April 2022

E24: Brain Lateralisation Episode 3- Hands-on coaching at the piano

By |April 25th, 2022|Discussion, Learning/ Practising, Mindfulness|

A practical masterclass demonstrating how an understanding of the two brain hemispheres can help us deal with performance anxiety, and help us identify and deal with obstacles to our natural musicianship when learning and practising a new piece.

Show Notes

  • [3:05] Learning hands separately or together?
  • [7:40] Psychological strategies for dealing with performance anxiety, and finding an optimal state of mind before we start to practice […]

E23: Brain Lateralisation Episode 2- How to start applying these concepts to our piano playing

By |April 25th, 2022|Discussion, Learning/ Practising, Mindfulness|

A further introduction into how an understanding of the two brain hemispheres can help us with aspects of musicianship that are normally considered ‘unteachable’!

Show Notes

  • [2:30] Summing up important concepts from the last episode
  • [6:35] The neuroscience of the hemispheres is still in a (sometimes controversial) process of discovery- what may be most useful for musicians is to explore the two distinct ways of perceiving […]

E22: Brain Lateralisation Episode 1- Techniques For Deep Musicality

By |April 25th, 2022|Discussion, Learning/ Practising, Mindfulness|

An introduction into how an understanding of the two brain hemispheres can help us with aspects of musicianship that are normally considered ‘unteachable’!

Show Notes

  • [6:30] The story of how I came to understand the fundamental difference between the two brain hemispheres. The difference between analytic & holistic processing. Narrow focus & broad focus
  • [10:35] The evolutionary explanation for divided brains
  • [14:15] Right hemisphere gives the […]

October 2021

E21: Leeds International Piano Competition (‘The Leeds’) 2021 Review

By |October 22nd, 2021|Interviews, Review|

Not only just a review of the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition, but also a wider examination of the issues brought up by competition in music, the role of music in communities, interviews with some of my favourite competitors including the winner Alim Beisembayev, audio clips from the unofficially linked Leeds Pub Piano Competition event, discussion with the competitors about how they deal with the nerves […]

E20: LCM (London College of Music) 2021 Piano Syllabus- Review

By |October 4th, 2021|Review|

After a long wait, LCM have published a brand new piano syllabus- which covers exams from Pre-Preparatory level to Grade 8. Find out how it compares to ABRSM, Trinity, and Rockschool Classical’s recent new syllabuses.

A written summary of this review is available here: https://heartofthepiano.com/summary-of-podcast-review-lcm-london-college-of-music-2021-piano-syllabus/

Show Notes

  • Who are LCM/ London College of Music? [0:50]
  • The previous 2018-2020 LCM […]

July 2021

E19: Rockschool Rock/Pop Piano Syllabus- Review

By |July 14th, 2021|Review|

Listen to see why I’m so enthusiastic about Rockschool’s Rock/Pop Piano grades for piano! Following on from my previous review, I also give more information for those considering the new Rockschool Classical grades.

Show Notes

  • Excellent for fixing common rhythmic weaknesses in classical students [3:05]
  • The difference between the graded exams and the performance certificates [4:30]
  • The improvisation […]

June 2021

E18: Rockschool New Classical Piano Syllabus 2021- Review

By |June 16th, 2021|Review|

Rockschool has recently released an exciting new set of classical piano grades! Listen to this review to find out their strengths and weaknesses, including my strong misgivings.

Show Notes

  • Identity crisis [2:50]
  • No mention of balanced programme [5:50]
  • Difficult to assess across different styles with no requirement for balanced programme [6:40]
  • Excellent representation of women and BIPOC [9:46]
  • […]

September 2020

E17: Why I’m moving my students from ABRSM to Trinity- reviews of their new 2021 piano syllabuses

By |September 25th, 2020|Review|

The Heart of the Piano Podcast is back with a review of the new piano syllabuses from ABRSM and Trinity, which take you from an Initial Grade to Grade 8. Listen to the podcast to discover some reasons why me and many other piano teachers are now defecting from ABRSM to Trinity!

ABRSM Piano Syllabus

December 2019

E16: Interview with Karl Lutchmayer- British-Indian Concert Pianist, Steinway Artist, Academic, and Rock Keyboardist!

By |December 15th, 2019|Discussion, Interviews|

An absorbing, enlightening and entertaining conversation with Karl Luthmayer- musical raconteur, international concert pianist, academic, rock star keyboardist & theremin player in a prog-rock band!

As well as chatting about Karl’s career and piano playing, we discuss his fascinating research on facial expressiveness in piano performers, the history and aesthetics of piano concert arrangements, the explosion of interest in Western classical music in India, concert etiquette and […]

April 2019

E14: Interview with Karen Bulmer of the Music, Mind, and Movement Podcast

By |April 17th, 2019|Discussion, Interviews, Mindfulness|

I was so excited about interviewing Karen Bulmer that it only very recently occurred to me after recording the interview that Karen is not actually a pianist! But every musician will get so much from listening to this episode, and I think particularly us pianists who often have to juggle so many things happening at once in our music will really benefit from so much of […]

E13: Interview with Adam Gatehouse, Artistic Director of the Leeds International Piano Competition

By |April 3rd, 2019|Interviews|

The Leeds International Piano Competition is one of the top 3 most important and prestigious piano competitions in the world, with previous finalists such as Murray Perahia, Mitsuko Uchida, András Schiff… and dozens more names that anybody familiar with classical pianists will recognise instantly as being in the top row of the best, most important, and most successful artists in the business.

The competition has always owed […]

March 2019

E12: Interview with Olga Georgievskaya, Russian Concert Pianist

By |March 27th, 2019|Interviews, Learning/ Practising|

Olga is not only a superb pianist- her CD shows off her deep soulful & expressive playing with a highly refined ear for counterpoint, layers and structure- but her concert transcription of the Vitali Chaconne for solo piano is an absolute masterpiece, and she has also done a PhD on polyphony in Rachmaninov’s music… I absolutely had to interview her!

I’m afraid my enthusiasm for details about […]

E10: Interview with Erica Worth, editor of Pianist Magazine

By |March 7th, 2019|Interviews|

Erica is the editor of UK-based Pianist Magazine, an internationally renowned magazine for people who love to play the piano. It features interviews with top concert pianists, full-length features on current issues, how-to piano lessons, CD and sheet music reviews, Questions and Answers, teaching tips and concert highlights.

I thought, who better to chat with than the editor of one of the world’s top piano magazines for […]

February 2019

E09: Interview with Melvin Besbrode of Besbrode Pianos- one of the biggest piano stores in the UK

By |February 17th, 2019|Interviews|

This time, my friend Andy Cole did the interviewing, chatting with Melvin Besbrode, owner of one of the biggest piano stores in the UK- situated in Leeds.
It’s well worth listening to even if you’re not buying a piano- very interesting topics are covered such as the monumental popularity of the piano in China & Asia, and little-known reasons how the piano came to be such an […]

E08: Interview with Ben Richards, organiser of piano meetups across the UK

By |February 12th, 2019|Interviews|

Ben Richards organises 8(!) regular piano meetup groups all across the UK.
We talk about what makes his groups particularly fun and inviting for amateurs and beginners (although advanced players also play), some of the history of piano groups and the piano, and the various benefits and attractions of taking part.
We also talk about the inevitable nerves and performance anxiety that we all feel, and chat a […]

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