Congratulations to Capable Caroline!

Caroline Lim has been awarded The Barton Grange Trophy for Music for the year 2019.

Caroline has just turned 12 and attends Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School. She has been taking lessons with me for a just over  3 years.

When she started, she had played a little before but was very much a beginner. Now she is working for Grade 6 piano – showing tremendous progress and a lot of dedication on her part.

Recently she passed the Grade 5 Music Theory exam with 99 percent. Caroline comes from a musical family (her Mum also plays the piano) and she is also a very keen gymnast, so she is very busy!

Well done Caroline – a great achievement!

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Merry Christmas Everyone!

It is my final week of teaching before Christmas and jolliness abounds! ….

Christmas themed solos and duets float through the studio, and many musical games are played – Composers Snap for the little ones, then musical dominoes and my legendary annual “Listening Challenge” for older children (and some adults who want to take part)……!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, and my very warmest wishes for a peaceful and happy 2020.

Anne 🙂

 

 

 

 

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The start of a new term, but the end of an era too!

It’s the beginning of a new academic year for me today, but also the end of an era – my piano tuner of many years, Mr. Jim Titterington, has done his final tune of my piano. All the very best for your retirement Jim; I will miss our chats and coffees as you tune!IMG_20190902_1110353


The nights are drawing in, a busy new term beckons and I receive wonderful news!

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I’m getting ready to restart teaching next week and here are some of the books I will be using. It’s going to be a very busy term with some new students beginning and others moving further upwards on their musical journey.

I’ve had a great break – a motorbike tour with my husband to the Black Forest – but now I am feeling ready for new challenges with my pupils.

Whilst I was away I received some wonderful news – a late exam result (part of a special ABRSM visit):

Heart felt congratulations to Alex Peters, who gained a distinction for his Grade 8 piano! I have taught Alex since he was a little boy, right from the start and so it is extremely satisfying for me as a teacher to see someone progress from their first steps to a high degree of musical proficiency. Alex’s achievement is all the more outstanding as he also took Grade 8 organ only a couple of days later and gained a distinction for that as well (I don’t teach organ by the way!) For the past year he has been the Music Scholar at Ripley St Thomas School in Lancaster but he will soon be leaving for Durham University to study engineering – and he has been awarded an organ scholarship there as well.

All the very best for what I am sure will be a successful time at university, Alex.

For his Grade 8 piano examination this was Alex’s programme:

 

J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A minor from WTC Part 2

Beethoven: Presto Alla Tedesca, Sonata in G Op.79

Chopin: Nocturne in G Minor, Op.37 No 1

It’s always interesting which pieces from the Grade 8 syllabus students choose  – I have a possible 7 pupils planning to sit Grade 8 piano in the coming academic year, so I am getting rather familiar with the current syllabus. There has been some doubling up between them in choices but also some highly individualistic decisions made (including the “crazy” Kuhlau Sonatina in C – actually I rather like it!) You will see on my music stand in the picture the beautiful Poulenc Improvisations – one of these is set and I am looking forward to teaching it.

 

 


Living the Dream – Keith’s Story

Living the Dream: Keith’s Story

 

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Keith started lessons with me about 5 years ago, as a total beginner. He had always loved music and came from a family of singers. His wife is also a keen musician. However, Keith had never learned to play an instrument before. He had been too occupied with a busy working and family life.

“It’s been the lack of time”, says Keith. “I was self-employed running my own business for 30 years………then we went to Benidorm on holiday a few years ago and there were a group of men in the hotel we were staying in. One of the guys just got up and started playing the piano one night – and I thought how fantastic it would be to be able to do that.”

It was with this story that Keith came to meet me. Since then, he has come on leaps and bounds. He is an enthusiastic practiser and says that sometimes he can’t wait to get home to practise. A couple of years ago Keith decided that he would like to take some exams – and he now has shiny certificates for Grades 1, 2 and 3 ABRSM Piano. But his greatest satisfaction is his new skill in being able to create music. That’s not to say he has always found it easy; it is a hard won skill and we are still continuing on Keith’s rewarding musical journey.

He says “My daughter’s friend was recently round at our house and she was listening whilst I was playing. She suddenly said “Flippin’ ‘eck Keith! You can really play!””

So if you have always wanted to learn ..….it really is never too late. Or if you want to return to lessons having learnt as a child…….get in touch for a chat. Whatever your goals are I will do my best to help you achieve them and we will have a lot of fun along the way……. You could soon be “Living the Dream” like Keith!

Anne 🙂


Playing to the trees and the birds at Anne Topping School of Music!

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I had a lovely day out to Lancaster for some summer exams today – including accompanying my adult student Rosalind for her Grade 5 Violin exam. Here is a picture of her warming up on the roof of my studio before we set out. Rosalind came to me as a young adult student a few years ago, and as a beginner on the violin. Since then she has made great progress, passing Grade 4 with a very high Distinction mark last year – and she has also joined an orchestra.  🙂

 

Rosalind played pieces by Bach, Kreisler and Kodaly in her exam.

Let’s hope the sunny weather was a good omen!

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A new addition to my studio

Today I received delivery of a new digital piano – a Casio GP300 Celviano Grand Hybrid, with keys made by Bechstein. I will be using this in some lessons as it has some fun and helpful features – as well as being pretty great to play! Of course my Yamaha S Series Grand piano will continue to be the instrument that I and my pupils play the most because the experience of performing and learning on an acoustic piano is important for all sorts of reasons – but this is a great addition to the resources I can offer during lessons and I am looking forward to using it with students.

 

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Congratulations (some belated) to some hard working students!

IMG_20190205_1218123Firstly, congratulations to Matthew Rees who has been awarded the Barton Grange Trophy for Music for the year 2018. Matthew is 14 and passed his Grade 6 Piano exam with Merit last summer. He has made really good progress and is now working towards Grade 7. Well done!

I also wanted to mention two other students who worked extremely hard last year and gained exceptional results –

Firstly, Emma Coffey who passed her Grade 8 Violin exam (having passed Grade 8 Piano with Merit previously in 2017) and also Abi Brownrigg, who passed Grade 8 Piano with Merit in December. Two exceptionally dedicated and deserving students who deserved their excellent results!

Of course, passing exams isn’t ALL that learning an instrument is about – but for many it is a real sense of achievement when that hard won certificate in received. It often means an awful lot and rewards all the hard work and consistent dedication – so I am delighted for students when they gain their qualifications.


Congratulations Abi!

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The Barton Grange Trophy for Music has been awarded to Abi Brownrigg for the year 2017. Abi is 16 and attends Garstang Community Academy. She has passed Grade 7 piano with Merit and is now working towards Grade 8. Abi has also passed Grade 7 trumpet so she is an accomplished musician……..and her favourite colour is mustard!

Well done Abi – it’s well deserved!

Anne  🙂


Double success for Kim and Emma, and a triumph for Laurence!

I had some super news today – Kim B. and Emma C. who both took Grade 8 Piano last term got their results and both passed with a Merit. I’ve taught both of them since they were little titches and they are both hard working so the results were well deserved!

Congratulations to them both – I’m really delighted for them. 🙂

One of my adult students, Laurence, was also surprised to hear he had passed his Grade 7 Piano exam with Distinction. He may have been surprised, but I can’t say that I was. So congratulations to Laurence as well! Grade 8 here we come!

Anne