ABRSM Scale Practice Charts for Piano Grades 1 to 4

ABRSM Piano Scale practice charts are available for Grades 1 to 4. Please email your teacher for your copy. Aim to practice as many scales per day as you can. We find a ‘pot luck’ system really good so that you’re not always practising in the order of the book. Write out all the names of your scales, arpeggios, chromatic and contrary-motion (including permutations of Hands Together and Hands Separately) on a piece of A4 paper. Cut this up and put into a pot or cup and keep it near the piano. Pull the pieces of paper out one at a time so that you are practising in a random order. You can also ask your friends or family to test you in any order on your scales. Aim to play the scale correctly the first time without hesitating, fumbling, stumbling or using wrong fingers. Play as slowly as you need to until you can play reliably, smoothly and steadily. Once you are feeling confident with the scales, think about shaping the sound to start around ‘mf’ (moderately loud) and reach a ‘f’ (loud) dynamic level at the top. Return to ‘mf’ when descending.

Here is a sample scale practice chart. The versions we supply for our students do not have the watermarks. Copies of these charts are available for a donation of 1 lesson’s fee to our Justgiving charity page. We can customise these with your own teaching practice details. We can also produce practice charts for other instruments.Grade 3 ABRSM Piano Scale Practice chart




A guide to setting up page turning device AirTurn BT-105 on the iPad


I love gadgets. My newest purchase is an AirTurn for the iPad. This is a foot-operated pedal that allows you to turn your own pages – something I could have done with last night when I played at the Richmond Festival. I drafted in a fellow performer (thank you, Diana!) to turn my pages and she did the job very well, having never seen the piece before, but I would have felt much less anxious if I was in control of it myself! It also means that I don’t have to drag loads of books over to my piano lessons on the other side of London, I just take my iPad now. As an early music enthusiast, I love playing Ye Olde Pieces from the 16th Century using my iPad and foot pedal!

Setting up AirTurn on the iPad:

1) Charge the AirTurn for 2 hours via the USB/mini-USB cable plugged straight into your computer.

2) After it is charged, then pair the device with your iPad. On the iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth. Turn on Bluetooth if not already on and it should pair automatically. I did not need to enter a code but the usual 0000 will suffice if it requests a pairing code. One point to note is that the iPad keyboard input does not work when Bluetooth is turned on but I think this is because I am sat next to my computer which also has a wireless keyboard.

3) Download a PDF reader app. I use Music Reader which costs 69p. I tried a free app, CloudReader which does not seem to respond to the AirTurn for some reason but it has a much faster page turn response rate than Music Reader which is quite sluggish so you need to press the pedal a fraction in advance of needing the page turn! Annoying that you have to pay for a PDF reader – grrrr! I am sure there are other free ones out there that I haven’t found that work with Air Turn.

4) Load your sheet music onto the PDF reader. The easiest way is to email the PDF to yourself, then open the attachment from the mail message, then use the arrow at the top right to select “Open in Music Reader” and it loads it straight into your library.

You can use iTunes, the built-in web browser in Music Reader or USB cable to transfer your PDFs from computer to iPad.

That’s it – job done! The left pedal is page up and the right pedal is page down. The pedal is silent so it won’t interfere with your performance at all – unlike the piano at the Festival I played in last night with the incredibly squeaky right pedal! It also has a built-in gizmo that stops you from turning two pages at once.

Here’s a performance of a 3-page long harpsichord piece, Couperin’s Les Ondes using Air Turn for the iPad. Could there be any better demonstration of ‘Old’ meets ‘New’ than a harpsichord and the Air Turn?!


You can just about see my left foot on the AirTurn pedal in this video:


The BT-105 with 2 ATFS-2 Pedals and Pedal Board is available from the following supplier based in Lancashire, UK:

Sight Read – £114.00 inc. VAT and P&P. Please note that SightRead will give any SE22 Piano School students an educational discount. Please contact me for details.

Here’s a video all about AirTurn. British pianist Sam Haywood demos the gadget at TEDxAsheville. Instructions for setting it up are below the video.


Practising the Piano

Practising the Piano

Graham Fitch, adjudicator for the 2013 Dulwich Piano Festival has just released an interactive e-Book on the subject of Practising the Piano. We think this is a great resource for students of all ages to help you understand how to get the most out of your daily practice session. Graham writes:

Playing the piano is not easy – if it were, surely everyone would want to do it? We know that to succeed as a pianist requires practice, and lots of it. But how do we practise? What exactly do we need to do day by day to reach our goals? There are many books on piano playing, but surprisingly few that deal with the art of practising. Given the amount of time an aspiring pianist needs to spend at the instrument on a regular basis, it is surely very important to know exactly what to do, and how to make the best use of this time. Practising The Piano is an interactive series of ebooks on the subject of practising directed at serious students of the piano of all ages. It will be as useful for the advanced player as for the intermediate level, and will be of special interest to piano teachers. It will equip you with specific tools to help you every step of the way, and give you concrete skills to learn pieces, solve problems, memorise, and much more. You’ll notice real results in your playing – guaranteed!

Click here for more information on Part 1 of the series (The Practice Tools).