So what exactly does 6 months in the life of The Curious Piano Teachers look like?

Here’s a snapshot of some of the things that Sally and Sharon have been working on over the past 6 months, from January – June 2018.

And – just in case you’re wondering from the photo above – it sure ain’t glamorous photo shoots. We get to do these once in a blue moon. You can tell too, from the Cheshire Cat grins that we often have!

No, this is what we’ve been up to… keep reading!

In February we held our very first Curious LIVE events on the topic: Redefining Expectations.

One event in Belfast. One event in Oxford. Over 100 deeply curious piano teachers. 100’s of hours of preparation from start to finish. Speakers from Australia, the USA and UK. And wow, what an AMAZING couple of days we had together!

Here’s a review – click here – and here’s what a couple of delegates said:

“Totally exceeded expectations! Fantastic day with utterly inspiring speakers and wonderful teachers. Such an incredibly well put together day… Really enjoyed the little treats and everything so beautifully crafted. Felt valued as a teacher today.”

“I’m returning to my teaching with a heart fully inspired – thank you to everyone for a most wonderful thought-provoking day. We are so lucky to be part of this forward thinking and transformative community”

“A truly uplifting, inspirational and thought-provoking day. Thank you so much Sally and Sharon for bringing us all together. You have created a wonderfully supportive and friendly group which I rely on and appreciate every day in my piano teaching. Bringing us together in person really was the icing on the cake! Thank you to all the wonderful speakers. I feel privileged to have listened to your wealth of experience and to have learnt more about new approaches in piano teaching. You are all an absolute inspiration. Finally, thanks to all of you for making us feel special, valued and supported. The goodie bags were a real treat, the venue was great, food yummy and the booklets a lovely reminder of a wonderful conference.”

In February, we also exhibited at the 2-day Music & Drama Education Expo in London.

It was lovely to meet new piano teachers at this event, catch up with a few of our amazing members and connect with others in the music education profession.

We had fresh coffee, served in branded cups – and totally lush mini cupcakes – available at our stand. A definite hit!

Oh yes, and elephant sweets! Because we often ask:
“How do you eat an elephant?”
Answer: “One bite at a time.”

The implication being that, with anything that might seem impossible, when we break it down into bite-sized chunks we discover we can achieve more than we ever thought possible. And that’s what we help piano teachers to do: break down their teaching and learning processes so that they can incrementally develop their skills and become more successful.

Here we are with a group of our Curious Friends!

This was such a special time back in February 2018: the Curious LIVE Team. Dinner at The Titanic Hotel, Belfast – after a wonderful day of piano pedagogy, music and curiosity. (And yes, we’re sitting in the room where the famous Titanic ship was designed!)

(L-R) Julie Knerr, Piano Safari (USA); Samantha Coates, BlitzBooks (Australia); Christopher Fisher, Ohio University (USA); Katherine Fisher, Piano Safari (USA); Sally Cathcart, The Curious Piano Teachers (UK); Sharon Mark-Teggart, The Curious Piano Teachers (UK).

We love hosting Free Webinars for piano teachers around the world.

Earlier this year we were joined by Peter Wild (Chief Examiner, Trinity College London). Peter presented two Whistlestop Tours of Trinity’s Piano Grades. The first focused on Initial to Grade 5. The second explored Grades 6-8. Click here to watch

This was followed with a Whistlestop Tour of ABRSM’s 2019-2020 Piano Syllabus last month. The replay for this webinar has already been watched by over 400 piano teachers. Click here to watch

Then, later this year, we plan to host a Whistlestop Tour of the new LCM piano syllabus of which Karen Marshall says: “LCM have raised their bar… the material is pedagogically very sound.”

Woohoo! We have a YouTube channel with 46 videos now available (and counting!)

This is a free resource for piano teachers around the world. We’ve currently got 3 main playlists:
1. Tuesday Teaching Tips with Sally
2. Webinar Replay Videos
3. Piano Teaching Resources

To view our YouTube videos (and subscribe) – click here

Membership to our online membership site The Community opens 3 times annually.

We held our Spring 2018 Enrolment from 14 – 21 April and welcomed a group of brand new members bringing our membership numbers to nearly 500. To view the Spring Enrolment brochure – click here

Our Autumn Enrolment will be from 22 September – 6 October. If you’d like to stay informed about the next enrolment, sign up to receive emails from us and we’ll keep you posted – click here

Every month we add a new Curiosity Box to The Community membership site. Here’s a topic round-up:

January: Practical Strategies to Help Students with Performance Anxieties
In addition to providing practical strategies, members learnt how to deeply learn a piece of music through visualisation. Because, as each of this month’s presenters claimed: “One way to significantly reduce performance anxiety is to really, really know the performance piece inside out and upside down.”
Presenters included: William Westney, Noa Kageyama & Charlotte Tomlinson

February: From the Blues to Beyonce
Practical strategies and resources to help members teach popular music through chords and structure, including a guide to teaching contemporary music through a video series.
Presenters included: Christopher Norton, Olly Wedgwood, Nik Preston & Jono Harrison

March: The Super Sight-Reader
Simple, yet effective strategies for members to introduce to their students. Plus, lots of downloadable, printable flashcards!
Presenters included: Samantha Coates & Sandy Holland

April topic | Dissecting Sonata Form
Colourful and creative ideas to help students to analyse sonata form in detail. We had two real hits from this bundle: the Sonata Form Mood Board and the Modulation Road-Trip resource!
We’re going to share ONE resource from the membership site – click here

May topic | The Well-Maintained Piano Teacher
Members were given clarity on how to look after students’ health and well-being (physical well-being both at the piano and away from the piano). Plus we looked at how we, as piano teachers, can build ‘me time’ into our schedules – and why it’s so important. We also had 4 weeks of challenges: 1. Water Week; 2. Posture Week; 3. Warm-up Week; 4. Treat Week!
Presenters included: Naomi Norton

June topic | How to Give Effective Feedback
Last month we spent a week exploring mindset, where members were given videos, workbooks and a quiz. Then members used a number of specially created resources to help them to communicate more effectively with students in lessons, by understanding the difference between advice and feedback and by identifying the different types of questions.
To watch a short video presentation by Carol Dweck on the subject of a fixed vs. growth mindset – click here

In May we launched the brochure for our Online Piano Teaching Diploma Course – Class of 2018-19.

We first piloted this course back in 2016-17 and earlier this year celebrated the 100% success rate of those pilot students who sat their ATCL and DipABRSM teaching diploma exams. Since then we have worked to continually improve this online course and, for the Class of 2018-19, we’re adding 3 full days of complimentary LIVE workshops in London.

We have now approved applications from piano teachers around the world (including a couple of piano teachers from Singapore).

We also, for the first time, created a Facebook group for piano teachers who want to find out more about our online piano teaching diploma course – and who want to connect with us on a more personal level. To request to join this Facebook group now – click here

We have received enquires about accepting late applications for the next course which starts mid-September. Potentially, we can add another couple of students to the Class of 2018-19. If you’re interested please email us: info@curiouspiano.org.

To view the Online Piano Teaching Diploma Course brochureclick here

In May we had a Spa Day!

In line with the topic of the May Curiosity Box (The Well-Maintained Piano Teacher) we decided to set a precedent to our members by booking some ‘me’ time at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland.

Top tip from this experience: powerful water jets are an amazing way to soothe and relax tense shoulder muscles!

It was also a great way for us to celebrate The Curious Piano Teachers 3rd birthday!

Last month we gave a presentation at The University of York’s Music Education Conference.

It was such a privilege to attend a thoughtfully-constructed conference called Connections and Communication in Instrumental and Vocal Teaching at the Music Research Centre, University of York. We presented a session on Feedback and Equality under the, rather curious, title of How to Tame Your Advice Monster!

To read more about this conference – click here

Oh YAY! We have a New Website Project in the pipeline!

Our current website is now over 3 years old. It was constructed when the whole concept of The Curious Piano Teachers was just a hypothetical concept! So bearing that in mind, it has served us well.

However, now that we know what YOU want and need from a website – as members, as blog readers, as piano teachers curious to know more about how we can help you – we have set about work on a brand new website. It’s a 12-month project. It’s a massive investment. It’s a wish-list come true. And we know you’re going to love it! So stay tuned (and curious…)

The Curious Baby… is no longer a baby!

One of the first questions that Sharon gets at conferences is: “How’s the Curious Baby?”

Reuel Mark-Teggart made his first appearance on the Curious scene when he was just a few weeks old by – briefly – attending a live webinar for members of The Community.

Now, aged 17 months, he is fascinated with “tactors” (tractors) and prefers running to walking. No longer is an alarm clock needed: Reuel wakens us with his singing. His rendition of Frere Jacques continues to improve…

Curious to know how to pronounce Reuel? Here’s a simple, memorable guide:
Roo- think about the name of the baby kangaroo in Winnie the Pooh
-elle as in Elle Macpherson!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of Curious happenings.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!


  1. Patricia R

    Fab 6 month round up S&S!!!!!!

    Thank goodness you are taking some well deserved time off…..
    you are a hard act to keep up with! …… Have some chill time….. and
    Thanks for everything. X


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