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.
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
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!
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!
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.