Archive for category The Repertoire Project

Repertoire Project: Khachaturian – Etude (from Pictures of Childhood)

This is the first in my ‘…in bits…’ series; a collection of videos designed to be partly tutorial in style, with a full video recording followed by multiple recordings of hands separate, slow tempo, voice separate, or anything else which I think would be useful in learning each individual piece of music.

Khachaturian’s Etude is a complex piece; it appears fast and unrelenting, and yet it is delicate and needs a surprising amount of space to breathe.  The difference in articulation between the tenuto right hand and the staccato left is technically demanding, especially for the intermediate pianist that this piece is aimed at, there needs to be careful listening skills and awareness of physical keyboard touch taking place to ensure each voice remains faithful to its line when putting hands together.

This etude is a personal favourite of mine; not just because it is great fun to play (seriously, it really is!), but because it is is so peculiarly gentle inside its world of deceptive freneticism.

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Stop That Mucking About!

I had a conversation with a parent a few weeks ago; she was telling me that when her son plays around on the piano and makes up his own stuff, she tells him to stop it and get back to his ‘proper practicing’.   My answer? “But that ‘mucking about’ is creativity!”  That ‘playing around’, that ‘wasting time’ was this young student discovering sound colours, learning his way about the keyboard, developing confidence in his improvisatory skills, making fledgling compositions, and generally connecting with the piano.  And it’s absolutely vital that young musicians are given the space to do this.

My daughter, who is helping me out with The Repertoire Project by learning the second parts to some of the Introductory level duet repertoire, started ‘mucking about’ today whilst we were practising together.  She developed a melody after hearing a short snippet of a duet that I suggested (which we never got around to practising, but who cares, the tangent was even better).  I joined in with an accompaniment, and after ten minutes of a mixture of improvisation and composition, we came up with this…

Creative, enjoyable, musical, collaborative, experimental, and like so much music, beautifully fleeting.  But worthless? Absolutely not.

For more details about my teaching practice, including prices, vacancies, and information on distance theory marking, or learning piano as a beginner, intermediate, or a post-grade 8 student, please go to


The Repertoire Project

The idea for The Repertoire Project came from thinking about how to engage and inspire students to learn music which does not lead to grade exams.  I write, and talk, a lot about learning repertoire and skills, and developing as a musician, but it can be surprisingly difficult for young pianists to find repertoire that they want to learn without spending hours and hours trawling unsuccessfully through youtube, and often giving up in the process.  Of course, I play music for my students in lessons, but there’s only so much repertoire I can play in a half hour lesson, before the ‘lesson’ becomes a series of ‘concerts’.  A waste of money? No, absolutely not, but I do think there is more effective way for students to listen to more music, and get more inspired, without spending more lesson time listening to only the books that they have, or I can find at the time.

And so The Repertoire Project was born.

I shall leave the rest of this post in the capable hands of the blurb I have posted with every Repertoire Project track and playlist:

Welcome to The Repertoire Project – a large selection of repertoire across a range of genres to inspire students to broaden their depth of musical understanding and their enjoyment of the piano by learning multiple new pieces.

Each piece in the Repertoire Project which I have recorded at my home studio is included in two playlists:

1) With other pieces of a similar playing standard (Introductory, Beginner, Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Advanced)

2) With other pieces in the same book or volume.

I have also included selected repertoire from other soundcloud accounts into the ‘level’ playlists. I have only included music which have freely available scores (either as paid for downloads or in print). These additional tracks are by contemporary composers, and many of the scores can be purchased individually for very little cost. If you would like details on purchasing, please contact the soundcloud account holder directly, or email me on and I will find these details for you.

You can find The Repertoire Project and each of the different playlists at my soundcloud account here

For more details about my teaching practice, including prices, vacancies, and information on distance theory marking, or learning piano as a beginner, intermediate, or a post-grade 8 student, please go to

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