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Piano Lessons & Guides

How Piano Lessons Can Help People With Alzheimer's

June 09, 2017 / by Helen Baker

Music has power. It has the amazing ability to spark compelling outcomes for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Different studies have confirmed that our musical memory is retained. It can link a song with special memories of events or relationships. When using music as therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, it can shift their mood, stimulate positive interactions, manage stress-induced agitation, and facilitate cognitive function.

This power of music therapy happens because rhythmic and other well-rehearsed responses rely on little to no ment...

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12 Common Mistakes That Novice Piano Players Make

May 31, 2017 / by Helen Baker

As a novice piano player, you want to make sure you are setting a solid learning foundation to get the most out of your music. It's important to avoid novice mistakes that can make it more difficult for you in the long run. Here are the top 12 most common mistakes novice piano players make and how you can avoid them.

1. Skipping The Basics

No one wants to spend hours learning boring scales or children's songs like 'Mary had a little lamb' or 'Hotcross Buns'. But these steps are an intrinsic part of learning how to play the pi...

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12 Of The Most Common Mistakes Novice Piano Players Make

April 24, 2017 / by Julie Adams

As a novice piano player, you want to make sure you are setting a solid learning foundation to get the most out of your music. It's important to avoid common novice mistakes that can make it more difficult for you in the long run. Here are the top 12 most common mistakes novice piano players make and how you can avoid them. 

1. Skipping The Basics

No one wants to spend hours learning boring scales or children's songs like 'Mary had a little lamb' or 'Hotcross Buns'. But these steps are an intrinsic part of learning how t...

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An Introduction to Piano Lessons for The Blind

April 19, 2017 / by Helen Baker

Think of a blind musician, and you start to think of obvious choices like Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder. And for some people, Andrea Bocelli comes to mind. If you're thinking of enlisting someone with a visual impairment for piano lessons, there are four traits they must have: a good ear, good coordination, the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time, and a great deal of motivation. Most of these traits can be taught and developed, but not motivation.

Every teaching situation is different in its own way, even for blind students. But there are a few guidelines to c...

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Piano Players Develop Better Hand Independence Like This

June 21, 2017 / by Brian Collins

Learning to play piano isn't for those with little patience or time to invest. However, the end result is certainly well worth the effort. The key to playing piano is to stick with it. Don't get discouraged if you aren't mastering things as quickly as you'd like. If you have a particularly frustrating practice session, it's important to get right back to it the next day. There are several things you can do if you'...

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Sight Reading Tips For Piano Players

March 29, 2017 / by Helen Baker

Ask any piano player the most difficult thing they have had to master. Chances are, most will tell you that it was sight reading. As a novice, it makes sense why you'd find it difficult. You' ve hardly mastered the piano keys themselves – you can’t tell a B from a D major without looking at the keys. Yet you are supposed to read the music while you play.

What is Sight Reading?

Sight reading is the ability to read and play or sing a piece of music at first sight.

Teen-girl-playing-pianoRead More

The Importance of Warming Up Before Piano Practice

January 24, 2017 / by Helen Baker

Just like an athlete needs to warm up before a serious exertion, a pianist needs to warm up before playing. Not only can it prevent an injury, it can also develop your fluency a great deal. The traditional piano technique doesn’t include scales and arpeggios to annoy you. It's done to improve your skill as well as finger strength and independence. Because a pianist usually plays more notes per piece than other instruments, warming up is essential. Let's take a look the importance and some of the benefits of warming up before you get into your practice routine.

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Try These Off Bench Exercises To Reshape Your Piano Playing

December 08, 2016 / by Helen Baker

Any musical instrument takes practice if you want to improve and eventually master it. Playing the piano is a physical activity, and like any sport/hobby, muscle development is required in order to learn and improve. This is where learning to do a few 'off-bench' piano exercises can come in handy. Off-bench exercises basically refer to learning or practicing music related tasks while not actually making music. In other words, playing the piano even when you are not sitting in front of one.

These off-bench exercises are perfect for beginners and they are still designed ...

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How to Use a Metronome for Piano Practice

December 02, 2016 / by Helen Baker

How many times have you heard that the best way to master something is to go out and just do it? That it's ok to make mistakes because you will learn from them? Indeed for some skills this is true. However, for the more technical skills – like playing piano – just playing and trying to learn from your mistakes may not be enough. As a novice piano player, it’s best to get the elementary skills, like timing and tempo, tied down fast. It is a frightening reality, but playing out of tune is hardly motivating. Before you know it, you may start doubting whether you a...

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What Is a Piano Fake Book?

December 05, 2016 / by Helen Baker

In order to completely understand what a fake book is, it's important to understand where it comes from. A fake book is a collection of lead sheets which were originally developed for jazz players in the Baroque Period. In jazz, improvisation is essential. However, writing out a whole song in the traditional style would take too long, so the musicians would simply jot down the general chords in the song alongside a very basic melody.

When they played the song on the stage (which was usually for the first time) they would throw in their own improvisations as the song progre...

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How To Ace Your Piano Exam

November 27, 2016 / by Helen Baker

It is normal to feel anxious before any piano exam. If anything, it shows you are taking the exam seriously, and that's important. What's even more important is believing in your own ability and to not allow the lack of preparation get in the way of acing your exam.  Here are some tips to help make the journey as smooth and stress-free as possible. 

A Few Weeks Before The Exam

If your studies had progressed as well as they should you will hopefully be preparing for your piano exam. It is important to know that you can’t ...

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5 Piano Finger Exercises Guaranteed To Increase Your Playing Speed

November 14, 2016 / by Julie Adams

Studies have shown that speed is the second most difficult skill to acquire, after musicality. And if you’re an avid piano player, then you’re well aware how tired and cramped your fingers will become when you play long pieces. This is especially true when you are stuck on a fast piece. The most common misunderstanding is that you need to practice playing fast in order to increase your playing speed.

Unfortunately, doing this can actually slow down your learning process. The trick to making your fingers faster lies in starting off slow and perfecting your technique...

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Proper Hand Position and Exercises for Piano Beginners

November 14, 2016 / by Helen Baker

Learning proper piano hand positioning is vital for both beginner and experienced piano players. When you're just starting out, it might appear as if proper hand position doesn’t really matter all that much. The fact is, when you get more comfortable behind the piano and you start putting in more time, you will quickly come to realize (and feel) the importance of proper hand positioning. But in order to correct your hand position, you must first take the time to identify your current hand position.

Why is proper piano hand positioning so important? Read More

8 Piano Mistakes You’re Probably Making

November 18, 2016 / by Julie Adams

There are many things to keep in mind when you’re learning to play the piano. It can sometimes feel overwhelming when you start to think about it. There are no shortcuts to becoming a great piano player. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed. 

However, there are a few very common mistakes that many pianists have learned to avoid. It might seem like minor problems, but it’s small improvements like these that will really help beginners to reach their full potential. 

Here is a list of the top 8 mistakes. How many are you guil...

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The Top 8 Piano Myths Busted!

October 11, 2016 / by Julie Adams

Knowing how to play the piano is an amazing skill that adds more than just music to your life. But it’s easy to get discouraged when someone informs you that you’re too old, or your fingers are too short.

For so long these piano myths have convinced our society that they must be true. Otherwise, why would they still exist, right? Not true. It’s time we bust these myths and unleash the facts!  Read on to learn about the top 8 myths in learning to play piano and make sure you don't fall into the trap of believing them!  Getting beyond all of these...

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Does Piano Software Really Work?

October 02, 2016 / by Helen Baker

Arthur C. Clarke once shared his wisdom when he said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” What technology has enabled us to do thus far....truly...is... amazing...

We have cars that assist us with our driving, we can chat with our friends anywhere in the world almost instantly, and we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. No wonder our computer can teach us how to play the piano.

With computers that can drive be...

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Feeling Bored? How To Stay Motivated Learning the Piano

October 01, 2016 / by Julie Adams

Every successful career starts with a lofty aspiration...a dream. In pursuit of that dream, you aim to take certain actions. In your case, you enroll for a piano class. But here is the thing; even great dreams wane and, if you don’t do something about it, they become a bore...and even die.  

Wherever you may find yourself and dreams at this point, the fact you are reading this means it is anything but dead. That may be little consolation if your piano practice sessions have turned into a chore that you will be glad to avoid.

Take heart! The following 6 tips sh...

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Taking Piano Lessons vs Self-Taught: Which Is Better?

August 22, 2016 / by Helen Baker

So you have decided to take piano lessons. Great! The benefits of learning music are countless!

If you want to learn how to play the piano, the ideal first step will be to find yourself a piano teacher. However, it's definitely possible to teach yourself how to play the piano.

But be careful, because learning an instrument is challenging enough as it is, and struggling on your own often sees many people give up due to frustration without professional guidance. 

With that being said, the...

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6 Things You Should Know Before Buying Your Piano

August 17, 2019 / by Joseph Evans

Before buying any musical instrument, you are naturally going to need to do some research to help ensure that you are making the right decision.

If you are considering buying your first piano, here are a few things to take into account before you go ahead and make that payment and have it delivered.

1. Size Matters

Do you have a large spacious house or a cozy little flat? Do you have an idea where your new acoustic piano is going to stand in your home? Obviously, you do...but can you imagine buying a piano that's simply...

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Piano vs Keyboard: Which One Should I Buy?

August 15, 2016 / by Helen Baker

The existence of the piano can be dated back many years. Invented in about 1700, it didn't always look like this,  but the basic principle of the hammers hitting the strings to produce sound remained the same for the last 300 years.

As technology developed, the keyboard was born, and the battle of which is the best instrument started. So, when thrown into the ring, which one would you ultimately choose? The piano or the keyboard? Here is a comparison to help you make up your mind.

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Is My Child Ready for Piano Lessons?

August 10, 2016 / by Joseph Evans

There is no doubt about the benefits that come along with music education, like the improvement of memory and concentration, intellectual stimulation and, of course, confidence. 

Being a parent can already be a challenging adventure with everything - from choosing the best school to convincing them to eat their broccoli. At the end of the day, you make decisions according to what you believe is the best for your child. So, how do you know whether your child is ready for piano lessons?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself which should help you asses...

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How To Choose Between a Digital or Acoustic Piano

July 26, 2016 / by Joseph Evans

Looking to buy a piano but can’t decide between an acoustic or a digital piano? The acoustic piano market is over 300 years old, whereas the digital version is much more recent.

Though technically, you can say they are both essentially pianos, so it can be a difficult decision to choose between the two. Here are some important differences to help you decide which one you prefer.

The Digital Piano

The purpose of a digital piano is to try to mimic the sound and feel of a traditional ...

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Piano vs. Guitar: Which is Easier to Learn?

February 07, 2017 / by Helen Baker

A good foundation for any project is vital, and if you choose music, a solid foundation is also needed. But which route is the best to take, and what will give you the best start? Most people consider taking either the piano or the guitar to start off with, and both are excellent instruments to master - guaranteed to give any future musician the possibility of conquering several different genres and styles.

But the answer to which is easier to learn? Well, this is neither a black or white answer, and ultimately the final decision will depend o...

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Learning Piano as an Adult? It's Never Too Late!

July 31, 2017 / by Joseph Evans

Learn to play the piano...one of the most common New Year's resolutions of all time...right up there with learning French or being more strict with your diet.

And the excuses are equally typical aren't they? No time to practice, not enough money for lessons, or even worse, think you're too old?

Some of these reasons are valid of course, but age is definitely not one of them! 

You can learn to play the piano at any point in your life, whether it's in your teens busy with school, in your forties when yo...

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How Much Do Piano Lessons Cost?

July 16, 2016 / by Helen Baker

If you so happen to be interested in taking piano lessons either for yourself or for your children, the first question, naturally, is how much will it cost to take these piano lessons?

Well, there are several factors that may influence the overall price. One-on-one lessons with a private music instructor can work out more expensive when compared to online lessons, so it’s imperative that you choose the right teacher for your specific level and needs.

Even though there are usually standard rates for piano lesson Read More

Which Keyboard Should I Get For My Piano Exercises?

March 07, 2016 / by Helen Baker

Not everybody can afford the old grand piano, and one of the most exciting moments of you journey will be when you purchase your very own electronic keyboard

There are a few factors to consider before you buy your music-making tool, and this article aims to highlight these and help make your decision that much easier.

The beauty of starting your musical career with piano lessons is that it will naturally pave the way for other instruments.

Once you’ve learned and grasped terms like chords and scales, the founda...

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7 Keys To Making Piano Lessons Fun for Everyone!

June 14, 2017 / by Julie Adams

We all began our learning process with first being taught the ABC's, then the 1, 2, 3's, and after that, the do-re-mi's, and piano lessons are no different.

When learning the piano, it really can be as simple as A to G, as several “keys” can be remembered, to make this more fun for anyone who is just starting out.

Here are 7 keys to making piano lessons an enjoyable activity.

A - Attention-Grabbing

The average age of beginner piano players range from 6 to 8 years ol...

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6 Ways To Get Your Child To Practice Piano

February 23, 2016 / by Julie Adams

We would all love to convey our years of hard-earned wisdom to our children by merely uttering it. The reality is though, that an 8-year-old is not interested in whether piano practice taught mommy patience when she was young, or perhaps showed dad the way to self-discipline.  

That's exactly why we have put together some advice gathered from teachers, parents and former students to help you help your offspring practice piano - or at the very least, giving it a well-deserved attempt.

Here are 6 of the ...

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Finger Exercises for Piano Beginners

February 23, 2016 / by Helen Baker

As with any skill or talent that we pursue, practice makes perfect. In order to master any technique, we need to form and expand our knowledge and work on it  tirelessly.  Learning to play the piano is a fantastic skill to master, but without doing some finger exercises, you will not be able to progress.

Fortunately for us, medieval finger stretching devices and ominous headmistresses with hard-hitting rulers are a thing of the past.  Piano finger exercises, however, will always be relevant - as long as we still have the passion to...

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How to Avoid Injury When Playing the Piano

October 29, 2012 / by Suzanne Poole

No Pain No Gain is a motivating phrase to your average vampire. It's just an occupational hazard that the pain is someone else's problem. For a pianist, No pain no Gain should NOT BE an occupational hazard... EVER! (Even on Halloween).

We all know that pain is never a good sign when we are practicing, right? Did you also know that it is possible to protect yourself from even the smelliest, strongest, and meanest vampires? You can outsmart them with a secret ingredient! GARLIC!

Here is the recipe:

G: G...

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Practice Makes Perfect

September 02, 2012 / by Suzanne Poole

"It's time to practice." "Practice makes perfect." "Showing up is half the battle." "That which you persist in doing gets easier." "A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link." You've heard it all by now I'm sure. It doesn't matter if you are just starting out, or if you have been playing your instrument for years, sometimes it feels like you just aren't getting anywhere at all.

An unproductive practice session full of frustration doesn't quite describe it... it's more like a musical Olympics gone bad. And for me, $75 per lesson meant the pressure to "get it...

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Sight Reading and Your Musical GPS

August 08, 2012 / by Suzanne Poole

Imagine what a trip through the mall or better yet... Disneyland would be like with NO MAP! You may have heard about that incredible Ferris Wheel that is a mile high and actually have to search for and hour to find it, or worse yet! You may end up with a defective seatbelt in the wrong line and find yourself traveling through "It's a Small World "over and over and over. And over. You get the picture.

Don't get me wrong! I just spent a week there, and I did go on Small World. I love the key of G major...and I really think blingy singing people from every country ...

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Chopin Prelude in Db Major Op. 28 No. 15

February 10, 2012 / by Chuck Newsome

The last example we will examine in this study is another of Chopin's most famous compositions. Prelude No. 15 in Db major, the "Raindrop Prelude" is an important piece of today's concert repertoire, primarily due to its lyrical nature and memorable melody. Because of its importance, the melody is included above the harmonic reduction in Figure 6 (shown on the following page). This prelude is the longest of the 24, at 90 bars in length, certainly a stark contrast from the 12 bars of No. 9. Due to its length, this piece contains a long "B" section, in the parallel minor, written enharmon...

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Chopin Prelude in E Major Op. 28 No. 9

February 10, 2012 / by Chuck Newsome

The next prelude, No. 9, features yet another texture. Although it is only 12measures long, this piece showcases Chopin's elegant use of common chord modulations, 3rd based root movements, and dense harmonic textures.

Figure 5 (above) is a harmonic reduction of Prelude No. 9. Chopin chooses a very different texture in this piece. The R.H. plays chordal figures while the loping melody is represented in the extremely low register of the L.H. Of particular interest in this prelude are the number of modulations that occu...

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Chopin Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 No. 4

February 10, 2012 / by Chuck Newsome

The first example examined here illustrates Chopin's interesting mixture of traditional and forward-thinking harmonic techniques is Prelude No. 4 in E minor, shown below in Figure 1, a harmonic reduction and analysis:

This short prelude is one of the most famous works from Chopin's entire catalogue. In addition to being played at his funeral, No. 4 has been featured in several Hollywood movies and was the inspiration for Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova composition, "How Insensitive", and for "Exit Music (for a film)", by ...

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Expanded Harmonic Vocabulary in the Preludes of Frederic Chopin

February 10, 2012 / by Chuck Newsome

Although Frederic Chopin is known as a composer of inherently lyrical piano music, his influence has extended far beyond the piano and into the vocabulary of 20th century American jazz. Based on an analysis of several of Chopin's preludes, the forward-thinking tendencies of the composer emerge in his use of "upper extensions", altered tones, and German augmented sixth chords descending in half steps-all common techniques in jazz composition. Prelude in E minor Op. 28 No. 4 and Prelude in Db Major Op. 28 No. 15 are among the works analyzed in examining Chopin's expanded harmonic techniques...

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Piano Lessons at Home?

January 09, 2012 / by Mark Buchanan

As one of five children, I well remember the pack of us trooping 'round the neighborhood to school, to church, to piano lessons. We'd file one-by-one down Mrs. Connell's narrow steps to a gloomy basement room divided by a curtain, upright piano on one side, ancient sofa on the other. This was her studio, and those of us waiting were left to fidget on the sofa while listening to brother or sister get instructed. An experience quite like a trip to the dentist, I now realize. But at age six, I just thought it was icky.

Why did the five Buchanan kids troop to Mrs. Connell's house f...

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Piano Lessons for Children

January 05, 2012 / by Mark Buchanan

"Hello, Marge? You won't believe what my little Billy learned to play on the piano today . . . and he's only three-and-a-half years old!" These days, we believe in starting 'em young. But when it comes to piano lessons for kids, just how young becomes an important question. Experts agree that early exposure to music is beneficial to children—just witness those progressive parents who play recordings of Bach's third Brandenburg Concerto to Junior by placing tiny speakers on Mommy's tummy before Junior is even born! But if you are not already committed to th...

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Suzuki Piano Lessons

December 16, 2011 / by Mark Buchanan

Just as the typical young parent will forever cherish the first words spoken by the typical child, so might the parent of a young piano student come to cherish the strains of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as learned by their child using the Suzuki Method.

Psychologists and parents have long marveled at a child's prodigious learning ability during its earliest years. Such was the preoccupation of Japanese musician Shinichi Suzuki when, during his nation's difficult post-World War II years, he was struck by children's great facility to learn spoken language at a very ear...

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Piano Teacher Guilds

January 04, 2012 / by Mark Buchanan

Are you the best piano teacher in the world? How about one of the best, with a comfortable, well-appointed studio, a great instrument in perfect tune, a personal style your students absolutely adore and a passion for what you love to do. If so, congratulations! But even if you are all these things, if students and prospective students don't know anything about you-who you are, what you offer, where you're located––how will all this translate into a fulfilling career as a piano teacher? Unfortunately, it won't . . . unless you can somehow make information about...

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Adult Piano Lessons

January 04, 2012 / by Mark Buchanan

Too old to start playing the piano?

Nonsense! Remember how you felt not long ago when you first heard to word "Internet"? Most of us had absolutely no idea how much we were going to learn over the next 10 or 20 years about computers, about cyberspace, about the very foundations of how we communicate. The fact that you're now on-line reading this article proves you learned all that! And you can learn to play the piano too, no matter how many years you've logged on the calendar.

Not rocket science

As adults, there's good news and bad about whether we "old do...

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The Benefits of Taking Piano Lessons

August 31, 2011 / by Michael Raybould

The Verdict is in. Piano Lessons Pay Off Big Time! Did you know that kids get smarter by playing piano? Pianists have less anti-social behaviour. Pianists are able to multi-task almost as good as mothers!!! No matter how you cut it, the piano is an incredible instrument. Below is clear proof why you AND your children should be putting aside time in your day to learn piano. There is no denying that doing so will benefit both of you.

Studies showing Piano Lesson Benefits

After nine months of weekly training in piano or voice, new research shows young students' IQs rose ne...

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Top 5 Benefits of Piano Lessons

August 07, 2011 / by Michael Kinney

Some of the most common initial questions people ask when they see someone who is an exceptional piano player include:

  • How long have you been playing piano?
  • What age did you start taking piano lessons?
  • Do you play by ear?
  • Do you read music?

More often than not, if someone is a good player they have taken piano lessons for a good amount of time and from quality teachers. You simply cannot become a great player unless you learn from other piano players and musicians. Whether you take piano lessons in form of regular weekly sessions or ju...

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Tips for Practicing Without a Piano

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

There are two key ingredients to becoming a good piano player.  The first is finding a good teacher.  Getting piano lessons from a good teacher or good piano learning course will help you to master concepts more quickly and in the correct way.  If the teacher is right, you'll also get inspiration which is key to keeping your interest and motivation.  The second ingredient is practice.  The more you put into learning how to play the more you will get out.  That only makes sense, right?  Many people think that people are naturally gifted and can just sit dow...

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Playing By Ear - Transcribing Methods

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

In this piano lesson, we discuss the importance of transcription.  As with anything, when approaching your first transcription you should start with something simple. Don't attempt to transcribe the most difficult piano piece ever written. If you do, you'll just end up frustrating yourself and possibly give up on the whole idea.

So what should you start with then? My advice is to pick an excerpt from your favorite song with a single note melody. The melody line doesn't have to be from the piano. It can be a horn, voice, bass line or anything that strikes you. It is important to p...

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Being In Tune With Your Piano

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

The Nut Shell Concept: Winston Churchill once gave this advice to his fellow speech makers.

  • Say what you are going to say
  • Say it
  • Say what you just said

I will humbly try to do the same.

In a Nutshell - Pianos should be tuned twice yearly. Once yearly will get you by, but leaving it longer than that is doing damage to your instrument and will catch up with you money wise and performance wise.

The Nutshell: After more than 30 years in the piano business, I wish I could give one single rule about how often a piano needs tuning. As we all know,...

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Piano Scales Made Easy

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

Learning scales on the piano is an essential part of becoming a good piano player. Unfortunately, it is also something that many students dread. After all, how much fun can it be playing the same notes up and down, over and over again? Although I can?t promise to make scales the most exciting part of playing the piano, I hope to give you some pointers to make the most of this practicing and to learn it quickly and easily.

Learn the Spacing between the Notes of Each Scale

The easiest way to learn the notes of each scale is to start by understanding the spacing be...

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Analysis of Mozart's Piano Concerto in G major, K.453

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

In the following, I will discuss Mozart's Piano Concerto in G major, K.453.  This particular concerto was composed in 1784 and contains three movements (allegro, andante, and allegretto).  Due to the fact that I do not have the entire score, I will only be able to make certain comments on harmonic movements that are obvious to my ear.  I will try to provide as much harmonic analysis as possible under these circumstances.  I will explain how Mozart's choice of harmony, rhythm, melody, and orchestration in this particular concerto affect my reception of the piece. &nb...

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Overcoming Stage Fright at the Piano

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

So you have your first piano recital coming up and you are scared to death. You start asking yourself questions over and over that only increase your anxiety. What if I forget the song? What if I'm the worst player there? What if people laugh at me? Your palms sweat and your fingers shake. These are all common feelings especially if you don't have any experience playing in front of people. The good thing is that they are all things that can be overcome if you know how to do it.

Focus on Breathing

Breathing is an extremely important skill to work on and one that ...

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Online Jazz Piano Lessons

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

I've met piano players who have played classical piano for many years but have always wanted to know how to improvise. I've also met players who want to learn how to improvise from the start and who are not interested in reading classical piano music straight off the page. Regardless of what category you fall into, if you're interested in learning to make things up as you go and improvise, the best way to get started is through jazz. Jazz is a language that allows musicians to compose on the spot while still sticking to a set of rules or guidelines. Depending on the style of jazz, those rul...

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My Funny Valentine - Rodgers and Hart

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

Among jazz musicians, there are certain tunes referred to as "jazz standards" which all jazz musicians are expected to know by memory.  These tunes have been in the jazz repertoire for many years and as a result, have been performed in a wide variety of arrangements.  Of the most prominent teams of writers for these types of "jazz standards" was Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Rodgers and Hart).  In the following, I will discuss the famous Rodgers and Hart jazz standard written in 1937 known as My Funny Valentine.  Like most standards, this tune is extremely popular amo...

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Learning Chords on the Piano

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

There are typically two types of piano students. One type is able to read music and can play songs and compositions so long as they are written note for note on a page in front of them. The other type of student is able to play music based off of the chords they know and typically from what is known as a fake book. Ideally you should be able to do both things (read music and know your chords) but I think it is especially important to understand chords on the piano. Knowing the basic structure of piano chords will help you to improvise, learn songs more quickly, and remember songs more easil...

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The Single Most Important Expenditure for Piano Owners!

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

I love pianos! Uprights or grands --- old or new --- scratched up wood or high gloss polyester --- I love pianos! When my wife and I were first married it quickly came to her attention that I owned 13 pianos but no dining room set! She seemed to think that there was something wrong with my priorities! Imagine that! And guess what? I did not win the argument!!! Even now, having conformed to the barest of piano necessities, we have a piano in our bedroom, another in the dining room, a nice little grand in the living room, and another waiting to come in from the shop. In our advertising we hav...

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Analysis of Haydn String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 74, no. 3 Mvt II

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

In the following I will discuss Haydn's string quartet in G minor.  In order to gain a more complete understanding of the piece, we will begin by discussing its phrase structure and overall ternary form.  Once these aspects are understood, we will look more deeply into what is happening within the phrases.  Through the analysis of Haydn's use of chromaticism, modulation, and motive, we will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the similarities, contrasts, and colors that that are developed within each section and phrase of the piece.

To begin, let us look at measur...

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5 Ways to Get your Child Learning Piano

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

After most piano performances, I always enjoy talking with people in the audience who took the time to come out and hear me play. One of the most common comments I get is ?how long have you been playing?? My response always the same: ?I started lessons when I was 5 years old and just seemed to stick with it?? So many people I speak with express disappointment saying they wish they had started taking piano lessons as a kid or they wish they hadn?t quit them so early.

Since this comes up so frequently, I decided to investigate what it is that I feel keeps kids interested in learning th...

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Finding a Good Piano Teacher

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

Are you looking for a good piano teacher for yourself or for your child? Finding a good piano teacher can be difficult but the extra effort to find the perfect match will be worth it in the end. As with anything you learn, being able to connect with the person who is teaching you is one of the most important elements of any good learning experience. When you are learning piano, you should seek out a teacher who has experience with students of your level. You don't want to be stuck with someone who cannot teach beginners. On the flip side, you also don't want to be a more advanced student st...

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Analysis of Beethoven's Sonata in Eb Op. 31/3 (Minuet/Trio)

December 26, 2010 / by Michael Kinney

In the following I will discuss Beethoven's Sonata in Eb.  We will first understand the piece in terms of its phrase structure and overall form.  Once these elements are understood, I will highlight the ways in which the minuet and trio contrast.  Finally, I will identify any similarities that exist between the two parts.

In order to understand the overall form of the piece, we must first analyze the phrase structures that make up the minuet and the trio.  We will begin with the minuet which consists of three separate phrases within two sections.  The first ph...

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