Category Archives: Technique

Valse d’Amelie

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Sometimes when I’m teaching students a particular piece or song, it really captures my imagination and I almost feel envious that it’s not me spending loads of time learning it! The truth is that with a busy freelance teaching business and a young family, I simply don’t have time anymore for regular practise. But, I do enjoy bashing through some… Read more »

Musical Theatre Singing Workshop

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I’m excited to announce that, in partnership with Yorkshire Dales Music, Sarah Churcher and I will be running a singing workshop for those interested in learning songs from the shows! Details: Thursday 5th March 09:30 – 16:30 Woodlands Retreat, Giggleswick £50 per participant Lunch included Everyone welcome, with or without prior experience It promises to be a really fun day,… Read more »

How to accurately measure the tempo of music

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A week or so ago I came across a really nifty tool online for measuring the exact tempo of a piece of music. My student was asking me about how to decide on the metronome setting he should choose while practising a particular song. My initial reaction was that you must listen to it, estimate the pace in bpm (ballads… Read more »

Guitar Tuning

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When I first started playing guitar as a child then as a teenager, there was really only one way to tune up: with pitch pipes. I had some really cheap ones that looked like this: Of course, things are much easier now that digital tuners are cheap and easily accessible. I tend to use one on my mobile phone, but… Read more »

Ave Verum – The SSA Choir Parts

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Below are recordings of Mozart’s Ave Verum, with each part emphasised for practise purposes: Sop 1: Your browser does not support the audio element. Sop 2: Your browser does not support the audio element. Alto: Your browser does not support the audio element.  

ABRSM Guitar Syllabus from 2019

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Last week I received in the post my copy of the ABRSM syllabus for (classical) guitar – a little booklet outlining everything candidates and teachers need to know about guitar exams for this board from 2019 onward. In truth, very little has changed on the guitar specification from previous years: all the exercises (scales, arpeggios etc.), sight reading and aural… Read more »

Experimenting with guitar

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Learning and enjoying music doesn’t always have to be about structured lessons, or even be ‘taught’ as such. This weekend I set my son’s little guitar up with an open E major tuning (E B E G# B E) and gave it to him to play with.  I offered absolutely no instruction, but simply handed him the instrument and a… Read more »

Breathing Exercise – The ‘Candle’ Warm-Up

Over the years that I’ve been teaching singing in schools and theatre schools (and singing in choirs and other vocal groups myself), I have witnessed, led or taken part in hundreds of vocal warm-ups. Often these can be formulaic: the same pattern of exercises run through week in and week out, rehearsal after rehearsal, often taught as a matter of… Read more »