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  1. 10 things we want you to know

    1. We look forward to your lesson every single week

    YES. Really! Even when you are having a bad day, we can't wait to get stuck into your pieces - music itself is like a contagious joy and we can't wait to see your eyes light up at the beautiful sounds you're making.

    2. We've been there

    We remember going through all the frustrations you face in your lessons & practice time. When we say that you will be able to do it with patience and practice, trust us. Pinky promise, we are telling the truth.

    3. We are on your side

    There is never a reason to apologise for making a mistake or taking a long time to learn a new technique. We are here to help you and your music grow and develop - so we need to work with you to make it happen.

    4. During performances, we make mistakes too

    We are just experts at hiding them ;) (Nuff said.)

    5. We value determination over natural talent

    Yes, for real. You see, natural talent will only get someone so far. But determination, courage and stamina are qualities that will take you everywhere you want to go in life.

    6. We love it when you practice

    Did I need to include this one? No? Well hear me out anyway. We love it when you practice not only because it helps us move forward faster, but because it means you had a particularly inspired week and we're excited to hear about your stories.

    7. When you don't practice, we don't mind as much as you think we will

    Totally. This is your life, and you are the boss of your time!

    8. We teach students of all ages

    Unlike school teachers, we teach 4 year olds up to as far as 70 year olds (and everything in between!), so we may not always be able to keep up with what Zalfie did yesterday. We might also accidentally patronise you when we are still in 4 year old mode from our previous lesson, with a "well DONE!" instead of a "yeah that's cool".

    9. We know how to get the best from you

    When we push you further than you would choose to go, it is to make you realise your potential, not your shortcomings. We help to bring out the best version of you, because we know you can fly.

    10. We love nothing more than to encourage you to be yourself

    When you wonder whether how fast you learn, how you prefer to sit, how nervous you get before performances, how much you love boogie woogie, is okay? Yes. It is. It all is.

  2. How to Master Sight-reading

    Say whaaaat! Yes. That's right. You heard me. You can actually master sight-reading. I'm not just saying that it's possible for people to master sight-reading. It's possible for you to master sight-reading. No, I am not kidding.

    Sight-reading, in my view, is the ability to play sheet music that you haven't seen before, up to speed, with few errors, and minimal effort. It's a dream for many young pianists to be able to sight-read well, not just because it is a big component of the ABRSM grade exams, but because it makes learning new music so much easier. I wanted to create a complete crash course to help you, the young pianist, really understand what sight-reading is all about.

    Part 1. Get to know the grand staff...(the quick way)

    Here is a picture of the grand staff. It is made up of two sets of five lines, called staves. There are symbols at the beginning: the top symbol is called the Treble Clef (for notes above middle C, usually played with your right hand), and the bottom symbol is the Bass Clef (for notes below middle C, usually played with your left hand).

    The Grand Staff

    One quick way to learn how to read notes off the stave is to learn a handful of 'anchor notes' - notes that you know off by heart without thinking, and can utilise to find out what other notes are.

    Often when my students start learning the piano, they will assume that middle C is the middle note on the piano, but it isn't! Middle C is the middle note on the grand staff. To tell you which hand to play it with, it'll either appear in the Bass clef or the Treble clef. It is quite a distinct note, with its own short line running through the middle, between the two staves.



    Helpfully, the treble clef is also known as the G clef, and the bass clef is also known as the F clef (it rhymes!). The reasons for these alternate names?


    The G clef curls around the G line, and the F clef starts on the F line!

    If I'm honest, I really resisted learning these names for the clefs when in my first few years of learning piano, but now that I teach, I've realised that they are ridiculously helpful for piano students. So, remember the alternative names of the clefs, and G and F become two more anchor notes for you.


    Notes can either be sitting in spaces or around lines, and these two are in spaces (obvs). They are quickly recognisable because of the symmetry here - they are both in the second space from the outside of the staves. Check out the next two Cs, too:


    Is this getting easier? I hope so.

    Here are 2 more anchor notes in each clef for you to memorise: the outside lines for each of the staves. If it helps, you can think of them as an octave-plus-one away from each other!


    Download this worksheet based on the anchor notes for a full experience! That's it for now. If you really learn these between now and next week, when I'll post the next instalment, you'll be well on your way to being able to sight-read quickly and effortlessly!