After two weeks, my first quick study project came to its conclusion. I set about learning Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp minor (Op. Posth.) with the aim of performing it in an online concert two weeks later.

I’ve outlined my approach and documented the project in the form of a “video journal” which is available on my website and Youtube channel. In this article I share some of the results from this project and where I might be headed from here.

Chopin’s Nocturne in C-sharp Minor

Outcomes & observations

This project was a very positive experience overall, yielding several benefits. In addition to the obvious ones…


I recently wrote a blog post about one of my main piano goals for 2021 which is to broaden my active repertoire. In a subsequent article and video, I identified a common barrier which amateur pianists often encounter in doing this: our tendency to choose pieces that are too difficult in relation to our ability, available time to practise or both.

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

Using Quick Studies

One of the tools I will be using to combat this issue and to help me achieve my goal is quick studies. …


Something I’ve noticed on more than a few occasions at amateur piano performances is that the repertoire featured is often incredibly impressive. However, the performances are often less so. In general, pianists (myself included!) tend to select pieces that are too difficult for them, the time in which they have to learn them or both.

A fiendishly difficult piece!

So why does this happen? I’m most cases I do not believe it’s showing off, but rather a combination of other factors. Firstly, pianists generally like challenges and many of the great works for the instrument that we want to play are fiendishly difficult. …


It is the season for virtuous resolutions and a good time to ponder pianistic plans and goals for the year ahead. Many of us (myself included!) will be tempted to embark upon stretch goals, tackling increasingly difficult pieces on our repertoire “bucket list”. Although setting challenges can be inspiring, being overly ambitious has its drawbacks. It often results in one spending ages on a single piece only to fall short of doing it justice finally when (or if!?) performing it.

To avoid these pitfalls, I have opted for a different theme for 2021. Instead of tearing my hair out at…


As part of a series of online workshops and events, I recently hosted and participated in an online performance workshop with Graham Fitch. Because I’ve been promoting the concept to others, I decided it would only be appropriate for me to put myself in the same boat and subject my own performance to feedback.

There are various reasons why someone might participate in an event like this e.g. polish a piece for a performance or an exam, get assistance with specific challenges or just to have something to work towards. I decided to use the opportunity to get some input…


Improving your sight-reading is not just about getting a good score in an examination. It enables you to derive more pleasure from your playing through discovering new music and broadening your repertoire. It also opens up more possibilities for enjoying making music with others.

As with any skill, it requires practice and can be challenging to develop. The following are some tips to help make sight-reading less daunting and practising it more enjoyable!

  1. Use pieces you like — Instead of playing through numerous dry exercises, find pieces you want to play and treat your sight-reading as a journey of discovery…


Being able to listen to your playing critically and forming your own assessment of it is an essential part of improving your piano playing. In addition to feedback from a teacher, this “inner critic” becomes an important part of enabling you to deliver a result at the keyboard that best expresses your musical intentions.

However, what is a helpful friend can easily become a diabolical foe for those who are returning to playing after a long hiatus. The reason for this is that your technical ability declines quickly without consistent practice, but your ability to listen critically doesn’t do so…


You may have a strong desire to start playing the piano again, only to find that you simply never get around to doing it. The occasional inkling of inspiration arises from time to time, possibly even leading to thoughts about how you might give it a try. However, these thoughts come and go all too easily without translating into any action.

Even if you have access to an instrument and are physically capable of playing, there are a number of barriers that can make it difficult to get started. The main challenge is overcoming inertia to build up some momentum…


In addition to having a general love of wine (having grown up on the doorsteps of one of the world’s great wine regions!), the glass of wine at my piano became a personal symbol of my attempt to return to playing as an adult.

This came about after I had spent a number of years on futile attempts at finding medical solutions for chronic injuries that prevented me from being able to play more than a few minutes every few days. …


The story of my experience with the piano is a familiar one. I was fortunate to have lessons as a child and went on to study the first two years of a performance degree. This was curtailed by chronic injury and a growing understanding of the difficulty in earning a living as a musician. I pursued an alternative career and stopped playing altogether, often thinking about playing again, but always putting this off for “another time” as the usual vagaries of life took precedence.

After a hiatus after over a decade, an attempt to resume playing ended up as a…

Prodigal Pianist

A returning pianist after a long hiatus due to injury, is passionate about encouraging and supporting others in rediscovering their love for the instrument.

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