February 12, 2019

What do children expect and hope for from piano lessons?

When I was very young I used to lie in bed listening to my dad play the piano. I imagined there was a massive concert hall downstairs with swishy red velvet curtains and a huge, appreciative audience. My mum also...

December 4, 2018

‘What do you do?’
‘Mostly, I teach the piano.’
And there the conversation ends as my interlocutor recalls her rather strict and musty childhood piano teacher and the grim lessons she endured until her parents realised that she was getting nowhere and lessons should...

October 14, 2018

Let me tell you about something that happened to me when I was 14 years old. Every Saturday I travelled to London to attend the Royal College of Music Junior Department. (I loved it and it was almost all a very positive experience!) Each year we auditioned for places i...

September 30, 2018

When I asked this question of various people all sorts of lovely answers came back with words such as:

enable, encourage, inspire, teach (!), make possible, set the direction, expert, thoughtful, playful, tactful, purposeful, engaging, patient, fun, caring, flexible, kn...

September 11, 2018

“Music is so powerful in our lives because it’s always there. People come and go. Jobs come and go. Relationships come and go. But music stays. Take comfort, no matter how crazy things get, music will be there for you.” (

About 30 years ago I decided...

September 1, 2018

What do you remember about your first piano lesson? Your child's first piano lesson? 

My first lessons were happy occasions with my dad. I remember my first 'proper' teacher (sorry dad), Mrs Shepherd. She had a big oval ring on one of her fingers; she had the shortest h...

August 26, 2018

The new teaching term starts in just over a week. I have a big pile of shiny new books for most of my students. There is an air of expectation and, dare I say, excitement as we approach the new term. 

My head is buzzing with ideas - too many of them! This morning I...

August 19, 2018

...and, breathe...

Players of wind instruments have a bit of an advantage on the breathing front; their playing is dependent upon it. They also have a disadvantage; their playing is dependent upon it! 

In the orchestral workshop sessions I run, the wind players and I wil...

August 12, 2018

The most important thing in the quest for improvement and progress in learning an instrument is effective practice. As such, the most important role of the teacher is communicating with students how to practise effectively. Ideally, the student practises at home, comes...

August 10, 2018

If you had to choose ONE word to describe yourself professionally what would it be?

A fair bit of discussion on Facebook followed yesterday's blog post about the instrumental music teaching profession being unregulated. A few more thoughts...

The reason I am concerned th...

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