Search found 127 matches

by Descombes
30 Oct 2009, 10:46
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: How to find a piano teacher
Replies: 3
Views: 2239

Re: How to find a piano teacher

If you go into Blackwells' Music Shop in Broad Street, Oxford, there is a notice board on one of the staircases. It's always covered with information about instrumental tuition. The staff there are helpful and could possibly be able to recommend one of the teachers advertising there. I would normall...
by Descombes
16 Sep 2009, 11:30
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: The right frame of mind for doing a piano exam
Replies: 14
Views: 3981

Re: The right frame of mind for doing a piano exam

He died in 1993 - so anyone whose memories do not go back 16 years would not remember him (apart from TV repeats.) I suppose I thought of this because I'm used to getting blank looks when teaching, if I mention anything or anyone from more than a couple of years ago! Apparently he began as a club pi...
by Descombes
16 Sep 2009, 07:07
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: The right frame of mind for doing a piano exam
Replies: 14
Views: 3981

Re: The right frame of mind for doing a piano exam

Note to younger readers: Les Dawson was a lugubrious Northern comedian, whose act often included him playing the piano, competently at first, but with increasingly comic "mistakes". It's worth pointing out that his mistakes were meticulously practised. Anyone who has played and gone wrong will know ...
by Descombes
08 Sep 2009, 07:47
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: practice room reuqired
Replies: 8
Views: 2823

Re: practice room reuqired

I am aware that Taunton has several major independent schools. I wonder if any of them would be prepared to hire their facilities. There must be a time when all the lads/lassies are in Tea/Prep/bed; and I know that all these schools are keen to add to their income.
by Descombes
27 Jul 2009, 17:04
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Piano movers recommendations?
Replies: 2
Views: 1301

Re: Piano movers recommendations?

I have recent experience of Piano Logistics and would recommend them highly. I just tried clicking the Piano Movers link on the left and their name popped up straightaway. They are probably not the cheapest available, but only the best is good enough for a piano! (In my opinion, anyway.)
by Descombes
24 Jul 2009, 20:27
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: What's this piano piece called ?
Replies: 6
Views: 2757

Re: What's this piano piece called ?

I'm glad that Gill has said that. I thought the same, but I had no idea how to spell the bloke's name. Some of the kids I teach think he's wonderful. I'm afraid that if I hear that sort of stuff coming from a practice room, I have no idea whether it's Ein-whatsit or a pupil improvising/meandering on...
by Descombes
17 Jul 2009, 22:21
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: How to teach a dyslexic pupil? Help!
Replies: 7
Views: 3753

Re: How to teach a dyslexic pupil? Help!

Should I be slightly annoyed that neither of these kids' parents told me when they first started lessons that they are dyslexic? Not too annoyed! It's better not to be told than to have dyslexia constantly thrown up as an excuse for slow progress. I have one pupil in particular (actually he's about...
by Descombes
17 Jul 2009, 16:18
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: How to teach a dyslexic pupil? Help!
Replies: 7
Views: 3753

Re: How to teach a dyslexic pupil? Help!

The Joy of First Year Piano by Denes Agay (Music Sales) has endless pieces of around that standard and I find the it really suits that sort of pupil. I remember seeing the Associated Board examiners' directions for dyslexic candidates, which included some useful suggestions. I wonder if it was in on...
by Descombes
15 Jul 2009, 22:38
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Jumping from Grade 2 to Grade 4
Replies: 1
Views: 1904

Re: Jumping from Grade 2 to Grade 4

I've seen this from both sides: piano teacher and Head of Music in various schools. From both sides, the answer should be NO! The most important point is that the school only has these grades as a guide and they will be more impressed by a good Distinction at Grade 3 than a scraped pass at Grade 4. ...
by Descombes
15 Jul 2009, 12:53
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Fingers sticking to keys
Replies: 13
Views: 5861

Re: Fingers sticking to keys

Glad you've found a solution, Jim. I can see that it's a real problem in your case. However, you ask how widespread the problem is. I have never found it a problem myself. (OK, my piano has got ivory keys, so that probably helps, but I haven't experienced it elsewhere either - even in a hot and stre...
by Descombes
12 Jul 2009, 14:44
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Fingers sticking to keys
Replies: 13
Views: 5861

Re: Fingers sticking to keys

I avoid this problem by: 1 Keeping the keys as clean as possible. If the piano is new or newly sold then they should be spotless now. 2 Always washing my hands before playing, if there is any doubt that they might be anything other than pristinely clean and dry. 3 NEVER let anyone go near the piano ...
by Descombes
08 Jul 2009, 19:43
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Qualifications and fees
Replies: 9
Views: 6368

Re: Qualifications and fees

sunshine sounds like a go-ahead and lively 23 year old. I would not want to rule out any possibilities!
by Descombes
08 Jul 2009, 19:35
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Qualifications and fees
Replies: 9
Views: 6368

Re: Qualifications and fees

Yes, I think we agree then. FTCL is a high level recital after doing LTCL. Much as it was 30+ years ago - and it's within the bounds of possibility that sunshine could work up to it.
by Descombes
08 Jul 2009, 19:02
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Qualifications and fees
Replies: 9
Views: 6368

Re: Qualifications and fees

I agree that you should expect a reasonable fee. ATCL is a perfectly respectable qualification; many teachers making a full-time living from teaching have considerably less by way of qualification. Why not go for £12 - 15 per half-hour lesson + travelling expenses? I wonder if you ought to think abo...
by Descombes
08 Jul 2009, 15:04
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: My school teaching piano
Replies: 25
Views: 5346

Re: My school teaching piano

Reading through this has left me speechless....and fuming! During my time as Head of Music in three different schools (Grammar, comp and independent) I would never have allowed this to happen. I would have been jumping up and down (a bit too strenuous for me these days), writing to governors, county...
by Descombes
26 Jun 2009, 22:27
Forum: Idle Chitchat
Topic: "Acoustic Piano"?
Replies: 9
Views: 3732

Re: "Acoustic Piano"?

Since you mention church settings, markymark, it's worth pointing out that the term "organ" can also be confusing. This has led to the layman's expression "church organ", which is another that makes me cringe. What about the organs in the Albert Hall, Festival Hall (when/if it's restored), Symphony ...
by Descombes
26 Jun 2009, 17:33
Forum: Idle Chitchat
Topic: "Acoustic Piano"?
Replies: 9
Views: 3732

"Acoustic Piano"?

Without meaning to criticise any of the people who use the term, either on this thread or elsewhere, why do some people insist on using the awful expression "acoustic piano"? I've only begun to hear it in the last few years. Would someone walk into Steinway Hall and say "I've come to try some acoust...
by Descombes
22 Jun 2009, 23:15
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Wearing glasses at the piano
Replies: 9
Views: 3480

Re: Wearing glasses at the piano

I have perfect "piano" glasses, which are actually my old reading glasses. My optician explained the logic (it was his suggestion). When I needed stronger glasses for reading, the old, weaker ones were ideal for a "middle" distance. ("Fingertip" distance, as he described it: exactly the distance of ...
by Descombes
13 May 2009, 07:27
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Advice re first piano purchase
Replies: 24
Views: 5643

Re: Advice re first piano purchase

Hi, I am looking to buy a piano for my daughter who wants to move onto piano from keyboard . We have a budget of £1500 - £1800 and would preferably like a modern black piano that she will enjoy playing and get her through her grades. I agree with Gill: the colour is the least important aspect of th...
by Descombes
05 May 2009, 20:02
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Help reading this line, please? (pic included)
Replies: 13
Views: 4554

Re: Help reading this line, please? (pic included)

I'm glad Taylor is getting the hang of it now. You asked about some suitable repertoire for her and described her level as Intermediate. It's difficult to recommend anything really, since that word covers such a huge range of playing. It sounds as if it was a great shame that you lost her last teach...
by Descombes
05 May 2009, 19:53
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Rhythm Problem v Counting Problem
Replies: 1
Views: 1463

Re: Rhythm Problem v Counting Problem

I don't think there's a huge difference between what you are doing and what your teacher is suggesting. At least you understand what counting is all about - which is more than some pianists do!! The advantage with what your teacher is suggesting is that you will always have the right number of beats...
by Descombes
04 May 2009, 22:04
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Help reading this line, please? (pic included)
Replies: 13
Views: 4554

Re: Help reading this line, please? (pic included)

It's much more straightforward than it looks. Start off by thinking of the music in three parts: top, bass and middle. (Perhaps think of three instruments, like a violin, a viola and a 'cello.) First play the bass - two beats to each note. Then add the top part (the descending tune with the note ste...
by Descombes
01 May 2009, 23:08
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: The Piano-Head Returns
Replies: 29
Views: 6899

Re: The Piano-Head Returns

I completely agree with Openwood. As a teacher too, I don't want pupils or parents reading my views. I also want to give my opinions on pianos without it making my identity completely obvious. I already have my ideal piano, so the squabbles about rival brands don't interest me.
by Descombes
21 Apr 2009, 19:23
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Keeping the lid shut.....
Replies: 10
Views: 3115

Re: Keeping the lid shut.....

Aaaahh, Goldsmiths - I worked there for five years in the early 1980's. My contribution was to get the Great Hall organ restored to its former glory. Also I once accidentally got locked in the cells (it was once a naval college) and had to yell before someone eventually heard me and came to the res...
by Descombes
20 Apr 2009, 10:58
Forum: Digital Pianos
Topic: Clavinova or Real Piano ?
Replies: 13
Views: 5755

Re: Clavinova or Real Piano ?

I have found that 3 or 4 hefty "volunteers" can easily lift a Clavinova - especially if no stairs are involved! (certainly MUCH easier to shift than pianos.)
by Descombes
19 Apr 2009, 23:08
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Piano teaching books for beginners to grade 1
Replies: 5
Views: 4970

Re: Piano teaching books for beginners to grade 1

Joy of First Year Piano is good for any age. (I just leave out the first few pieces for older pupils.) It's published by Music Sales/Yorktown Press. The European Method is very useful. Details are here: http://www.di-arezzo.co.uk/detail_notice.php?no_article=SCHOM06896 It's colourful and attractive,...
by Descombes
19 Apr 2009, 22:09
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Piano teaching books for beginners to grade 1
Replies: 5
Views: 4970

Re: Piano teaching books for beginners to grade 1

I agree that the Me and My Piano series (including Me and My Piano Repertoire) is quite useful. I've gone off Piano Time; I find the books disjointed and not very attractively laid out. I sometimes dip into the Alfred or Bastien series, but they are both slightly predictable. One of the most useful ...
by Descombes
19 Apr 2009, 18:37
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Kemble
Replies: 57
Views: 12583

Re: Kemble

I think thats probably the case with most pianos, Steinway use the same soundboards and frames in both the Hamburg and the New York factory, so there is alot of airmiles there too! If that's true (and I'm not suggesting it isn't), why do Hamburg pianos turn out to be superior to NY ones? (I think i...
by Descombes
19 Apr 2009, 11:48
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Keeping the lid shut.....
Replies: 10
Views: 3115

Re: Keeping the lid shut.....

When I was 8 or 11, boys could be TOLD not to touch a piano and they wouldn't! Have times changed so much that you can't simply forbid them to touch it? (Slightly tongue-in-cheek!) D We supplied a new piano to Goldsmith's College a few years ago. Not only did they order a cover with d rings, lock a...
by Descombes
18 Apr 2009, 20:59
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Keeping the lid shut.....
Replies: 10
Views: 3115

Re: Keeping the lid shut.....

When I was 8 or 11, boys could be TOLD not to touch a piano and they wouldn't!

Have times changed so much that you can't simply forbid them to touch it?

(Slightly tongue-in-cheek!) D
by Descombes
18 Apr 2009, 20:53
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Practical Musicianship instead of Theory?
Replies: 1
Views: 1566

Re: Practical Musicianship instead of Theory?

I had a pupil a few years ago who was zooming up the grades and was daunted by the prospect of Theory exams. I looked at the Musicianship exams as an alternative, but they are extremely taxing! They were certainly not an easy alternative to Theory, even for a talented pupil. He eventually decided to...
by Descombes
26 Mar 2009, 21:00
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Do you buy books back from students?
Replies: 3
Views: 2094

Re: Do you buy books back from students?

Am I being over-idealistic in thinking that pupils would want to keep their books, either: 1 To come back to occasionally for pleasure. 2 To use as sight-reading material later. 3 Purely for nostalgic reasons. I can see tovka's reasoning, but I would not suggest it to my pupils. Dare I say that I st...
by Descombes
15 Mar 2009, 15:02
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Piano removal
Replies: 5
Views: 2021

Re: Piano removal

I have recent experience of
http://www.pianologistics.co.uk/
and I really cannot speak highly enough of them. I don't suppose they were cheap (I did not pay them direct, so I'm not sure), but a piano needs the best treatment possible.
by Descombes
09 Mar 2009, 22:20
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Who's the Daddy?
Replies: 7
Views: 2658

Re: Who's the Daddy?

Openwood wrote:The Grauniad recently did an article on Ulrich Gerhartz which implied he was Top Dog in the piano technician world. Is that so? If so, who are best of the rest (top 5, for example)?
The rest of the Steinway team?
by Descombes
27 Feb 2009, 20:32
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: finger exercises
Replies: 16
Views: 6084

Re: finger exercises

"Did I get a book of the exercises?" No, I've just got a photocopied page. Is the name right -- if so, I can't find anything on the Web by the same person. So they are strengthening, flexibility exercises -- to do with improving independence of the fingers? The teacher said that they should improve...
by Descombes
22 Feb 2009, 17:53
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: grade exams -- what's the point
Replies: 23
Views: 9220

Re: grade exams -- what's the point

Hi Sally Eva I played that Schumann piece (which was then called Child falling asleep) for Grade 6 in 1966, (I've just checked!), so I think your friend is being modest in describing it as "only around Grade 3". I agree it's a lovely piece. Music Festivals suit some people, so don't let me put you o...
by Descombes
22 Feb 2009, 15:13
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: grade exams -- what's the point
Replies: 23
Views: 9220

Re: grade exams -- what's the point

I am not an advocate of rigidly working up the exam ladder, but they do serve a purpose. Being able to perform is one of the fundamental aims of learning to play an instrument. It's therefore only natural that the budding performer wants to know what others think of the performance. Auntie Mabel's v...
by Descombes
04 Feb 2009, 18:29
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Skipping grade exams
Replies: 7
Views: 4194

Re: Skipping grade exams

My advice would be to decide which teacher you have confidence in (check qualifications, but, above all, decide which you respond to best) and then to stick to his/her recommendations. Your teacher knows what's best for you and for his/her way of teaching. Learning the piano does not need to be a se...
by Descombes
15 Jan 2009, 21:03
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Returning to the piano
Replies: 7
Views: 2780

Re: Returning to the piano

Isn't Harrogate near York? If so, Banks of York claims to be one of the largest stockists of music in the country. You are fortunate to be closer to a good music shop than most of us! I'm sure you'll find what you want there. Actually, this raises the question of which is the best-stocked music shop...
by Descombes
15 Jan 2009, 17:25
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Returning to the piano
Replies: 7
Views: 2780

Re: Returning to the piano

Rachael I'm not sure where you are, but there ARE real bricks-and-mortar music shops around, even if you have to travel some distance. I agree that there is no substitute for seeing the books; even the feel of them is important. You can't tell from an online picture whether a piece of music is going...
by Descombes
02 Jan 2009, 20:50
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: New U1 for GBP3,999 from Dawsons - catch?
Replies: 25
Views: 5975

It's currently a little 'bright' but it will be prepared and voiced by Jeff to soften it a bit with final voicing performed in-situ. Steve I'm delighted that you have come to a decision. You will have found out that the unanimous praise for Jeff Shackell is fully deserved. I think the point you mak...
by Descombes
02 Jan 2009, 12:48
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: New U1 for GBP3,999 from Dawsons - catch?
Replies: 25
Views: 5975

Steve I've only just caught up with your topic, so I haven't been able to have my say yet. I would have no hesitation in my answer! Get in touch with Jeff Shackell and ask what he's got. He will know whether there's a good 2nd hand instrument to suit your needs or whether new is best - and he won't ...
by Descombes
20 Dec 2008, 23:58
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Sostenuto pedal or Practice pedal?
Replies: 16
Views: 4271

Nice for the last few bars of the middle movement of the Ravel Sonatine. :D That's an interesting thought! I played that movement years ago for an LTCL; and I've had a couple of pupils recently who learnt it. (Wasn't it on the Grade 8 syllabus last year?) Some judicious half-pedalling and generally...
by Descombes
17 Dec 2008, 18:04
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Need advice on positioning of piano
Replies: 11
Views: 3474

One of the first things I did when moving to my present house was to get a radiator moved. It was an inexpensive job and it created a heat-free space for the piano. Have you thought of this as an option?

And (speaking as a piano teacher), please do your son a favour and get him a real piano.
by Descombes
10 Dec 2008, 11:58
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Distinctions, merits and plain auld passes...
Replies: 43
Views: 10910

I think that most piano teachers would agree that scales, aural and SR need careful preparation. However, I have often acted as accompanist for other instrumentalists in their exams. Many are fully prepared, but it is very common for them to know their pieces well, but to fall down on the rest of th...
by Descombes
10 Dec 2008, 03:38
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Distinctions, merits and plain auld passes...
Replies: 43
Views: 10910

Try not to let the thought of a distinction obsess you. I think, of course, that it's important that you pass but the actual mark doesn't say that much about your ability. Good luck anyway. E x I think the problem about over-ambitious expectations regarding Distinctions come when a pupil plays the ...
by Descombes
24 Nov 2008, 09:47
Forum: Learning & Teaching Piano
Topic: Help! Looking for a piano teacher.
Replies: 10
Views: 4631

We have had teachers who have been reject by us telling us that they are listed on musicteachers so we should list them on here. As we insist of a minimum of Grade we will not list them we reject 2 out of 3 that apply manly on qualifications We had one the other day with Grade 3 Barrie, "As we insi...
by Descombes
20 Nov 2008, 20:52
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Piano Insurance
Replies: 4
Views: 2254

I can recommend Norwich Union. After my piano was completely rebuilt I was advised to insure it at the value of a new replacement. This meant a value which was three times the previous insured value. The increase in premium was about £40 per year. NU suggested that there was no chance of it being st...
by Descombes
09 Nov 2008, 17:34
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Help me spend 25k on a grand for my school
Replies: 45
Views: 9406

Although I'm sure Piano Guy is right that the S6 is a great instrument, I suspect the school will want something German. So go for a nice Hamburg Steinway! Ring Jeff - or, if you're near London, wander into Steinway Hall. They are very friendly and they seem to be keen on getting pianos into educat...
by Descombes
09 Nov 2008, 17:04
Forum: Piano Advice
Topic: Help me spend 25k on a grand for my school
Replies: 45
Views: 9406

No doubt that Steinways are the best and if there's one around in your price range, Jeff will find it. If the finances don't stretch that far, he will make a Yamaha sound almost as good.