Friday, 29 March 2013

My blog has moved

I have moved my blog to a new place. It is now here:

I hope you will visit me there.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chelmsford Rotary Young Musician 2013

Last night I took part in a music competition at the Cathedral in Chelmsford. There were twelve competitors and I was the youngest. There were three other pianists, four singers, one violinist, one double bass player, one guitar player and a clarinet.

I was the sixth to perform so I waited upstairs at the cathedral in a little room full of the clothes that the choir wear and read a bible... because I forgot to bring a book with me.

I played OK and the audience clapped a lot.

Then when the winners were read out I was pretty nervous, but luckily I won. I got a big trophy to keep for a year and a nice silver plate. Pretty cool.

Here is a photo of everyone.

This is a movie of when the judges told me that I had won.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Music Competition

I will compete in a music competition tomorrow evening in Chelmsford. It is going to be in the Cathedral so it will be fun. I hope that I can do well but the age limit is 18 so I am not sure if I am good enough yet. I will enjoy performing though.

Oldest Piano in the World

This piano was built in 1720 by an Italian instrument maker called Bartolomeo Cristoforo. He was the first person to make a piano with a hammer action that hit the strings. The way that modern pianos work is still very similar to this. He called the instrument "gravicembalo col piano e forte" which means harpsichord with soft and loud.

Saturday, 16 February 2013


Today I had a lesson with my teacher in London. I think it went OK. I am working on Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, Liszt's La Campanella, Estampes by Debussy, Beethoven's Concerto Number One and Chopin's Scherzo Number One. When I practice I usually work on a small section at a time, slowly to begin with. I make sure the fingering is correct right at the start because I don't want to re-learn it later.

There are a lot of different tips for practicing which I found online, here are some of the good ones from a piano teacher called Julie Lind...

1. Don't over-schedule. I have heard so many students talk about their unbelievably busy schedules. Taking piano lessons is not merely a half-hour a week commitment. It needs to be a daily commitment. If a student is too busy to practice then there is no need for them to be taking piano lessons.
(I think this is very important. I like to play piano so I want to be good at it. I also like playing table tennis and lots of other things. But I decided that playing piano is the thing I want to be best at, so I guess the other stuff has to take second place.)

2. Do it right from the very beginning. Once you have practiced something incorrectly, it is very difficult to correct it later on. According to psychologists: A stimulus enters long-term memory (that is, it is "learned") after it has been attentively observed 7 times. But if an "incorrect" stimulus is first learned, it then takes an average of 35 repetitions to learn the "corrected" stimulus. So in other words if you are practicing a piece and you are playing an A key instead of B key, it will take you 35 more times to re-learn it with the correct key. Why waste all that time when you can just start off with slow, attentive practice right from the beginning?
(Yep... don't learn it wrong! otherwise it will take much longer to put it right.)

3. Divide your piece into sections. Divide your piece into small sections and practice each section until it is correct. Then combine two small sections to make larger sections. Avoid practicing the entire piece repeatedly until you are sure you are able to play the entire piece without mistakes. Parents will often tell their child, "Play your piece 3 times and then you'll be done practicing." This gives students the wrong impression that practicing is simply running through the entire piece. Students should be working on all of the fine details of the piece in small sections. Playing the piece repeatedly is called "playing" not "practicing."
(When I start a new piece I think of it a bit like building a huge skyscraper, or even a city. If I tried to imagine building a city from scratch I wouldn't know where to start, but I could imagine building one wall, then another, then another ... Hope you know what I mean?)

All these tips are here.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Concert Poster

I just saw the poster for my next concert, here it is...

Concert at St. John's College

I will be giving a short lunchtime concert at St. John's College in Cambridge on 13th March. The concert starts at 1.15pm and will probably last for around 45 minutes. I will perform pieces by Beethoven, Debussy and Liszt. I hope that it goes OK.

The concert is in the Divinity School Theatre and I will be playing a beautiful new Steinway. It is free admission.

This is the inside of the Divinity School Theatre.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Lagny Sur Marne

There is a piano competition just outside of Paris in a town called Lagny Sur Marne. This year I entered it for the first time. I was in 'Category A' which is 12 to 15 years old. I performed Beethoven's 'Waldstein', Ravel's 'Alborada', Balakirev's 'The Lark' and 'La Campanella' by Liszt. I felt very nervous as I was performing after 3pm in the afternoon, so I had to wait all day until it was my turn. But I was lucky because the judges liked the way I played and I won first prize. Yayyy!

This is me with my magic plank (it helps me to reach the pedals), outside the Hotel De Ville in Lagny Sur Marne.


Inside the Hotel De Ville. It is a very nice building, it used to be a monastery in the middle ages.

This is me with the flowers and gifts that I was given by the judges. I was very surprised that I won, but very happy also.