'Daily Life' Blog Post Archive
Another report on the benefits of music

Another report on the benefits of music

On Monday there was a report in The Guardian about the benefits of being involved in music. This time it was, 'Playing a musical instrument or singing is linked to better memory in older age'. To my delight the next paragraph began, 'The piano was especially...

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‘So somewhere in my youth … or childhood’

‘So somewhere in my youth … or childhood’

During the Christmas holidays we watched The Sound of Music on television. Some parts of it will forever be charming, while other parts have not worn so well. No matter - it's still a feast of nostalgia for those of us who remember the film when it first came out. Bob...

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Best reads of the year

Best reads of the year

A reader has asked me to specify my favourite books of the year. I keep a note in my diary of the books I read, and this year I read 42 books in their entirety, plus a few more I didn't finish. Here are my top five favourites: 1. The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth....

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Traditions of music-making can’t be allowed to fade away

Traditions of music-making can’t be allowed to fade away

I often tweet about music and related matters. Usually the response is small - I'm thrilled if my tweets reach a couple of hundred people. So my experience yesterday was exceptional. I was watching The Queen's funeral which, as you'll know, had a variety of music in...

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An old Scottish lullaby

An old Scottish lullaby

There's news today of an important new women's health strategy in England. 'Ministers have vowed to tackle decades of “systemic” and “entrenched” gender health inequality in England with plans to introduce compulsory women’s health training for doctors, more cancer...

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The Van Cliburn competition 2022

The Van Cliburn competition 2022

I have been following - online - the Van Cliburn piano competition which takes place every four years in Fort Worth, Texas. As well as being one of the world's most prestigious it must be the most generous, with an array of prizes and offers of management, concert...

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A ‘Strictly’ for pianists?

A ‘Strictly’ for pianists?

I was discussing 'Strictly' with a friend who's also a fan of the show. He asked me: 'How do you think it would work if celebrities were partnered with professional pianists, to learn to play the piano in a few weeks and then perform, say, a piano concerto in front of...

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In the pocket of the music

In the pocket of the music

The autumn season of Strictly Come Dancing is under way and this year the judges seem inclined to give us a bit more insight into what they are looking for. I have enjoyed learning more about posture, weight, inside edges, head position, arm extensions, 'spotting' ( a...

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‘Es ist genug’: Bach’s chorale opens a BBCSO concert

‘Es ist genug’: Bach’s chorale opens a BBCSO concert

One of the most depressing sights of lockdown in Edinburgh - for me, anyway - was the sight of the Usher Hall being turned into a Covid test centre. I know that test centres are important. But it seemed a sad change of fortune for the first big concert hall I got to...

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Knitting

Knitting

Last week I was thinking of writing a blog post about knitting. What is the connection between knitting and pianism, you may ask? Well, I had been reading about the 19th-century pianist Clara Schumann, who continued to tour and earn money for the family after her...

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Adapting touring methods because of climate change

This morning I heard a report about scientists who have made a list of recommendations for touring musicians to cut back on carbon emissions. Amongst other things it recommended that musicians should use instruments or equipment 'held by the venue'. Good luck with...

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No more bullfrogs […for now]

No more bullfrogs […for now]

My readers will know that I hate people coughing in concerts. I don't mean the sudden cough that the person can't help and does their best to stifle - I mean the self-indulgent barking cough which rings out across the hall and seems to be targeted at specially quiet...

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Piano Power

Piano Power

Recently I've heard or coached a number of amateur pianists whose playing I haven't heard for 18 months, or before All This started. I had been afraid that everyone's playing would have fallen apart, but actually my impression was that lockdown has enhanced rather...

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How to subscribe to this blog – an update

How to subscribe to this blog – an update

Update: if you've been trying to subscribe to my blog in the last day or two and have encountered problems, please note that the link is now working properly. I've just been writing to my subscribers to tell them that new blog posts, delivered to them by email, now...

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Watching the Euros

Watching the Euros

I've been watching the Euro 2020 football matches on TV - to the surprise of some of my friends. But I find that things are always interesting once you start to know a bit about them, and as there is so much coverage of the championship, it makes sense to take an...

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