleys of Somerset. My next course will be in October 2015 – it is not yet listed on the site but please contact the organisers to register your interest.

The Chethams’ International Piano Summer School is a source of inspiration, fun, insight and focus for everyone who enjoys the piano and piano playing. Now in its thirteenth year, it continues to grow and develop as a ‘piano republic of equals’. There is no elitism on the course, though everyone is extremely serious about piano playing. There is no other summer school that manages to cater for the universal: adult amateurs, promising children and observers are as welcome on the course as concert pianists, international young artists preparing for top competitions, and professional music teachers.

The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech works for amateur festivals everywhere. Most of the festivals are competitive, and the performers receive verbal and written educational feedback from a professional adjudicator in each classification of music, dance or speech. I am proud to be one of the piano adjudicators for the Federation. There are almost 300 amateur festivals affiliated to the Federation and a similar number of professional adjudicators (in all classes) and accompanists, listed in the Yearbook and on their website. Each year the festivals attract around 1 million performers. While most entries are from children and young people, there are classes for adults too.

Setting Up a Piano Group

If you are interested in setting up something like this in your area, why not take the initiative?

If there are a few of you, you might organise regular meetings in each other’s homes. Another thought is to contact your local piano dealership – they will relish the opportunity to build bridges and develop relationships with pianists in the area, who are, after all, potential customers. It will be a win-win situation for all.

I asked Frances Wilson, co-founder of the very successful London Piano Meetup Group, to write a few words on how she set up the group:

Organising a piano group is a great way to get amateur pianists together to play, share repertoire and socialise. Playing the piano can be lonely activity, and many pianists relish the chance to meet and perform for one another. Performance opportunities afforded by piano groups are also very valuable in improving performance skills, learning how to deal with anxiety, and preparing repertoire for exams, festivals or concerts.

You can set up an informal group amongst friends, where you meet regularly at one another’s houses, or at a rehearsal space with a nice grand piano, or you can organise the group more formally, advertising events via a website and using social media to promote the activities of the group. The London Piano Meetup Group (LPMG) was formed in Spring 2013, run by piano teacher Lorraine Liyanage and myself – we are both passionate advocates of amateur pianism. LPMG uses Meetup, an easy-to-use social networking platform that allows people to organise events and meet. LPMG organizers list events on the site and members are able


A Guide to Our Content & Resources

Since its launch just under three years ago, the Online Academy has grown significantly and now contains over three hundred articles, hundreds of videos and thousands of musical examples on playing and teaching the piano from a range of highly respected experts.

Whatever your goals and ambitions for your playing or teaching for the new term ahead might be, we have numerous resources to support you in achieving them! To help you find what the content that is most useful to you, we’ve compiled the following index of some of our popular resources (a full index of resources is also available here):

  • Practise more effectively and learn new pieces faster
  • Improve your playing and technique – Click here to view a general listing of resources on piano technique or on one of the following specific topics:
    • Scales and Arpeggios – resources on playing scales and arpeggios at the elementary and intermediate levels
    • Fingering – Learn fundamental principles behind comfortable, musically appropriate fingering
    • Pedalling – A comprehensive treatise on the subject of pedalling
    • Double Notes – Detailed advice on how to practise scales, exercises and studies featuring this challenging area of technique
    • Technical Exercises – An overview of exercises and regimes and suggestions for how to use Hanon’s exercises
    • Sight Reading – Improve your sight reading with a range of sample works and exercises from ReadAhead
  • Learn new pieces
    • Click here to view our library of walk throughs and resources for sixty works from the repertoire various resources including:
    • From the Ground Up – A series which uses outlines and reduced scores that help you to learn new pieces more effectively
  • Develop your skills as a teacher and empower your students – Click here to view a listing of our teaching resources developed in partnership with the Piano Teachers Course UK. Topics covered include teaching beginners, practical psychology, technique and practising.
  • Prepare for an exam – Our examination guides contain walkthroughs of selected pieces and resources on scales and arpeggios for ABRSM and Trinity College examination syllabi
  • Learn how to improvise or teach improvisation
    • Anyone Can Improvise – A step-by-step system for learning to play by ear and improvise
    • Create First! – A collection of solo and duet pieces designed to teach improvisation to students of all ages
  • Reduce tension and avoid injury – Click here for a collection of invaluable resources by healthy piano playing expert Penelope Roskell
  • Overcome performance anxiety – Click here to view resources from performance coach Charlotte Tomlinson on overcoming performance anxiety and delivering performances that reflect your true potential

As part of various enhancements and new features that we will be rolling out over the coming months, we’ve also just added a new search wizard tool which provides a quick and easy way to find relevant content. Click here to try it out! 

Click here to find out more about the Online Academy or click here to subscribe!

Practising the Piano eBook Series 

There are surprisingly few books that deal with the art of practising. This multimedia eBook series contains hundreds of videos, audio clips, music examples and downloadable worksheets to show you exactly what need to do in order to get the most out of your practice time. Click here for more information.

Practising the Piano Online Academy

Building on my blog posts and eBook series, the Online Academy takes my work to the next level with a comprehensive library of lessons, masterclasses and resources combined with insights from other leading experts. Aimed at piano teachers and pianists, it will transform the way you approach playing or teaching the piano!

Please click here to find out more about the Online Academy or on one of the options below to subscribe:

  • Monthly subscription – Subscribe for £13.99 a month to get full, unlimited access to all Online Academy articles and updates (click here to sign-up for this option)
  • Annual subscription – Save on the monthly subscription with an annual subscription for £119.99 per year and get free eBooks and editions worth over £70! (click here to sign-up for this option)

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. 


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.


Improve Your Technique! – Resources & Workshops

Mastering piano technique is essential to have the freedom to successfully express your musical intentions. If improving your technique is among your #pianogoals for 2021 then we’ve got you covered!

The Online Academy features an extensive collection of resources on technique, including video lessons and eBooks. We also have several online workshops lined up which will help you develop various aspects of your piano technique!

improve your technique

Resources for improving technique

We’ve recently added the following resources to the Online Academy’s technique library:

  • Developing a Balanced Technique – Ilga Pitkevica shares insights into approaches for achieving “pianistic fitness” based on her experience of the traditions of the Russian School of piano playing (includes two new videos on how to use Hanon!). Click here fore more information.
  • The Exercises of Peter Feuchtwanger – Graham Fitch and Daniel Grimwood share their experiences in working with Peter Feuchtwanger and discuss his unique exercises. Click here fore more information.

The following are some of our other most popular resources:

  • Foundations of Good Technique – Video lecture series on how to teach good pianistic habits and ease of movements from the start, and tackle problems in piano playing caused by lack of flexibility. Click here to view.
  • Elementary Technique (Introduction and Basics) – Module exploring the basics of piano technique. Click here to view or click here for more information on other modules.
  • Mastering Piano Technique – Part 2 of Graham Fitch’s 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.

These resources are all available with an annual subscription to the Online Academy or can be purchased individually from our store.

Online technique workshops

Why not join one of our online workshops for a more hands-on experience and an opportunity to have your questions on technique answered?

  • Using Technical Exercises and Studies Effectively (Saturday 6th February @ 14:00 – 15:30 GMT) – Graham Fitch presents a selection of widely-used technical studies and exercises. Click here for more information.
  • Introduction to Forearm Rotation (Saturday 6th February @ 16:00 – 17:30 GMT) –  A hands-on introduction to incorporating forearm rotation into your playing. Click here for more information.
  • Creating a Beautiful Piano Sound (Saturday 20th February @ 15:00 – 17:00 GMT) – Penelope Roskell explains the principles behind producing a beautiful tone quality using exercises from her book, The Complete Pianist. Click here fore more information.

More information on how our online events work is available here and details of other events are available here.

Share your Piano Goals with us!

Start 2021 on a high note by sharing your #pianogoals for the year with us and stand a chance to win a year’s subscription to the Online Academy valued at £119.99!

Whether it’s learning a piece, developing a specific aspect of technique, playing for others or learning something new, we’d love to hear what your ambitions for the year are!

Click on one of the following links to share your goals with us:


Resources for Improving Sight-reading – Practising the Piano

Improving your sight-reading has many benefits beyond simply getting a better mark in an examination. It allows you to play a wider range of music and gives you more opportunities to make music with others. Sight-reading also develops many other skills essential for overall musical development.

Despite being such an important skill, sight-reading is often not taught directly and therefore it’s difficult to know how to go about practising it. With this in mind, we have built an extensive collection of sight-reading resources on the Online Academy to help you and your students practice sight-reading.

Advanced Sight-reading Curriculum

Created by Ken Johansen and derived from his experience teaching sight-reading to piano majors at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, our Advanced Sight-Reading Curriculum provides a unique, structured approach to developing the key skills that underpin a good sight-reading ability.

It consists of an extensive collection of annotated scores dealing with every aspect of sight-reading, together with detailed suggestions on how to practise, covering everything from training the eyes to read more efficiently, to recognising patterns, simplifying complex textures and mastering difficult rhythms.

advanced sight-reading resources

We’ve recently added a new instalment which teaches how to keep a regular pulse while tackling challenges such as recognising underlying rhythmic structures, subdividing the pulse accurately, handling polyrhythms and negotiating the sometimes confusing visual impression given by different kinds of meters. Click on one of the following links to find out more:

Read Ahead

This sight-reading curriculum comprises a curated collection of carefully ordered sight-reading examples from the elementary to intermediate levels. The examples feature related exercises and quizzes to help students develop the mental and tactile skills necessary for fluent sight-reading. Click here to view level 1, click here for level 2, click here for Level 3 or click here for Level 4 (recently added) on the Online Academy.

elementary and intermediate sight-reading resources

Other resources

  • Teaching & Developing Sight-reading Skills – A collection of free articles by Read Ahead developers Travis Hardaway and Ken Johansen on the Online Academy
  • Preparing for an Exam (Sight Reading) – In these new videos from our collection of piano examination resources, Graham Fitch gives some tips and ideas for incorporating sight-reading into lessons and daily practising.
  • Online Workshops – Our online events programme has also featured several sight-reading workshops. Access to recordings, presentations and other resources from these events is available via the following links:

A Sight Reading Tour – Resources for Improving Sight Reading

In this week’s post, Online Academy co-founder, Ryan Morison, gives an account of his early encounters with sight reading as a music student. Ryan also introduces a series of videos in which he shares his first-hand experience using our Advanced Sight Reading Curriculum in a later attempt to improve his skills!


Sight reading was definitely the weakest link for me as a young musician. With the main focus of lesson and practice time being learning new repertoire and improving technique, developing sight reading skills was largely neglected. I recall in my Grade 8 exam I lost almost as many  marks on the sight-reading tests than the four prepared repertoire pieces combined!

You Have It or You Don’t?

By the time I was at university studying music, I was well aware of my deficiencies having encountered many musicians who were incredible sight readers. One of them was a professor who could literally play just about anything put in front of him at sight. I asked him how one goes about developing this ability and his answer was, “You either have it or you don’t!”.

Less defeatist was another lecturer who said it just takes lots of practice and also advised doing some accompanying. The latter is an excellent way to improve, but requires a certain base level of ability in order to avoid making a fool of oneself. I simply wasn’t good enough to make this a viable path to improvement and to be fair, many other instrumentalists were blissfully unaware of how difficult the piano parts for their repertoire often were!

Realising that this was holding me back, I did try incorporate sight reading into my daily practice for a few months. However, without a systematic approach, this yielded little progress and was quickly dropped in favour of other activities likely to yield more immediate results such as refining repertoire for a performance and learning new pieces.

A Structured Approach to Sight Reading

I was delighted when many years later I was approached in my capacity as an online publisher by two professors Peabody Institute, Travis Hardaway and Ken Johansen. They were developing an app called Read Ahead which aimed to make it easier to incorporate sight reading into lessons and daily practising.

After adding a selection of content from the Read Ahead curriculum to the Online Academy, we then went on to publish a curriculum for the advanced level based on the materials Ken uses to teach the subject to piano majors at the Peabody. Given my failed attempts to address my deficiencies, the Advanced Sight Reading Curriculum was of personal interest as it represented a much more structured, methodical approach than simply practising and hoping for an improvement.

A structured approach to sight reading

Unfinished Business with Sight Reading

Although I have no intention on signing up for any piano exams, being adept at sight reading offers many benefits. In addition to being exposed to a greater variety of repertoire, it also enables one to learn new pieces faster and opens up more opportunities for making music with others.

Earlier this year I embarked upon a project to broaden my active repertoire. Working on this new curriculum represented a fantastic opportunity to revisit my unfinished business with sight reading while also supporting the ambitions of my repertoire project. Therefore I decided to give it a try for myself and share my experiences in using it.

A Guided Tour

In this introductory video I share a bit more background regarding my sight reading experiences and give a brief overview of the curriculum:

Following on from the above video, I will be publishing a series of videos offering a guided tour of the curriculum, module by module. In each of these videos I will share what I learnt along with general tips and ideas for practising sight reading which will hopefully be useful regardless of whether you give the curriculum a try yourself. I will also provide a few suggestions on how the curriculum and some of its ideas at a less advanced or intermediate level.

These videos will be posted via  my website, blog and social accounts. You can also sign-up to my mailing list for notifications of new videos here.

Further Resources & Links

  • Advanced Sight Reading Curriculum
  • Read Ahead – A curated collection of carefully ordered sight reading examples and exercises from the elementary to intermediate levels. Click on one of the following links to view on the Online Academy:
  • Teaching & Developing Sight Reading Skills – A collection of free articles by Read Ahead developers Travis Hardaway and Ken Johansen on the Online Academy
  • Preparing for an Exam (Sight Reading) – In these new videos from our collection of piano examination resources, Graham Fitch gives some tips and ideas for incorporating sight-reading into lessons and daily practising.
  • Online Workshops – Our online events programme has also featured several sight-reading workshops. Access to recordings, presentations and other resources from these events is available via the following links:

Back to School Resources & News Resources & News

It’s back to school for many of us after what we hope was a lovely summer break! As always, we have an exciting line-up over the coming months with our online events programme resuming, new content features and various updates. This week we bring you some useful “back to school” resources and a preview of what we have in store.

Back to School Resources

The following are some of our resources that you might find useful as you embark upon the year ahead:

  • Learning pieces – If you’re learning (or teaching) a new piece then why not try our free email course which introduces a process, principles and practice tools for more efficient and effective learning. Click here to sign-up.
  • Examinations – We have an extensive library of piano examination resources featuring 100+ videos and have recently added new videos on preparing for sight reading and aural tests. We will soon be adding new videos on preparing for a performance and the new Trinity piano syllabus. Click here for further details and links.
  • Music theory for pianists – A knowledge of music theory enables you to learn repertoire faster and to interpret it more authentically. If you’re preparing for an exam or would like a music theory refresher then take a look at our new series There’s More to Playing the Piano on the Online Academy.
Back to school learn a new piece

Upcoming Content & Features

Our publishing schedule features several exciting new collections and various additions to existing ones.  Highlights include:

  • New Sonatas in our Beethoven on Board project
  • A set of resources on studies and exercises for developing the left hand and an arrangement of a Bach cello suite for the left hand by Graham Fitch
  • Several videos on exercises, studies and various aspects of technique, including octaves, will be added to our growing technique library
  • New study editions featuring works by Bach and Brahms
  • Resources for the Trinity examination syllabus featuring a selection of repertoire from each grade

We will also be launching a new online course on teaching healthy, expressive piano technique by Penelope Roskell based on her acclaimed book, The Complete Pianist. Click here to find out more or here to sign-up for updates on this project.

Next online Events

Our online events programme resumes in September with a workshop by Penelope Roskell on tone production on 17th September. Our next practice clinic will take place @ 12:00 BST on 22nd September. Please visit our courses and events page for further details.

Lastly, October is a special month for us in that the Online Academy will be turning five and we have various festivities planned to celebrate this milestone! Please click here for further information and be sure to sign-up to our mailing list here for further updates and details. 



Resources for Improving Piano Technique

Although it’s a means to an end, a refined piano technique is important for being able to realise our artistic aspirations at the piano. If you’re looking to work on your technique, our technique library has a vast array of resources to help you develop many aspects of your technique at all levels.

We’ve also compiled a selection of our most popular modules and video lessons on improving your piano technique for beginners, teachers and pianists seeking a technical “refresher”! This collection comprises the following modules:

Elementary Piano Technique – Introduction & Basics

Based on motions that are natural to the body, this introductory module explores the basics of piano technique, through a series of videos demonstrating how to move in ways that are natural the body to achieve physical freedom for playing that feels and sounds good. It serves as a starting point for beginners and will also be useful to teachers or those seeking a refresher on the basics. Click here for more information.

Graham Fitch teaches fundamentals of piano technique

Elementary Piano Technique – Fundamentals of Scales & Arpeggios

This module follows on from the introductory module to explore the fundamentals of scale and arpeggio playing, featuring close-up video demonstrations of the movements involved. It provides suggestions and exercises for mastering technical challenges such as thumb passage and gaining speed, with further tips on how to structure scale and using finger groupings and families. Click here for more information.

The Art of Piano Fingering

A thorough understanding of the principles of good fingering is a vital basis for good piano playing. Without comfortable, musically appropriate fingerings, we can waste hours of practice time trying to remedy a problem which could have been averted much earlier. In this series of articles and videos based on her book by the same title, Penelope Roskell looks at the fundamental principles which lie at the heart of good fingering. Click here for more information.

Foundations of Good Technique

In these video lectures Ilga shares her experience on how to teach good pianistic habits and ease of movements from the start, and how to tackle problems in piano playing caused by lack of flexibility. Ease of movement helps not only to avoid tension and unnecessary rigidness in piano playing, but it has a direct effect on building up speed and precision in piano technique. Click here for more information.

Healthy Piano Playing

It’s all very well spending hours honing your technique, but injury can prove to be a major set-back to your progress. In this guide, specialist in healthy piano playing and pianist’s injuries Penelope Roskell provides a comprehensive guide to developing a healthy technique with detailed information and numerous video demonstrations on how to prevent and recover from the most common piano-related injuries. Click here to read the introduction.

Penelope Roskell on healthy piano technique

A Practical Guide to Forearm Rotation

Forearm rotation is a way of coordinating the arm with the fingers in very specific and controlled ways and can yield significant benefits, including improved coordination, reduced tension and a feeling of greater strength in your playing. This step-by-step guide equips you with the basic theory as you experience and install the movements, with videos and musical examples demonstrating each stage. Click here to read the module introduction.

Forearm rotation to improve piano technique

Jailbreaking Hanon

In this newly completed lecture series, Graham Fitch shows many applications for Hanon’s exercises, including how they can be used as a blank canvas to experience and develop movements encountered in real music, such as lateral wrist adjustments, wrist circles, rotational movements and more! Click here to view the introductory video.

Special Offer!

Get access to all of the resources listed above when purchasing our Ultimate Technique Bundle and save an additional 20% with our summer promotion! This offer gives you access to over 50 articles and videos for only £36 (full price £45) as a once-off purchase. Click here to take advantage of this special offer.

Other Technique Resources

Click on any of the following links for more information on additional resources for piano technique: