I’ll get back to blogging after I finish my Masters which, fingers crossed, should be completed by the end of the year. Things have been too relentless with a (very) full-time teaching load, all the while trying to find the time to maintain my physical fitness and the incessant practice required to prepare a 70 minute recital from memory. Continue reading

MuseScore 2 released

Last year MuseScore released a major update to its open source engraving software. The changes between version 1 an 2 were so great, there was actually a bit of a learning curve in getting my head around it. I’d immediately uninstalled version 1, but had to quickly re-install it in order to retain formatting of the files created in the old version, and also to allow me time to learn how to use version 2. I run both versions of the software concurrently simply because of all the files I have that were created in the old version. Continue reading

Happy New Year!

Here’s one of the most cynical quotes I’ve ever come across, and love:

When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults, and they enter society, one of the politer names of Hell.

Sometimes I wonder whether we’re killing childhood too with all the stress and incessant testing and assessment that gets piled onto them at school. Could be worse though, if Australia started needing Korean-style Hagwons. Continue reading

My upcoming Master’s recital

Apologies for the lack of activity on this blog in recent weeks. I always aim for at least a few posts each month but things are a bit crazy right now – my first Master’s recital is fast approaching on 7 December, so all my spare time is devoted to practising for that. I do have lots of ideas and resources to share though, and I’ve pretty much created my own Primer-level piano method for 5 to 8-year-old beginner students based on the Kodaly training that I’ve done, so I’m pretty excited to be using that with many of my students currently. Check back in later in December for more posts, and happy teaching!

5 pop songs my piano students have worked on lately

As a sort of follow-up to a previous post, 5 great songs for students to sing while playing piano, here are another five pop songs I’ve worked on with various students recently – ones that I’ve really enjoyed. For all of them, the student has learnt to play the chords in an accompaniment style, while singing. Links to the sheet music on MusicNotes are provided below, though keep in mind that I use them as a leadsheet for the chords and lyrics only. I don’t have the student learn these songs through notation. Continue reading

How to teach a new piece of repertoire to a piano student

I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before but it’s worth some extra consideration. The fundamental question I want to consider is this: should a student listen to a recording of the piece before learning to play it on piano?

Recent discussions on this question in a Facebook group of piano teachers seemed to indicate a majority view for learning a new piece purely through reading it, and very deliberately not listening to a recording of it, or a demonstration of the teacher playing it. Listening to a recording was viewed as an inhibiting reading skills.

I argued for the minority view in the aforementioned discussion: that it is beneficial and desirable to listen to a recording. There are multiple issues at play here though, so let me outline them briefly. Continue reading