Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Restless audiences vs acoustic instruments

Posted by Susan Tomes on 7 April 2017 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings  •  1 Comment

This morning I was making soup and listening to Stephen Jardine‘s phone-in programme on BBC Radio Scotland, as I often do on a Friday morning. They were discussing whether parents should restrain their children from behaving badly in public places such as cinemas, theatres and restaurants. People had strong views on both sides. Some said […]




Embarking on Beethoven’s opus 111 Sonata

Posted by Susan Tomes on 31 March 2017 under Concerts, Musings, Teaching  •  3 Comments

It’s been on my mind recently that I never properly learned Beethoven’s final piano sonata. I’ve been performing and lecturing about the two penultimate sonatas, opus 109 and 110, but when someone asked if I’d like to do opus 111 as well, I had to admit that it isn’t in my concert repertoire. Why not? […]




Seeking a female word for ‘virtuoso’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 12 March 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  4 Comments

Yesterday we had a meeting of my piano club, a group of adult amateur pianists interested in developing their playing. The subject of ‘virtuosos’ and ‘virtuoso technique’ came up in relation to a piano piece with some fast, technically difficult ‘show-off’ passages. We wondered where the word ‘virtuoso’ comes from and what it really means? […]




How important is it to perform from memory?

Posted by Susan Tomes on 1 March 2017 under Concerts, Musings  •  1 Comment

I still have mixed feelings about playing from memory. I find that the memorising is the part of my concert preparation which takes the longest. Even after I’ve worked out exactly how I want to play something, there’s a long extra stage which is mostly concerned with memorisation. Memorising cannot be done quickly, or at […]




Ryan Gosling’s piano playing skills

Posted by Susan Tomes on 12 January 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  4 Comments

I haven’t yet seen the movie ‘LaLa Land’ (it doesn’t open in the UK until tomorrow). But I enjoyed hearing BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ item this morning on how Ryan Gosling, who plays a struggling jazz musician in the film, learned to play the piano for it. He does all the piano playing in the […]




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