New piano pupils of all ages and abilities are very welcome, from beginners through to advanced level players, plus those choosing to learn for their own enjoyment.
Current publications used for beginner and elementary piano students include ABRSM Piano Star Books 1-3, along with Chester's Easiest Piano Course Book 1 by Carol Barratt, aimed at very young learners. The popular 'introduction to reading music' and 'beginner piano exercise' worksheets created by Dulwich Piano Lessons may also be used in the early stages of tuition.
Following the ABRSM Prep Test and Grade 1 exam, pupils explore a variety of established publications including For Children by Bartok and The Young Pianist's Repertoire (selected by Fanny Waterman and Marion Harewood), plus ABRSM anthologies including Encore, Piano Mix, A Keyboard Anthology and the Spectrum series, featuring much-loved pieces from the piano repertory alongside modern music and works by living composers.
All students of ABRSM Prep Test level upwards are taught scales, broken chords and arpeggios.
Learning scales, broken chords and arpeggios helps the pupil to develop reliable muscle memory for common finger movements and improves tone control across the full note range of the piano, alongside helping to develop pitch and interval awareness and the familiarity of keys and their related patterns.
All scales, broken chords and arpeggios are played from memory in exams. Examiners will usually ask for at least one type of scale, broken chord and/or arpeggio required at each grade and aim to hear a balance of the articulation requirements.
All students of Grade 1 level upwards are expected to work very regularly at sight-reading skills using the Improve your sight-reading! series (published by Faber Music) as an additional resource to the familiar ABRSM Specimen Sight-Reading Tests books for the relevant grade.
The ability to sight-read is a valuable skill and helps to develop quicker recognition of keys, tonality, rhythm and common patterns of beats, which makes learning new pieces with increased confidence quicker and easier.
In addition to sight-reading, students may be asked to prepare a 'quick study' alongside their pieces for the following lesson. A quick study is a short piece of a suitable level that can be studied and performed within the space of one week.