This page contains a summary of what's been going on with music lessons, exams, and my website. Please make a point of returning to this page often, as it will contain details of what's new. You can also visit the website change page, where each update is listed in date order.
Congratulations to all my pupils who took exams this time, both theory and practical. I'm delighted with your excellent results and hope you are too. Well done!
Congratulations also to the violinists that I had the pleasure of accompanying at Stapleford recently. Lovely playing and well deserved certificates. Well done to you as well!
The new term
It seems that we no sooner start the long summer holidays than we have to start thinking about exam entries for next term. For those preparing for exams, please keep up your hard work and stay focused. We will need to make the important decision about whether to make that entry in September, which is only a month away.
Regular readers and my pupils will know that I have started to make exam entries with Trinity College London. I have been impressed with the organisation and running of these exams, both for theory and practical exams, and plan to continue using this examination board. However, the choice about whether to make an entry to Trininty or ABRSM will always be based on which board offers the best option for each individual at every stage. If one board's syllabus appears more suitable or the choices of music is more appealing, then we will choose that board. I will always discuss with parents and pupils before making the decision about which board to use.
Those "straight from school" time slots are always popular and I now have one available on Thursday, with a start time of between 3:30 and 4:00. If you have been thinking of piano lessons for your child and would like to make a start, then do get in touch. Other times are also available but most are later in the evening. However, adult learners who are able to come during the day are always welcome and I can be flexible with lesson times, whatever day of the week suits you.
Appointments for the Trinity College London exams are now out and I wish everyone the best of luck for the day. Keep practising and remember that I am always available to answer any last minute questions, right up until the day of your exam.
The Ceilidh Band
For only the second time since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the Revival Ceilidh Band played for a live gig at the weekend. With over ninety tickets sold prior to the event, the village hall in Tutbury could not have accommodated many more. A large and enthusiastic crowd with no shortage of participants for every dance made it a lively and enjoyable evening. The band played well too!
After all the disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, it does feel as if some things are getting back to normal at long last!
Using Zoom for lessons served its purpose, but for me, getting back to face-to-face lessons was a huge relief. My pupils all say the same. Sadly, some did not return for various reasons (including moving on to college, university, or the workplace), but it's been great to see that most have battled through and continue to enjoy their learning. Also lovely to add a couple of new pupils recently, and to welcome back another who gave up a number of years ago, later realising that he missed his lessons and piano playing.
There are still a couple of 'after school' slots available and it would be nice to fill those so do get in touch if you are interested in lessons for yourself or your child. Daytime lessons are always available too and I can often accommodate pupils later in the evening, so please contact me if you are interested in these. I would love to hear from you.
For perhaps the first time since all the isolation and upset of Covid-19, 2023 feels like it's got off to much more of a normal start. It's super to now have pupils working towards exams, and I hope they will be taking these later in the year, possibly at the end of the summer term. Unlike previous years, I now have some pupils using the ABRSM syllabus and others who will be entered with Trinity College London, including at least one theory exam.
It's already shaping up to being a busy year and it's racing past, already nearly the end of February!
Congratulations to everyone taking exams is this session, both my own and those that I accompanied. Excellent results that you should all be really proud of. Well done!
Stapleford Methodist Church remains my preferred venue for ABRSM exams. A relaxed centre, free on-site parking, and a lovely piano (hired from Clement Pianos) in the spacious church. Go and enjoy making a big sound!
This session I also visited Sherwood Methodist Church where I made my first ever entry with the Trinity exam board. Another lovely venue, also hiring a piano from Clement Pianos, where we were made very welcome. Very limited on-site parking but plenty of spaces on the street.
I am hoping that the new list of Musical Terms will be useful to all my pupils, whether for looking up a term that they spot whilst playing their music, or as they study towards their next theory exam. This new facility, which can be found on my Theory page within the Resources area, allows selection of four separate lists. These range from Group 1 beginner, up to Group 4 which I hope will eventually have just about all the terms needed to succeed at a Grade 5 theory exam. You can also select, for example, just Italian terms, or German, or list terms related to Dynamics, Tempo, Technique etc. Do let me know what you think.
Online Theory exams
A new article giving some thoughts on the new-style online exams for music theory has been added. Use the drop-down menu to access the Articles page, where you will find a link to it. Comments are welcome.
Derby Exam Centre
I find it amazing that the centre at Derby University no longer allows parking on site for music exam candidates. The suggested parking is at the Mundy Play Centre (charges apply), which ABRSM describes as a fifteen minute walk away. An alternative is on Broadway. Charges apply here too, but it is a bit closer. More information on parking on Broadway can be found on my Exam Venues page within the Resources Area.
I would suggest that anyone wishing to take an ABRSM practical exam considers the venue at Stapleford. A relaxed centre, free on-site parking, and a lovely piano (hired from Clement Pianos) in the spacious church. Go and enjoy making a big sound!
Many aspects of our lives are now returning to near-normal (or the 'new normal' at least), and music exams are included. Face to face exams have been offered with new measures and guidelines in place to ensure that they are as Covid-safe as possible. As things settle, I am looking carefully at the exams offered by Trinity College London. I have always used ABRSM as the exam board for my candidates but for several reasons, I intend to switch to Trinity for most future exams. There are likely to be pros and cons both ways so I will be weighing them up to find the best possible way forward. The musical and educational aspects will remain of paramount importance and I am not ruling out ABRSM, but I will be assessing the merits of both boards before recommending a choice of route for each individual.
I've completed a bit of an overhaul to my website recently. One aim has been to make it easier to find your way around, whether on desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. The new drop-down menu is one of the new features to help with this. There are other changes and new information too so it's worth having a look round. There is now a single source of information relating to keeping safe with Covid-19 and this is accessible from every page via a prominent COVID-19 Latest button.
The drop-down menu also makes it easier to access my 'resources' area, which is now also being fully reviewed and updated, particularly to bring it up to date with the latest exam information including that relating to the Trinity College London exams. I welcome any feedback, good or bad. Thanks for reading.