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Moving Beyond Stage Fright

I was working recently on an International Piano Academy in Germany, giving daily master classes to a group of committed and advanced pianists. I was also there in the capacity of Performance Coach. One of the students asked me whether I could talk to her friend, who was due to give a concert performance of […]

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Memorising Music

I have worked as a chamber musician and duo partner for my entire career to date and therefore  I have not needed to play from memory in a concert. Music has been given to me anything from months before the concert to hours before, meaning that the demands I have had lay instead in being […]

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What is listening in music?

Listening in music is a strange one. It is as elusive a concept in normal everyday communication as it is in music. When do we really listen to someone without our minds half present or thinking of how we are going to reply next? How extraordinary and wonderful it is to bump up against people […]

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Teaching children: criticism or praise?

It only takes a period drama on television to remind us of how far society has moved in a relatively short period of time. I watched the first episode of BBC’s The Village last week, and it was shocking to see how a young boy of 12 could be caned on his hand for something as ‘bad’ […]

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3: Stage fright: how to manage your emotional response

In my last two blogs on this topic, I wrote about some practical tips for managing stage fright and the deep shame that many performers have as a result of having stage fright. Stage fright is a taboo area and professional performers whether actors, dancers or musicians, rarely admit to it, even to their closest […]

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2: Stage Fright: practical tips for managing it

This is the second in a series of blogs about stage fright. In my last blog, I wrote about how deeply ashamed many performers are about having stage fright, whether they’re professional performers or otherwise and how this, and the taboo that has built up around it, can cause such distress and massively impact the […]

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1: Stage fright: are we too ashamed to talk about it?

Imagine this scenario: one of the world’s finest symphony orchestras is preparing to go on stage, at, let’s say London’s Barbican Centre. Musicians are tuning up, putting resin on their bows and warming up their instruments. It seems totally normal and you would almost think that everyone was so professional and so used to giving […]

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A meditative approach to practising music

There is so much that is involved in practising a piece of music for a performance. At some stage, I will write about the nuts and bolts of practising music, what needs to be involved to build the security needed to be able to let go in performance. But this is about the challenges of […]

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Performing from the score versus memorizing

I heard somewhere that seven eighths of the world’s music is not written down. I suspect then that most of the remaining eighth is filled up with the scores of classical music. What a relief that we have all of that music written down – the world would be a bleaker place if we didn’t […]

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Teaching musicians: criticism or praise?

“Call yourself a musician? Your playing is not up to it! Go away and practise!” I have come across an incredible number of musicians who have experienced the full-on, critical approach of so-called ‘good’ teachers. These kinds of comments when dished out by famous musicians can be devastating for the recipient. They can at worst […]

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