It is so warm today it is really finally feeling like Spring! 

This is a long post so I am going to list the topics first so you can see which ones you might want to scroll down to:

Refurbished website, Adult Work-in-Progress Evenings, Spring Soiree, Durham School of the Arts, DMTA Festival, Vacancies, and as requested a repeat of my advice about practicing. 

Refurbished website

My wonderful partner Carol Thomson has updated my blog and it looks wonderful!  Nothing like  a fresh do-over.  If anyone is interested in a word press blog like mine, Carol does this work professionally. Her company is called FireStream Media and you can find her details on her website:  She is also a documentary maker and has a work in progress on Liberty Warehouse (preview at

Adult Work-in-Progress evenings

On March 18 the first adult work-in-progress evening was held, at the suggestion of one of my adult students.  I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere (with adult beverage in hand) and I hope my adult students enjoyed supporting each other.  The second evening is to be held on May 20 at a student’s home, and it seems most people want to come and hopefully perform one of the selections they are working on. It is a very different atmosphere to the Soirees but I hope some adults will still consider coming to Croasdaile to support the younger students or perhaps perform there as well.

The Spring Soiree

As I advised before, I will not be holding a Christmas Soiree this year as I am going to Australia for a month over Christmas to see my beautiful granddaughters and of course my equally beautiful daughter and her handsome husband!  So the Spring Soiree is very important as it is the one opportunity this year to share your music with each other and with Croasdaile Village residents.  All students should be starting to think about what they want to play and I am thinking about ukulele/guitar groups!

Durham School of the Arts

I teach three students who attend the DSA, two of whom are in the piano program and one who is hoping to be in the piano or guitar program in August.  Mr Arthur Davis is the music teacher there and he provides numerous performance opportunities for his students.  He is holding a festival for his students on Saturday May 21 – more information in May.  Unfortunately is is the same day at the DMTA Festival!

Durham Music Teachers Association Festival

I sent information about this previously on email  but you can read more about it at:


I have a couple of spare times although I am not hurrying to fill them.  Right now these are the possibilities:

Tuesday 4 – 4:30

Wednesday 3:30 – 4

Friday 3:30 – 4; 4-4:30

In Fall some high school students will be graduating so there might be some later slots opening up then.


It is the perennial question.  How much should I practice? That depends on your age, attention span, level of skill development, environment and instrument.  The answer is everyone has to work out their own practicing routine and that goes for me as well.  There are a few non-variables:

  1. If you want to make progress it has to be regular, at least 5 days a week if not 6.  The length  of practice is not as critical as the regularity.
  2. It should start with warm up of about 1-5 minutes depending on your level.  Most beginner piano students are working on dozen a day.  The idea is you learn a group of 12 exercises and then you practice that group one after the other without stopping except to turn the page Once you know each of the 12 exercises, this should take about 3 minutes.  Advanced students of piano should begin with Hanon.
  3. You should start your practice with the newest piece you are learning and work on it first, then go back and play other pieces you know well.
  4. 15 minutes focussed practice is much better than 45 minutes of fooling around on the piano.  Fooling around is terrific but you can’t really have fun on the piano until you have mastered a few skills.  Do your focussed practice first and then do whatever you like on the piano.