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Rhythm, Pedalling, Debussy & Mozart

In this month’s Practice Clinic, Graham Fitch answers questions on problems with rhythm, practising without the pedal, a sonata by Mozart and Debussy’s Arabesque No. 2.

Debussy Arabesque No. 2
Debussy’s Arabesque No. 2

Practice clinic questions

Practising without the pedal – Why is it good to practise a piece (that requires pedal) without the pedal?

Mozart Sonata in A, K331 (1st mvt) – This piece is on the new ABRSM 2023 & 24 grade 8 syllabus and some guidance on phrasing and pedalling in the Andante and variation 4 would be really appreciated!

Problems with Rhythm – Almost every piece I work on I have trouble with the rhythm. It’s not consistent throughout the piece or it’s just wrong. I don’t think I hear / feel the internal beat and struggle particularly when playing triplets. I’ve used the metronome, but my teacher says I don’t stay on the beat and I count out aloud when playing but nothing seems to help. What can I do to fix this? Even tried tapping with one hand. Almost six years is a long time to still be dealing with this. Help!

Debussy Arabesque No. 2 – I’m working on this piece and struggle with the section from bar 38 – specifically how to play the staccato notes when it appears that pedal is needed. Any advice on how to lighten my touch at the beginning would also be appreciated.

Next practice clinic

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Further information on how our practice clinics work is available here or please click here to find out more about the Online Academy.