Category Archives: Musings

Spontaneity in Music

Over on the Cross-Eyed Pianist’s blog, the wonderful pianist Stephen Hough said something in his interview that has really resonated with me: “study the score intensely then play as if you’re improvising”. I’ve written previously about improvisation, or spontaneous composition … Continue reading

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To look or not to look…

Here’s a silly question – if you’re not going to look at the score when you play, where should you look? Vocalists typically look out at the audience, as do many instrumental soloists. Pianists (and a few others – cellists, … Continue reading

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Memorising music for beginners

A number of people have mentioned that they would like to try playing from memory, but don’t know where to begin. Why bother, some might ask, when you can just use the score? For me, playing from memory is not … Continue reading

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Playing from the score

Since starting this blog a year ago, I’ve come to realise that I am a memorising snob! To me, memorising music is the same as learning it. Although there is far, far more to learning and successfully performing a piece … Continue reading

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Chetham’s, school of flying fingers

I have just returned from an amazing week at Chetham’s International Piano Summer School in Manchester, UK. This year was my third visit and, as usual, it didn’t disappoint. The summer school is full of hundreds of piano-maniacs, ranging from … Continue reading

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Earworms – commonplace musical memories

We’ve all had the initially enjoyable then endlessly irritating experience of a tune being stuck in the head. Typically, a fragment of a half-remembered melody gets repeatedly hummed and whistled over and over again throughout the day. Sometimes this earworm … Continue reading

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Mental practice and a holiday from playing

Many musicians worry about how to keep repertoire fresh and accurate when practising simply isn’t possible. I haven ‘t touched the piano for a week, and although my recent holiday in the mountains was undoubtedly restorative for the mind and … Continue reading

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