Monthly Archives: June 2007

100 tips for working with ballet pianists #32: Check your pianist is ready

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Glance over to your pianist just before you say ‘and…’ to check that they are ready to play, especially if they are reading from printed music. On the other hand, if experience shows that your pianist is usually ready before … Continue reading Continue reading

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100 tips for working with ballet pianists #31: Be accurate about the tempo you want

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If you’re marking an exercise for dancers, it can be tempting to ‘mark’ the tempo to the pianist as well – but this is an impossibility: giving a tempo is meaningless unless it’s the one you actually want. It only … Continue reading Continue reading

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100 tips for working with ballet pianists #30 Use counts, not bars

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When you’re marking an exercise for a pianist, speak in terms of counts rather than bars, particularly with introductions (e.g. say ‘x counts in’, rather than ‘x bars in’). Unless you are trying to work out the mathematical correspondences between … Continue reading Continue reading

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100 tips for working with ballet pianists #29: Allow the music to speak

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When you first start teaching (whatever your subject), it’s tempting to think that nobody’s learning unless you’re talking. The truth is, an awful lot of the most significant and deep learning happens when you do nothing. Keep silent during some … Continue reading Continue reading

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100 tips for working with ballet pianists #28: Practise at home

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Put on a tape or CD – of anything – and practise setting exercises aloud with the music. Marking an exercise in tempo is a musical & motor skill which needs practice. The more you use music in this way, … Continue reading Continue reading

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100 tips for working with ballet pianists #27: Be your own rhythm section

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Sometimes it helps to give directions, count or talk gently in the rhythm and tempo that you want while the music’s playing. This gives pianists a rhythmic framework within which they can feel freer to be more expressive, because they’re … Continue reading Continue reading

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