Foundations and ABRSM exams - Piano lessons for students preparing exams

Updated: Jan 19


Why "WKMT Piano lessons for beginners course"?

After years of preparing piano students for Grade examinations, we have realised that everyone reacts in a different way to the training. The ABRSM designed its syllabus as a "general introduction" to piano performance. As such, it doesn't cover the foundations of music in the most comprehensive way.

Piano lessons


At WKMT, we believe the first goal with our students is to ignite the passion for learning. We need to create a behaviour that will serve as the platform from where we can build up the performance skill. Without the habit of disciplined study, there is no way we can incorporate the amount of knowledge and skills required to develop a reliable piano technique. We should also improve our understanding of music theory in parallel with a proper piano technique.

The students need to understand the value of making an effort to learn, but they also need to develop a need to practise. This need to exercise has to go beyond the "obligation" of going prepared to their lessons. The need to rehearse needs to relate to their commitment to music.

For that reason, the first course at WKMT is not exam-oriented; it is performance-oriented. With this purpose is that we created our piano lessons for beginners course -more info on the course at

The course incorporates a comprehensive list of musical material which can be personalised to each student. This non-templated method allows WKMT teachers to provide each piano student with the specific content required by their personal and psycho-pedagogical constitutions.

If the student is below six years old, we will have to apply for our stimulation course instead of the "piano lessons for beginners course". We designed these courses outside of the "" website.

The result of using this course is the development of students who enjoy both music and the process leading to prepare a piece.


The need for practise relates to the ability of students to appreciate the time they invest practising.

It is common to listen to students stating they practise to play "well". Even though this should be by itself a right motivation, as teachers, we also need to develop their passion for exploring music.

When we are in the process of preparing a piece, we explore different features of the piece, and we discover how our way of playing fits within the frame of the musical work. Each minute spent in practising a passage is a minute we are closer to artistry. The artist inside each student needs time to come out, and it does so during these moments of introspection. As teachers, our biggest challenge is to show our students the way they can access this fabulous world of self-discovery.

For the ones who speak Spanish, I strongly recommend watching this video by Maestra Edda Maria Sangrigoli. It is very inspiring and provides with some insight on Scaramuzza piano technique delivered by one of his direct students. Watch the video

We should gradually show them the complexities of piano technique and how a small change in the way we approach a key can affect the overall sound of a passage. Every modification we practise to our performance plan affects both the way we feel while we play a piece and the musical energy we project into the audience. Enjoying practising means developing massive attention to the details.


It is normal to feel an inevitable rejection to begin the daily studying session. It always happens when we have to start with something that is going to take a considerable amount of time and effort. The first thing students need to learn is to overcome that feeling. How? By recalling the way they always feel after a successful practising session.

When our students commit to their usual school subjects, their only objective is to complete their tasks to reach the approval of their teachers. In the case of the piano, this shouldn't be the case. Learning piano is not a compulsory subject at school. Therefore the primary goal of our studies shouldn't be the passing of an exam; it should be the learning of music. The latter lays in the core of an excellent teaching method focused on igniting the passion for studying the instrument.

Practising is for pianists the biggest self-indulgence. When we practise, we are listening to music the way we want it to sound. We also exchange ideas through time and space with the composers.

To develop a passion for practising the student needs to have a natural appetite for music and introspection. A good teacher can show a student how beautiful music is and how rewarding it can be to solve a passage and obtain a stunning result out of hours of practising. Nevertheless, it is at the end, all a matter of taste. If the student doesn't find pleasure in rehearsing, there is no much a piano teacher can do to change the student's mind about practising. It might also be the case the student is more prone to studying other forms of art besides music or even a different musical instrument.

The enjoyment we obtain from practising is both physical, emotional and intellectual.


Only after finishing a proper foundation course is that piano students should be encouraged to start with their grade examinations. First, they need to find beauty in music, and then they have to start disciplining their skills to portray their achievements in front of an examiner.

One of the main issues I find when teaching piano in London is to explain parents and students what is the real value of studying piano.

The most valuable asset we get out from studying piano is the insight it helps us get into music. After having set up proper musical foundations, then we are ready to start preparing for grade examinations.

Our WKMT foundation course feeds from an extensive collection of repertoire. It also covers the piano technique in a way unexplored by any pre-grade syllabus proposal. Piano technique becomes a subject on itself, and the structure behind it supports the development of a fabulous connection between the piano student thoughts and the mechanisms needed to portray them.

We teach piano technique as a separate subject from the beginning of the course onwards. First, we cover "finger movement", then "forearm" and gradually we introduce all the other Scaramuzza movements.


The right amount of time invested in the foundation course varies from student to student. It can even become unpredictable.

The length of the course will depend on the student's consistency, both of the home practising and the attendance to the piano lessons.

It might be the case that a student finishes the foundation course in six months while another one takes three years to do the same.

It is fair to say our foundation course, including pre-grades 1, 2 and 3, should last a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 years.

Learn ABRSM Grades with WKMT. Here we share some related posts for your learn all about it:

- Beginners on ABRSM

- Pre-grades and Grade 1 ABRSM

- Grade 5+ ABRSM Supporting tests

- Differences between Beat, Tempo and Rhythm

- All about Arpeggios

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