On 25th February, the Music Teacher Awards honoured Dame Fanny Waterman with their Lifetime Achievement Award. At the same event, Faber Music author Paul Harris received the Best Print Resource Award for his series of educational music theory books, Improve your theory!

The evening, which celebrated excellence in music and performing arts education, was held at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, Knightsbridge, and was attended by industry guests including teachers, hub leaders, musicians and VIPs – representing the best and brightest in performing arts education.

Dame Fanny is a living legend in the world of music and has been recognised as one of the twentieth century’s most inspirational women. As well as co-founder of the renowned Leeds International Piano Competition, she is a teacher of international reputation, a respected clinician and adjudicator, and author of over 30 piano teaching books. Her best-selling Me and My Piano and Piano Lessons tutors have been used by generations of beginners worldwide. Her extraordinary success and eminent position in the piano teaching world stem from her concentration on security of technique placed at the disposal of imagination and musicianship.

In 2015, at the age of 95, Dame Fanny retired as Chairman of the Leeds International Piano Competition and also published her autobiography, Dame Fanny Waterman: My Life in Music. She continues to involve herself in music education through projects such as Young Audiences, Live Music Now! and the Harrogate Festival, explaining that ‘you’re born with a passion for music and it never leaves you’. Author and friend of Dame Fanny, Alan Bennett says, ‘Dame Fanny Waterman is not someone to be trifled with. This is a woman who, well into her nineties, thinks nothing of flying to Beijing one week and Toronto the next. She is a phenomenon and she is unique.’

Recipient of this year’s Best Print Resource Award, Paul Harris is one of the UK's most respected music teachers and educationalists, with his Simultaneous Learning philosophy gaining traction year-on-year. Over the last 12 months he has published the Improve your theory! series: five practical workbooks covering Grades 1-5 that help students learn music theory in an active and engaging way. The approach is based on the Simultaneous Learning philosophy: making connections with wider musical activities at every opportunity and placing the practical skills of performing, listening and composing at the heart of theoretical learning. Never before has theory been so fun or seemed so natural, whilst rigorously covering all areas of music theory required for the grade in question. Pupils are engaged and encouraged to develop into truly rounded musicians.

Improve your theory! has been received with great enthusiasm. Reviews include:

'For the first time, pupils are asking 'please can we do more theory'! The variety of material keeps the subject engaging and exercises using your own choice of music make applying a rule/concept complexity tangible.'

'Improve your theory…has some excellent suggestions as to how to bring theory into your teaching without it feeling random.'


Dame Fanny Waterman: My Life in Music is available from fabermusicstore.com and is also available on Amazon Kindle.

Improve your theory! Grades 1-5 (Paul Harris) are available from fabermusicstore.com