Piano Lessons

Fergus Black at the piano in his studio

If you want to learn to play the piano, what do you need, and what can you expect in lessons? Well you need a piano at home, or at least a keyboard, for starters. Progress depends on what happens between the lessons, more than at them, so a routine of practice is essential. Secondly you need a teacher, or tutor.

To achieve a balanced curriculum, there would be a variety of pieces in different styles, sight-reading, technical exercises and aural training. Depending on age and experience, I recommend different pieces and different books. I also try to mix the level - so there are some ‘easy’ pieces to foster a quick sense of achievement, and others that are more of a challenge.

I prefer students to take performance opportunities, including piano exams (see here), but I have many students who don’t sit exams. There are many reasons:

A lot of students hate scales, but we should all learn piano scales as part of our technical development: sadly the ABRSM seems to view technical exercises in a very narrow way as scales and arpeggios only. Indeed, I have sat across the table from the Chief Examiner of the ABRSM and said “There are too many scales for pianists” - other instruments don’t have the mountain of scales especially at Grade 2 and 5.

Quite a few don’t like theory either: for pianists aiming for higher grades, Grades 6,7 and 8 need Grade 5 Music Theory (although that is not a good reason to do it!). I run courses in Music Theory (please see here). Nevertheless, despite my excellent teaching, Music Theory is not for everyone: for some very practical keyboard players, Practical Musicianship is an excellent alternative, which is now supported by good educational material. For some others, for whom Grade 5 Theory is a bridge too far, they jump ship to Trinity.

If you are looking to find a local piano teacher, in Peterborough, whether for children, teenagers, or adults, give me a call. But you don’t have to live near me - I teach online, and even for private lessons, my pupils come from all over the area: including March, Stamford, Spalding.


Please look at my resources for pianists:

Notespinner Blog

Here are some of the piano related articles on my Notespinner blog - thoughts on composing, teaching and performing music.




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