From 12th-13th July, our Piano Teachers had a very interactive and informative set of workshop sessions with renowned piano educator and book author Melanie Spanswick.

The Workshop, titled “Teaching Transformation in the 21st Century” featured many practical, if sometimes neglected elements of physical technique as related to repertoire, some featured in her Play It Again books, her new Women Composers series, and some RSL Classical Piano syllabus pieces as well.

Piano Teachers perusing Melanie Spanswick’s Play it Again and Women Composers books before the workshop session. Pieces discussed in the workshop were taken from these books, as well as the RSL Classical Piano Syllabus, for which Melanie is a consultant.

Day 1 focused on the Piano Technique (Flexibility, Tone Production and Developing Finger Strength) which then tied into aspects of playing scales, arpeggios, articulation, ornaments, effective octaves, chords and chordal balance. Particularly interesting was the emphasis on body awareness, not just for the hands, wrist & fingers, but also for the arm & shoulder, using arm weight and playing into the keybed as tools to develop a stronger tone whilst playing. Melanie made a point to have as many teachers try the exercises given in the workshop handouts as possible, and many of the workshop participants were surprised to know that even they held excessive tension that was affecting the potential tone production.

Melanie even went around the room to each and every teacher to personally demonstrate a helpful thumbs exercise to everyone. A number of teachers also stepped up to the stage to try out some exercises on the piano.

Day 2 Held more focus on applying the exercises and techniques to pieces from the RSL Classical Syllabus, as well as pieces from Melanie’s best-selling “Play It Again” and “Women Composers” books (which are permissible to use as Free-Choice pieces for examinations!). We were treated to a brief playthrough of several selections that would be appropriate at each grade for examination, and Melanie also briefly explained why each piece met the grading criteria.

Melanie Spanswick demonstrating a few pieces from her books on day 2 of the workshop.

6 Teachers all came up to play some pieces for the group and Melanie went through each piece to offer teaching tips and point out our areas of interest in each one, as well as some ways to tackle problem areas and help students improve their approach to them.

Closing off the 2-day Workshop, Melanie prepared a surprise Sight Reading session for piano trios that were performed by the teachers on the Top-Quality upright and grand pianos on display at the Bechstein Music World Showroom.

The teachers had some good fun with a selection of 3 piano trios written by Melanie Spanswick as she conducted the teachers in a big group Sight Reading activity.

   The 2-Day Workshop Series by Melanie Spanswick proved to be a fun and engaging session full of great insights into teaching and piano technique that will definitely be useful for teachers to impart to our students, but also for each one’s own individual continued improvement on their own playing and skill development. 

We sincerely thank Melanie for once again sharing her wisdom and expertise with us, and look forward to her next visit!

If you wish to purchase Melanie’s Best-Selling books, these are still available at a special discount until 30th July only! Reach out to your friendly outlet staff for more information.