blog posts

Teach music confidently without the stress

Tortoise and Hare Chunking

by Tim Topham

The way in which many of us learnt piano and subsequently now teach our students is based very firmly on the idea that the best way to learn things is to start playing very slowly (and often hands separately) and then, over time, slowly build up the pace until it’s at performance tempo. But is ... Tortoise and Hare Chunking

07/25/2011 Read more

Jazz for Classical Pianists by Freidrich Gulda

by Tim Topham

During the recent Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in Wagga Wagga, I was lucky enough to attend a lecture/recital by American-based pianist Jovanni de Pedro who introduced an enthusiastic crowd to the exciting and fun music of French “crossover” pianist Friedrich Gulda. I’ve already promoted a couple of youtubes of his music, but I wanted to ... Jazz for Classical Pianists by Freidrich Gulda

07/24/2011 Read more

Holiday Piano Technical Work Ideas

by Tim Topham

If you’ve got holidays coming up or have some students that could do with some fresh technical work, check out these ideas. I personally like to give my students different things to do in order to break up their usual menu of scales and arpeggios and the holidays seem like a perfect chance! Of course, mixing ... Holiday Piano Technical Work Ideas

06/26/2011 Read more

If your practice sounds good, it’s not practice, it’s just playing!

by Tim Topham

Last night at my student’s mid-year recital I reminded all my students and their parents that practice, if effective and done properly, should not sound “nice” all that often. Why? One simple reason. For students to push themselves to learn harder pieces and conquer new technical difficulties, their practice will necessarily sound pretty bad more ... If your practice sounds good, it’s not practice, it’s just playing!

06/24/2011 Read more

Do you make these mistakes in your piano practice?

by Tim Topham

Practising music is something we need to learn how to do and until we do, we will probably make some mistakes. This article highlights some of the most common errors made in music practice and tells you how to amend them. The result will be that you can begin to progress on your instrument with ... Do you make these mistakes in your piano practice?

06/22/2011 Read more

Here, Have a Chainsaw! Metronome Practice | Piano Pedagogy Page

by Tim Topham

All about metronome practice with students… Great article. It occurs to me that I’m occasionally guilty of telling students they need to use a metronome without having taught them how to use one.  It’s the musical equivalent of handing someone a chainsaw and expecting them to cut down a tree. Pretend for a moment that you’ve ... Here, Have a Chainsaw! Metronome Practice | Piano Pedagogy Page

06/21/2011 Read more

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Chord playing for beginners

by Tim Topham

I normally introduce chord playing for beginners in root position within the first two lessons for a new beginner. Why? Simply because playing triads with the RH and octaves or single bass notes in the LH is instantly fun and sounds really musical. It’s also great practice for learning about harmony and common chord progressions. I ... Chord playing for beginners

06/13/2011 Read more

“Google Earth” Practice

by Tim Topham

I’ve recently begun using the analogy of Google Earth when helping my students plan their practice. For those of you who haven’t used Google Earth before, it’s a free satellite imaging program that allows a user to zoom in on any area of the Earth, starting with a view of the Earth as if you were in ... “Google Earth” Practice

Teaching Boys Piano – Repertoire Ideas

by Tim Topham

Most of my career has focussed on all-boys education. I believe there are many merits to single-sex schooling, especially when it comes to the arts. However, this is not a post about co-ed versus single sex schooling, rather it’s about repertoire that I have found resonates really well when teaching boys. In my experience, boys ... Teaching Boys Piano – Repertoire Ideas

06/07/2011 Read more

Best Student Duets with Just 5-fingers from Diabelli

by Tim Topham

  If you haven’t yet introduced the duets of Anton Diabelli to your teaching studio, you are missing out on some of the best student duets for beginner and intermediate students. In fact, as long as students can read a 5-finger position in C Major, they can at least play the first couple of these pieces. ... Best Student Duets with Just 5-fingers from Diabelli

06/05/2011 Read more

Where to Buy Pianos and Keyboards

by Tim Topham

Looking to buy or rent a piano for your child? I have designed the following post to be of reference predominantly to the parents of my students who are contemplating buying or hiring a new piano or digital keyboard. I’ve been excited by how many parents have asked me about this in the last 6 ... Where to Buy Pianos and Keyboards

06/04/2011 Read more

Teaching piano with rhythms

by Tim Topham

Practising in rhythms is, without a doubt, my No 1 practice tip for students! Why? One simple reason: it reduces the amount of time that they need to spend practising repetitive sequences such as scales and scale passages, arpeggios, broken chords and any kind of fast quaver or semiquaver movement. Students will be able to ... Teaching piano with rhythms