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Sharon Bill Author & Music Tutor

Music and Mindfulness

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There has never been any doubt that music is good for the soul and, now more than ever, music therapy is leading the way in this area. Whether it’s a good old sing-song or listening to uplifting music, the benefits are immeasurable. However, I would suggest that you can go even deeper. Read More…

Fugue Facts

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The ABRSM Grade 6 Piano (2019 & 2020) syllabus, List A:2, includes a Bach Fugue. This is a particularly pretty composition and relatively attainable as Bach Fugues go. The footnotes in the Exam Pieces book are helpful in guiding you to where the specific elements of the piece can be found. However, it may be that you aren’t familiar with the terminology and form of a fugue. I’ve outlined the basic elements of fugue form to help you understand what it is you are playing. Read More…

Bullet For My Performance Skills

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I’m seeing a lot about music practise diaries and music bullet journals. Whilst habit tracking is an excellent discipline there are some pitfalls to be wary of. Read More…

Saying it Straight

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Musical terms and performance directions take some time to get to grips with. Percy Grainger makes us wonder why we ever bothered to try! Read More…

A Thousand Thumbs UP

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Whoop Whoop! I’ve finally crossed over the 1,000 subscriber line on my YouTube channel! I’m a very small fish in a monumentally large YouTube pool - but I’m on the first rung of the ladder now! Read More…

Riotous Rossini

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It was such a treat to revisit Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle after an absence of several years. It certainly isn’t petite and it most definitely isn’t solemn! Read More…

Saturday Culture Spot

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I've been re-watching the Morse TV series on DVD and yesterday I felt like I was part of one - thankfully the only accompaniment was the pipe organ and the 18th Century Concert Orchestra, not a dastardly murder! Read More…

Lights, Camera, Action!

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YouTube is an excellent resource. Whatever you want to learn, you can find it there. With ABRSM Music Theory exam time only just behind us I thought this was a good opportunity to show you behind the scenes when I'm recording my Music Theory Tuition Series. Read More…

Time Stands Still

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Hanon piano scale exercises practised with a metronome inevitably means that a large chunk of time is carved out of your day - every day. So why bother?


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A Requiem and A Requiem

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Three days apart and yet whole worlds apart: From the extreme drama of Verdi to the purity of Fauré - all in the life of an amateur chorister. Read More…

Music Tuition YouTube Videos by Sharon Bill

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After 25 years of piano and music theory tuition my lessons are now available on YouTube in glorious cinematic 4K!

Each of the videos is exactly as I would teach at home - it's as if you were sitting next to me for your weekly lesson.

Beginning with the absolute basics I explain about Read More…

Batter the Clock!

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In the Midlands “Fritter” means a large slice of potato deep-fried in batter and is surprisingly tasty. However, the word has another universal meaning which is even worse news for our health. Read More…

New Academic Year

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The start of the academic year and the autumnal darker, colder nights causes many complaints. After all the moaning and groaning about being back to school I feel I should re-dress the balance. There's a fresh chill in the air in the morning and it's a fresh, new start to the school year. I love September! Read More…

Music Theory - Tell the World!

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Music theory is a subject that never grows old. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned connoisseur, or even if you just want to become a more informed listener - I've got something for you! I just love to teach. From when I was about seventeen years old I've loved to share what knowledge I have and to spread the joy of learning music. I've taught classes of junior school children, I've taught groups of OAPs and I also teach on a one-to-one basis. Now I can tell the world! Read More…

Jane Austen Bicentenery Anniversary

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that we all love Jane Austen. The 200th anniversary of her death is a good time to appreciate the pleasure her work still brings. But why? How does she still capture her audience after all these years? Read More…

Will You? It's a battle of the mind!

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The battle of the mind is the greatest battle we all face. In this article I suspect I'm preaching to myself! The original article had the title "Will You?" but I think I should rename it "Will I?" to keep things in perspective! Read More…

Priceless or Worthless?

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Christmas shopping can be a depressing business, especially when everybody already has what they want or need. I hate just buying a perfunctory gift - it feels like throwing your money to the wind. I’ve taken to making gifts more and more and I’ve always understood that these gestures have been enjoyed and appreciated. I certainly love to receive handmade gifts but I’ve recently had a crisis of confidence as I’ve discovered that not everybody thinks this way. Read More…

True Grit

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The Open University Graduation ceremony was the starting point on my thoughts for a local village magazine. Read More…

Damask Designs

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I've always had a thing for Damask, whether fabric, wallpaper or artwork in general. It reminds me of the William Morris designs that I love so much. I know it isn't considered trendy but it keeps on finding a place in my home.
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The Never Ending Journey

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"How long does it take to learn to play the piano?" It's a question that I'm often asked but it's an impossible question. It's like asking, "How long is a piece of string?" The most important thing when you are learning to play music is that you have to decide to enjoy the journey, because it's a journey that never ends. Read More…

Slay a Few Demons!

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ABRSM piano scales make for effective therapy. Now, I’m not suggesting that I’m ever in a bad mood… but, hypothetically speaking if I was, it’s better to take it out on the piano. There’s nothing quite like bashing up and down four octaves of the keyboard to vent your spleen and ABRSM of the old school provided plenty of material to go at.
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Keep Smiling (but not too widely)

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New Year's Resolutions are usually my thing and so it mortifies me to have to swallow my pride and join the throng in the gym membership fervour. Determination not to be counted as one of the keen beginners, only to drop out in a few weeks, is just one of the factors that are keeping me motivated to keep working…

I don't mind being middle aged, but I do mind the thought of being too overweight as well. I'm also noticing that my asthma isn't so good which is linked to weight and fitness. If I don't sort it now then it's only going to get more difficult. I'm naturally a sedentary person: I sit down to teach piano, I sit down to write and I relax by sitting down and reading. I'm gradually building up my stamina and don't need to take breaks between increasing numbers of lengths.Typical for a musician though - I keep losing count of my lengths. During this particular swim there was an extra motivation keeping me moving. I'd mistimed my session and needed to swim in a cordoned off area during an OAP aqua-fitness class. Although it made the water a bit choppy it would have been OK, however, we had to evacuate the pool because some poor soul had lost their teeth in the pool. The worst part was the fact that nobody could find them. That kept me swimming - I didn't dare put my feet down!

It transpires that the dentures dilemma isn't restricted to the swimming pool. I heard of a conductor who spat his teeth out in a particularly frenzied movement. Unabashed he simply bent down and reinserted them without losing a beat.
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That's me - to a 'Tea' ...

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Flute music and tea stains - it kind of says it all! Read More…

Hesitant Musician

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In my forthcoming eBook “Letters from the Broom Cupboard” I refer to what I have termed the “Treble Clef Brigade”. - an exclusive club that I never dared to join.

Putting up the Christmas decorations this year I realised that I have made some progress in overcoming an inherent fear that I have in this area and I’ve finally succumbed to the lure of musical frippery. It’s something that I’ve never dared venture before. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll live to regret it! Read More…

Musical Moments

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I stumbled upon an old copy of Handel’s Flute Sonatas whilst tidying up my music shelves (instead of actually practicing - an old trick of mine). I found some music that I was playing when I first met my husband. Who was this ‘Sharon Healey’ - I can barely remember her. I remember the flute Sonata better than I actually remember myself back then. In an effort to get to know who this Miss Healey was I had a rummage through some photographs and came across a school picture that captured quite well who I was.
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Keeping My Hand In

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During my A level studies figured bass and four part harmony weren't high on my list of priorities - and I certainly never imagined that I'd choose to attempt an exercise in the small hours of the morning out of choice. Read More…

Executive Away Day

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Team Building and project management formed our business away day - alternatively me and David went for a jolly trip to Llandudno to have a chat about family life and work. Read More…

Fickle Flute Fancies

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The relationship between a woodwind player and their instrument technician is one of trust. I always feel a tinge of shame as I hand over a tarnished flute housed in a dust-ridden case. It's an expression of guilt and an acknowledgement that your beloved instrument is about to get the TLC it has been deprived of for some time and so desperately deserves.
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Productive Insomnia

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Insomnia has its benefits - particularly where eBay is concerned it seems!
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How Long is a Piece of String?

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For the Summer Edition of our little village magazine, in my role as private music tutor, I attempt to answer to question ever present on a new pupil's lips: 'How long will it take?" It's an impossible question but I do my best in my usual article… Read More…

New eBook on the horizon

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My new eBook is on the very near horizon. It's a sort of 'Memoirs of a Music Tutor' written as a series of letters. Here is an extract to give you a taste of things to come. I've really enjoyed writing it, I hope you enjoy reading it… Read More…

I Just Need to “STOP!”

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“Mutations,” “Diapason,” “Open” and “Stopped” are terms I never thought worthy of consideration until now. I’m really enjoying looking into playing the pipe organ more professionally, rather than as a pianist who can just about manage to swing a left foot in the general direction of a bass pedal. Getting both of my feet going on a two octave pedalboard is only one of the challenges it seems, the whole organ registration and technicalities involved in choosing which “stops” to use appears to be a strange mixture of both art and science! Read More…

Slow but Steady Wins the Race

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Aesop's Fables, in choral presentation, featured in my submission to our local quarterly village magazine. As ever, there was a moral to the story… Read More…

Fascinating Stuff!

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This month’s Women’s Institute competition was to make a Fascinator. The speaker was a lady who ran a modelling agency and the talk was entitled "Making the Most of Yourself." Read More…

Music for the Moment

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In a past article for our quarterly village magazine I comment upon how music makes a soundtrack for our lives… Read More…

Burning the Midnight Oil

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Grieg's 'Notturno' seems like the perfect piano piece for a bout of insomnia. With the volume down (or the practise pedal locked on) it shouldn't disturb anybody - but even if they do wake it's a pleasant piece to fall back asleep to.
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Classical vs classical

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The phrase "Classical Music" can mean two entirely different things. In my contribution, as a music tutor, to our village magazine I attempt to clarify the distinction. Read More…

Is Music Art or Science?

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Is learning to play an instrument a discipline of the arts or the sciences. It's surprising how history and culture shapes how we view learning. As a music tutor I write for a quarterly parish magazine. In this article from last year I grapple with the way society now approaches the arts… Read More…

Productive Insomnia

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When is a bedroom not a bedroom? When it houses a Korg portable digital piano. Read More…

"Quartet" - A Review

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This review of the Film "Quartet" featured in a local quarterly magazine that I contribute to.
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New Repertoire...

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A complete change as we now begin rehearsing Poulenc's Gloria. We'll be back 'at home' in The Victoria Hall, Hanley for this one - with a full orchestra too! Read More…

'Music from Two Shores' Ceramic City Choir Concert

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The concert of Copeland's 'Old American Songs' and 'Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare' by Sir George Shearing went much better than I could have hoped. Read More…

The Piano - A Closer Look

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As part of my private music tuition practice I write a quarterly article for a local parish magazine. Here is a piece I wrote some years ago explaining the history and basic mechanisms of the piano… Read More…

On the road again - Introducing our bike's names

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More sunshine meant that a Triumph Bonneville, a Triumph Speed Triple and a Suzuki SV650 needed a trip out again. A favourite run of ours is to Buxton through the Peak District National Park. Read More…

Careers' Portfolio

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Years ago I read an article which discussed the concept of a 'Careers' Portfolio'. It stated that more and more people were turning their backs on a single, all consuming career in favour of one, two or even three self employed occupations. Read More…

Peace and Goodwill to all Men

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With all of the recent World War Remembrance I recall the story of local effort - where everybody did their bit. Although the concept of peace and goodwill to all men is traditionally associated with Christmas time, such sentiments needn’t be restricted to just once a year. Here is an article I wrote in our parish magazine some years ago… Read More…

A Night at the Opera

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Madama Butterfly at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent is possibly the most enjoyable opera that I've been to! Perhaps it was down to the good company that I had too. Read More…

Holiday Theory Club

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Although I'm officially on holiday from teaching during the Easter holidays I've timetabled some extra theory lessons as exam entry time is fast approaching. Read More…

Inspiration, then Perspiration

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As part of my private music tuition practice I write a quarterly article for a local parish magazine. Here is a piece I wrote some years ago… Read More…

Grass Roots

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Music can be enjoyed on many levels. As part of my private music tuition practice I write a quarterly article for a local parish magazine. Here is a piece I wrote some years ago… Read More…

Music - An Expression of the Heart

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You'd never put Parry's Anthem "I Was Glad" in the same sentence as Football and EXCPN TV - but we did. As part of my private music tuition practice I write a quarterly article for a local parish magazine. Here is a piece I wrote some years ago… Read More…