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Seven years ago, inspired by several books with a title like ‘200 tips for teachers’, I thought I’d do a series of posts in the category ‘100 tips for working with ballet pianists’, because at the time, part of my job involved trying to help trainee ballet teachers work with pianists, and I thought this would help. I got to 32 tips, and ran out of things to say.

Some of it is good advice, but I don’t agree with all of it any more.  On a general level, I think the best teacher-pianist relationships are built from the ground up between two individuals, rather than relying on a set of principles. More specifically, although it’s nice when teachers ‘let the music speak’ (tip 29), there are times when teachers can shout across the music in a way that actually celebrates and reinforces what you’re doing in a way that is musical and fine, and times when silence can be a sign of indifference. I now doubt that practising with a CD (tip 28) is going to make you better at setting an exercise in rhythm. What matters, I think, is that you know what the rhythm and tempo of your exercise is, and can mark that clearly even if you have no music, the pianist is playing the wrong thing, or there’s nothing on your CD that’s appropriate (I’m rather more pleased with my page of tips for ballet pianists).

However, with those caveats in place, in case it’s useful, here are links to the 32 tips in one page.

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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist