Piano Notes – Fiona Butcher

How long have you been playing the piano?

36 years, with a 5 year gap!

What kind of repertoire do you enjoy playing, and listening to?

Everything classical! Whatever I’m playing at the time I love.

How do you make the time to practise? Do you enjoy practising? 

I never have enough time to practise, I work full time running my own business, but manage about 5 or 6 hours a week practise, a lot more when I’m on holiday!

Have you participated in any masterclasses/piano courses/festivals? What have you gained from this experience? 

Fantastic to meet other people interested in the same thing – its quite a lonely hobby! I organise piano masterclasses for Ulverston Music Festival: we have 3 per year in Broughton-in-Furness, Cumbria. I also attend other piano events in Cumbria.

If you are taking piano lessons what do you find a) most enjoyable and b) most challenging about your lessons? 

I love my lessons, I love learning and I love practising! There is more than enough repertoire out there for very many lifetimes, so I can never run out of things to learn!

What are the special challenges of preparing for a piano exam as an adult? 

A knowledge of The Fear of Failure. Children don’t have this! I have found it prohibitive and as a consequence have not done any further exams after grade 8 ten years ago.

Has taking piano lessons as an adult enhanced any other areas of your life? 

Yes, its given me more confidence generally, as the piano is so central to me, the feel good factor extends to everything else!

Do you play with other musicians? If so, what are the particular pleasures and challenges of ensemble work? 

I play duets with a friend – it’s magic making music with someone else!

Do you perform? What do you enjoy/dislike about performing? 

Love performing when I am in the right frame of mind and I know the piece well enough – it’s the best feeling when you know you have played something well

What advice would you give to other adults who are considering taking up the piano or resuming lessons? 

Don’t hesitate!

If you could play one piece, what would it be? 

Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, complete

(that’s as of today……next week could be something else!!)

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