My Quick Study Project

My main goal for my piano playing for 2021 is to broaden my active repertoire. One way of achieving this will be to use quick studies to increase the number of pieces I can play alongside developing the skills to learn pieces faster and more effectively.

I'm documenting this project in a collection of videos in order to share my approach and what I learn along the way. I hope you find this useful and that this might encourage you to perhaps even embark upon your own quick study projects!



  • Avoiding the Amateur pianist “arms race” - Many amateur pianists (myself included!) tend to tackle pieces that are too difficult in relation to the time they have to practise, their ability or both. In this video I explore why this happens, the unintended consequences and provide some suggestions for how to avoid it.
  • Quick Study Project Introduction - Quick studies are an often overlooked, but highly beneficial way to broaden your repertoire and develop your skills as a pianist. In this video I introduce my quick study project and share how I intend to use them as a potential way to tackle the problem described above.

Quick Study Project No. 1 – Chopin Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor (Op. Posth.)

  • Introduction - In this video I kick off my first quick study project in which I will be learning Chopin’s C-sharp Minor (Op. Posth.) Nocturne. It’s a beautiful piece that I’ve always wanted to play and this is a great chance to finally learn it. I will be following an iterative approach, breaking down the two-week period into milestones that gradually build up towards an online performance.
  • Progress Report #1 - A few days in I’ve made some progress learning most of the notes, although there are a few trickier sections that will require a bit more practice. In this video I share what I’ve observed so far during the process and what has worked (and what hasn’t!).
  • Milestone #1 (Recording) - Just over a week into the project, I’ve made my first recording of an attempt to play the piece from start to finish. This was a useful exercise in that it  highlighted places that I know need attention and flagged-up some other areas I’d missed that were not quite up to scratch. In this video I assess the results and look at how I might take the piece to the next level of refinement.
  • Milestone #2 (Lesson) - Following from the recording for myself, the next milestone was to inflict the piece upon a listener in the form of a lesson! This was incredibly helpful because it highlighted a number of blind-spots (including some incorrect notes and rhythms!), gave me some great musical ideas to enhance my interpretation and also helped me gain confidence for the upcoming performance.
  • Milestone #3 (Concert) & Review - Exactly two weeks after I started learning the piece, I had the opportunity to play it in an online concert hosted by an amateur meet-up group. Although there were areas that could certainly have been a bit more refined, I was really pleased with the results and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In this video I look at some of the outcomes of the project and how this might influence future projects.


  • Blog post and video on how to play the opening - click here
  • Further information on the annotated study edition I used - click here
  • Open domain scores - click here for ISMLP options or click here for


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