Showing posts with label Keyboard Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keyboard Instruments. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How to Play PIANO TABS - An Easy to Use Technique to Quickly Get Better at Playing Piano Tabs

Learning how to play piano tabs is great for beginner piano players who don't know how to read sheet music. These tabs will give you the ability to read music without having to look at or use a manuscript paper.

To learn how to play piano tabs you can do so by playing a song with a traditional piano tab line. One such song is the "Mary had a little lamb" song, as it has one of the most basic tab lines for the piano.

Get the tab line from this song and practice playing the song. To start playing the song you should begin on the fourth octave of the piano.

The fourth octave of the keyboard is what the number 4 represents in the beginning line of this song. The numbers are instructing what octave to play in the beginning with the lowest "c" on your keyboard.

Now the next step is to count the beats in each measure. The dash marks in the tab represent a half step. You should begin at the "c" which is at the first line. Now you must count each note and dash mark. Take the note of the horizontal lines and these lines separate each measure.

When you count the dashes and letters you will notice that the line above has four counts for every measure. Read the notes in the piano tab as the notes you'll play. Every lower case letter in a tab represents the exact note.

Every upper case letter you see in the tabs of the piano represent a sharp note. Practicing the tab line in this basic song is an easy and effective technique to learn how to play piano tabs.



Thursday, January 3, 2019

PLAY PIANO in a Flash – Is it Possible?

Piano, keys
Piano, keys (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Is it really possible to learn to play piano in a flash? That would be impossible because according to some expert pianists, it took them years to learn their lessons and play effectively. However, there is one way to improve your learning process in a flash.

You might be wondering how, right? Well, it is really simple. You have to take note of your posture. This is very important when playing the piano. Try to observe pianists; they have great postures and they seem to play with ease at all times. Without proper posture, you will not learn the basic playing techniques and even if you do, you can’t play the instrument comfortably.

Some say that it is easier to teach children when it comes to posture but even if you’re an adult, you can still improve your posture. If you can do this, you can play comfortably and with flexibility.

1. Try to imagine yourself sitting and you’re about to play the piano. See yourself as a giraffe; feeling as if your neck and head can reach the ceiling.

2. The next thing that you have to do is to stretch your arms. Try to imagine that the arms are the wings of an angel. Stretch your arms to the sides until your elbows are horizontally pointed.

3. Now, focus your attention to your hands. Look at your fingers. Move them just like the legs of a spider. Walk each of your fingers to the piano keys.

4. You have to sit on the bench with ease and confidence. Try to think that you’re the best pianist there is and that you know all your pieces well.

5. When sitting on the bench, your elbows should be located right in front of the stomach. Stretch your arms until your fingers touch the piano keys. Never scoot forward. Sit as if you’re glued to the bench.

Did you notice anything on the five posture pointers mentioned? Which word is used many times? The word ‘imagine’ is used most of the time. This is very effective especially if you’re still a child but it can also work for adults. Try using your imagination. This way, your body and mind will connect instantly and you can play naturally.

The next time you practice on your piano, try to follow these pointers. Follow them one by one until you finally learn. These pointers are truly effective if you can follow properly. Even your piano teacher or instruction manuals will say the same thing. Here’s a question for you – have you ever seen a pianist who slouches? That would be quite funny and irritating, right?



Start by learning to have a good posture. This is one of the starting points to learn to play the piano in a flash. But all the other lessons should be taken one step at a time. You have to retain all the lessons. That is why you have to review your past lessons often to make sure that you still know them. You can’t simply forget past lessons because you will need them in the future lessons that you’re going to have.

The truth is, you can’t play piano in a flash. But with a little improvement in terms of your posture, you can go a long way. Take note of your posture now and check if you have a good one.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Have A Better Understanding Of PIANO MUSIC Theory

A piano
A piano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having a solid understanding of piano music theory is something that will put you above the rest as you learn to play the piano. Musicians who can recognize chord patterns, note values, rhythmic structures, and scales are immediately more successful when it comes to learning new music easily and playing along with other musicians. This is because a theory is the backbone of all music, and being able to understand these basic concepts is vital to learning and mastering all styles of playing.

If you are simply interested in gaining a new skill and enriching your artistic capabilities, learning to play the piano can be one of the most calming and satisfying things you do in your life. Music is a great way to escape from stressful things that are on your mind and focus on something that you really want to do. Finding the right musical instrument to play is a great way to try something new and experience music from a different perspective. Try out a few lessons and soon you’ll be hooked on the beautiful sounds you make while sitting in front of the piano.

Learning the piano while also taking piano music theory courses is a great way to incorporate theory while you are learning to play new songs. This way you can focus on the particular chords, notes, and scales that apply to individual songs. Understanding the mechanisms of each piece of music you play will become easier the more you practice and learn over time. Then you will be able to assess each song or piece of music before you try to play it because you will be able to understand the notes and rhythms within the music.

All it takes is a few music theory lessons and you will be well on your way to experiencing a difference in the way you learn and play the piano. You may also find that you are more confident when tackling new styles of playing or more difficult pieces once you have mastered basic theory concepts.



Above all, make sure that when you are learning online you move at your own pace. Once you have mastered one concept in music theory, then move on to the next. Piano music theory is essential to your growth as a musician, and it will help you succeed at playing anything you choose to tackle down the road.

At Hear and Play, we offer a variety of online courses designed to help you improve your piano playing skills including theory courses and programs that will help you learn how to play by ear. Contact us today at http://www.hearandplay.com to learn more.



Sunday, November 25, 2018

Playing The BEETHOVEN PIANO SONATAS

English: Photograph of bust statue of Ludwig v...
Photograph of a bust statue of Ludwig van Beethoven by Hugo Hagen  

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are many series, suites and cycles of pieces which can be considered "up there" in the pianist's standard repertoire: Bach's '48', Schubert's Impromptus and Moments Musicaux, Schuman's Carnaval and Kreisleriana, Chopin's Etudes and Preludes, Liszt's Années or the Transcendental Studies, but none can quite come close to Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas, usually referred to as the 'New Testament' of piano music (the WTC is the 'Old Testament'!). Perhaps the primary appeal of these pieces, aside from the sheer Herculean effort of learning and absorbing them, is that they offer both a far-reaching overview of Beethoven's musical style and a glimpse into the inner workings of his compositional life and personality. Urban legend has it that Beethoven was a rough, irascible, grumpy and unapproachable sod, but this does not tell us much about his music. Living with his music, spending time with it to understand what makes it special, allows a more honest, rounded view of him, and, perhaps of all his music, the piano sonatas offer a really candid autobiography.

As pianists, whether amateur or professional, advanced or intermediate, or even just beginning on the great journey of exploration, we have all come across Beethoven's piano music, and many of us have played at least one of his sonatas during our years of study. As an early student, a taster of a proper sonata in the form of one of his Sonatinas (something my father is grappling with at the moment - and refusing any helpful advice from me!). Later on, we might encounter one of the "easier" piano sonatas, such as the pair of two-movement sonatas that form the Opus 49 (nos. 19 and 20), which are roughly Grade 5-6 standard (but don't be fooled by the comparatively "easy" notes!). As part of my Grade 8 repertoire, I learned the No. 5 (Opus 10, No. 1, in C minor), which prefigures the far more well-known and well-loved Pathétique in the flourish of its opening measures, the "beautiful melody" of its slow movement, and its febrile final movement. A quick glance through the Diploma repertoire lists for any of the exam boards (Trinity, ABRSM, RAM etc) and there is a generous handful of sonatas to choose from, from well-known to less popular, to suit each level of Diploma right up to Fellow.

It is generally accepted the pianistic wisdom that Beethoven composed the piano sonatas during three distinct periods of his life, and as such, like the Duo Sonatas for Piano and 'Cello (read my earlier post here), offer a fascinating overview of his compositional development. Setting aside the three "Electoral" sonatas, which are not usually included in the traditional cycle of 32 (though Beethoven authority, Professor Barry Cooper, who has edited new the ABRSM edition of the sonatas, argues that there is a case for including the three sonatas that Beethoven wrote when he was 12 in a complete edition), the early sonatas are, like the early duo sonatas (for violin and for 'cello), virtuosic works, reminding us that Beethoven was a fine pianist. While the faster movements may nod back to his teacher, Haydn (though Beethoven would strenuously deny any influence!), it is the slow movements which demonstrate Beethoven's deep understanding of the capabilities of the piano, and its ability, through textures and colours, moods and contrasts, to transform into an instrument he wishes it to be. Some of the writing could be for string quartet (Op. 2 No. 2). In the early sonatas, Beethoven's mastery of the form is already clear, and many look forward to the greater, more complex, and more revolutionary sonatas of his 'middle' period. His distinctive musical personality is already stamped very firmly on these early works.

The sonatas from the middle period are some of the most famous:

The 'Tempest' and 'La Chasse' (Op. 30, Nos. 2 and 3). The first with its stormy, passionate opening movement, the second of the opus rollicking and somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

The 'Moonlight' (Op. 27, No. 2): the first piano sonata to open with a slow movement. Too often the subject of clichéd, lugubriously romantic renderings, this twilight first movement shimmers and shifts. An amazing gesture, created by a composer poised on the threshold of change.




he 'Waldstein' (Op. 53). Throbbing quavers signal the opening of one of the greatest of all of Beethoven's piano sonatas, while the final movement begins with a sweetly consoling melody which quickly transforms into daring octave scales in the left hand and a continuous trill in the right hand. This is Beethoven at his most heroic.

'Les Adieux' (Op. 81a). Suggested to be early 'programme' music in its telling of a story (Napoleon's attack on the city of Vienna which forced Beethoven's patron, Archduke Rudolph, to leave the city, though this remains the subject of some discussion still). It is true that Beethoven himself named the three movements "Lebewohl," "Abwesenheit," and "Wiedersehen". One of the most challenging sonatas because of its mature emotions and technical difficulties, it bridges the gap between Beethoven's middle and late periods.

Late period:
The 'Hammerklavier' (Op. 106), with its infamous and perilously daring grand leap of an octave and a half at the opening (which, of course, should be played with one hand!); its slow movement of infinite sadness and great suffering; its finale, a finger-twisting fugue, the cumulative effect of which is overwhelming: an expression of huge power and logic.

The Last Sonatas (Opp. 109, 110, 111). I have written about these sonatas previously. They are considered to be some of the most profoundly philosophical music, music which "puts us in touch with something we know about ourselves that we might otherwise struggle to find words to describe" (Paul Lewis), which speaks of shared values, and what it is to be a sentient, thinking human being. From the memorable, lyrical opening of the Op. 109 to the final fugue, that most life-affirming and solid of musical devices, of the Op 110, that peaen of praise, to the "ethereal halo" that is contained in some of the writing of the Arietta of the Op 111, the message and intent of this music is clear. And this is Beethoven's great skill throughout the entire cycle of his piano sonatas.

So, what is the perennial attraction of performing a Beethoven Sonata Cycle? Glance through concert programmes around the world and it is clear that these sonatas continue to fascinate performers and audiences alike, and no sooner has one series ended than another begins, or overlaps with another. Playing the Sonatas in a cycle is the pianistic equivalent of reading Shakespeare, Plato, or Dante, and for the performer, it offers the chance to get right to the heart of the music, peeling back the layers on a continuous journey of discovery, always finding something new behind the familiar. One does not have favourites; just as when one has children, one should never have favourites, though certain sonatas will have a special resonance. The sonatas are like a family, they all belong together - and they are needed, ready to be rediscovered by each new generation. You can play the sonatas for over a quarter of a century, half a century, and yet there are still many things in these wonderful works to be explored and understood, things which still have the power to surprise and fascinate.

Every pianist worth his or her salt knows that presenting a Beethoven sonata cycle represents a pinnacle in one's artistic career (ditto the five Piano Concertos) and an important stepping stone to other great cycles (Schubert's sonatas, for example, which are, perhaps, less satisfying to play than Beethoven's because of problems such as incomplete or different versions of the same work), but once a cycle is complete, one cannot truly say one has conquered the highest Himalayan peak. And that is what is so special about this music: you can never truly say you have "arrived" with it, while its endless scope continues to reward, inspire and fulfil.

I have never heard a complete Beethoven cycle performed by a single performer, but I have heard plenty of concerts which form part of the whole: in the 1980s, it was John Lill, now one of the "elder statesmen" of British pianism; before him, my parents would have heard Brendel and Barenboim. Following in their footsteps, I heard some of Barenboim's concerts when he played a complete cycle at the Festival Hall three year's ago. At the same time, Paul Lewis was just finishing his own cycle at the Wigmore Hall (and beyond). I heard him play Nos. 15-18, some of the early sonatas, and the Last Sonatas. Then there was Till Fellner, a young Austrian with a clean, fresh approach, whose cycle began in 2008. On LP, I had Lill's complete cycle, released the same year as I heard him at RFH. On CD I have Arrau, whose account is hard to match. But I also have recordings of favourites, such as the Opus 10's, played by Angela Hewitt, or the Opus 110 (my absolute favourite), played by Glenn Gould and Mitsuko Uchida (whose Mozart playing I adore).

In concert, the sonatas are presented in halls large and small, famous and lesser known. The size of the hall can affect one's appreciation and understanding of the works. For example, sometimes the earlier sonatas, which were written for the salon, can be lost in a venue as big as the Royal Festival Hall. One's connection to the music is also affected, of course, by the performer. Lill, I remember, brought an extraordinary closeness and intimacy, something I have never forgotten, a sense that it was an entirely shared experience; while with Barenboim it felt as if an invisible barrier had been erected between us, the audience, and him the performer (I suspect he neither intended nor engineered this; rather, the over-awed audience brought it upon themselves!).

Further reading
Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas - Robert Taub. "Offers the insights of a passionate musician who performs all 32 of Beethoven's well-loved piano sonatas in concert worldwide. This book presents his intimate understanding of these works with listeners and players alike." (Amazon)
The Beethoven Sonatas and the Creative Experience - Kenneth Drake. "Drake groups the Beethoven piano sonatas according to their musical qualities, rather than their chronology. He explores the interpretive implications of rhythm, dynamics, slurs, harmonic effects, and melodic development and identifies specific measures where Beethoven skillfully employs these compositional devices." (Amazon)

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion - Charles Rosen. A very readable analysis of all 32 sonatas by respected pianist and writer.




Monday, October 22, 2018

Clean your PIANO keys

Upright piano from ca. 1900 (A. Jaschinsky) , ...
Upright piano from ca. 1900 (A. Jaschinsky), inside. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am sure that many of you would be passionate about music and might be having some of the musical instrument to enjoy this pleasant joy given to us. There are different sort of musical instruments that people usually owe such as guitar, trumpet, drum, woodwinds, strings or piano. Out of these pianos is the one that is not easy to play and also to maintain in comparison to the other ones mentioned.

So if you have a badly stained piano and you want to care for it then it doesn't require any professional cleaner or polisher but all you need is a regular soft buff with a lint free cloth. Any sprays or harsh chemicals will damage the surface of the delicate keys and shall also make the instrument look older and worn than what actually it is.

For cleaning the ivory keys you should not:
1. Immerse in water
2. Scrub with a brush or even a scouring pad
3. Use any type of chemicals or even washing up liquid can damage the previous surface
4. Spray with furniture polish
5. Use air-freshener anywhere near the keys or piano

Ivory should be gently wiped with a soft clean cloth and for stubborn marks or fingerprints you should first wash your hands and thereafter you can use a mild non-colored toothpaste on a damp cloth but ensure that you gently rub and never scrub. Rinse with fresh milk with another lint-free cloth and buff well.

You should leave the piano open on sunny days so that the keys stay bleached and don't turn yellow. Keys that are badly discolored or stained should be scrapped and recovered by any professional piano cleaner.



For cleaning plastic keys you should not:
1. Use chemicals
2. Leave the piano open for long period of time as this shall cause discoloration of the keys
3. Use furniture polish as this could be very harsh

Dust regularly and wipe occasionally with a soft solution of warm water and vinegar on clean chamois leather. Then buff well for added shine. If you want to clean the casework that usually gets very dusty you can use a vacuum cleaner attachment to get rid of any cobwebs or dust. It can take some time but it will surely be worth and remember not to use any water or liquid to clean the casework. For stains and marks, you can consult a professional piano cleaner or tuner.



Monday, October 1, 2018

How To MEMORIZE A SONG The Easy Way


Do you always need to have the sheet music to play a song? Do you wish you could sit down at the piano and just play like your favorite performers do?

Well, you are not alone. Most pianists feel the same way as you do.

But don’t give up just yet:

There is an easy way for you to conquer this problem, and it’s guaranteed to work.

The 3 x 5 Method

Part 1: Creating Your Tool In 5 Simple Steps:

All you need is a 3 x 5 index card to get started.

1. Mark off 4 empty measures evenly spaced across your index card (from left to right)

2. Place the chords for each measure between the bar lines.

3. Continue doing this for the entire song: always staying with 4 measures per line.

4. Use repeat signs as well as 1st and 2nd endings to save space as well as to simplify.

5. If the song has a bridge (middle section), draw a horizontal line below the verses and then place the chords in the same way as you did for the other measures.

Note: Many songs have 3rd verses that are the same or nearly the same as the 2nd.
No need to write these chords on the card.

Part 2: Using Your Index Card as Your Ticket to Success

1. Put the index card on the piano and play the chords with your left hand in time (slowly) as you look at them on the card instead of on the sheet music.

2. Next, focus exclusively on the first 4 measures. Look at the index card as you play the chords with your left hand and the melody with the right hand. You will surprise yourself at how easily you’ll be able to play the melody without music after a few minutes.

3. Repeat step #2 without the index card this time. Even if you need to refer to the card a couple of times, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to memorize this section.

4. Every time you practice, review the part of the song that you have already memorized. Once you can play this with confidence, follow the same process to memorize more of the song—always concentrate on 4 measure sections.

5. Carry your index card with you in your pocket or purse at all times. Anytime that you have a free moment—standing in line at the grocery store, sitting traffic, waiting for your meal to be served—pull out the card and review the names of the chords in order.
Remember to focus on 4 measure sections before moving ahead.

Part 3: Free at Last

1. Once you have the first song memorized, play your newly memorized song on as many pianos and keyboards as possible. You may need to refer to the index card occasionally. That’s okay. You’ll still be building up your confidence.

2. Start working on another song and follow this same method. This will actually help you play your first memorized song better because you’re now developing this habit.

3. Set a goal such as: “I play 5 songs beautifully and confidently from memory by…pick a date.” Review this goal 2 or 3 times every day.

4. Use visualization to help you: picture yourself playing the piano effortlessly a concert stage, as the center of attention at a party or just sitting in your living room alone.

The instrument is clear of all traces of music, and you are smiling from ear to ear.

5. Listen to recordings of your memorized song by great performers to inspire you.

Action Exercises

Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, spend part of your daily practice sessions working on your songs to be memorized. Your investment of a few minutes every day will yield powerful results.

Second, copy the chords onto an index card for each song you want to memorize. The act of writing alone helps to imprint the chords into your memory.

Third, review the chords on your 3 x 5 card every time you have a free moment. Your time away from the piano will become a turbocharger for your time at the piano.




Monday, July 16, 2018

The "BAGATELLES" by BEETHOVEN

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are three collections of bagatelles by Beethoven: "Seven Bagatelles, Opus 33", "Eleven new bagatelles, Opus 119" and "Six bagatelles, Opus 126". They originate from his time in Bonn, were probably originally intended as middle movements for sonatas but presumably considered by Beethoven in the course of the work on those compositions as too light in character.

To determine the origin and the dating of the Bagatelles are not altogether easy. As with many works of Beethoven the opus numbers themselves do not lead to a secure dating of the composition. Beethoven set the opus number only on the occasion of a publication. But even with extensive works the publication followed by no means immediately after the completion. For example, the big string quartets Opus 130, 131, 132 in A minor: Opus 132 the oldest, with Opus 130 following.

Besides, between the first design and the completion of single works with Beethoven often years lay, and the composer was known as very economical in regards to ideas, which he now and again after long breaks took up again, an exact dating especially of the smaller pieces, who filled the breaks between larger works, is especially difficult.

The bagatelles Opus 33 were published in 1803. The autograph carries the label "par Louis van Beethoven in 1782", therefore, one could presume, the whole work still belongs to the early years, Bonn. However, the authenticity of the label is questionable, sketches are found for the first and sixth part next to sketches of the oratorio "Christ on the Mount of Olives" (composed in 1801, first performance 1803) and to the Symphony No. 2 in D major (composed in 1801/02, first performance 1803).

Thus, even without a critical review, it can be supposed that the bagatelles of Opus 33 belong mostly to the years of 1801 and 1802, nevertheless, single parts appeared or were sketched before.

The contemporary criticism did not receive the collection particularly benevolently. The only preserved report refers to the name "Bagatelle", with contemptuous poignancy: "Do earn this title in the farthest sense of the word".

More difficult still is the exact dating of Opus 119. Already Hans von Bulow, to whom still no reliable research material was available, doubts in his Beethoven edition the statement of Schindler that these bagatelles were written around the time of the Missa Solemnis in 1822.

"We are not able to believe to this insurance so absolutely: to us these sketches seem to come from a different era, even if the majority, this some special peculiarities leads one to believe, belong seem to belong to the so-called last period." Bulows assumption has proven right.


Single sketches of Opus 119 are already found in 1801, mixed with some of Opus 33. The whole collection is made up of two different groups: No. 7-11 appeared first in 1821 as a contribution to the "Viennese Pianoforte School" compiled by Friedrich Starke, further sketches are found together with sketches of the Sonata in E major, Opus 109, of the Benedictus and the credo for the Missa, belong to 1820. No. 1-6 were finished two years later. The remaining parts are probably treatments of sketches from 1800-1804.

The history of the "Six bagatelle Opus 126" and their origin are indisputable. The sketches are from the year 1823 and are found besides those to the Quartet in A minor, Opus 132, and to the final choir of the Symphony No. 9. Bülow wrote: "Bezüglich dieses letzten Heftes glaubt der Herausgeber auf Grund der darin ersichtlichen charakteristischen Stileigentumlichkeiten versichern zu konnen, dass sie sämtlich aus der spätestens Schaffensperiode des Meisters stammen, was bei dem vorangehenden Hefte Opus 119 in Abrede gestellt werden musste." (Regarding this last collection, the publisher believes on grounds of the style characteristics to be able to affirm that it originates from the last period of the master, something that cannot be said for the preceding collection Opus 119."



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Easy Left Hand PIANO CHORDS, Chord Books and Chord Sheets For Beginners

Scott D. Davis
Photo  by ohlin 
As a music teacher, I am frequently asked how to play left-hand easy piano chords when learning to play the piano, electronic keyboard, and organ. Well, the first thing you need to do when learning chords are to learn the popular or basic chords first. These are major chords, minor chords, and seventh chords. These piano or keyboard chords are basically the foundations on which other chords are built. For instance, let's look at the C family of chords:
C
C6
C7
C9
C11
C13
All the chords above are basically a C chord with an added 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th or 13th. So when learning chords it's important to learn the basic C chord first. If you come across a C11 or C13 and you don't know what it is, just play the C chord. That's not to say you shouldn't eventually learn the 11th and 13th chords, but for beginners, just playing the C chord is adequate and harmonically correct and it means you can keep playing the piano or keyboard without stopping, which is what every learner wants to do.

The other thing to consider if you are learning on the electronic keyboard is that if you use the Auto Chord system that many of these keyboards have, then you won't be able to play the more advanced keyboard chords because the keyboard can't recognize certain chords, such as 11th and 13th chords.
Actually, keeping the number of chords you learn to a minimum will help you to play more pieces of music and the way to do this is to learn how to substitute one chord for another as mentioned above. 

For instance, if you learn to substitute all 9th chords for 7th chords, then this would cut your learning time by a hundred percent, obviously, you have to learn the 7th chords first, there are 12 major chords with a seventh and 12 Minor chords with a seventh and we can even reduce this further. Instead of learning all 12 major and minor chords all at once, just learn what you need. You do this with the help of key signatures. Most beginners start learning to play in the key of C and there are only a few easy piano chords associated with this key, they are, C, G, Dm, Am and sometimes F. If you pick pieces of music in this key you can learn these chords faster. When you are accomplished with those chords move on to the next key which is normally G.

This is the easiest and most enjoyable way of learning to play, it means you get to play music virtually straight away and you can move at your own pace, learn as many easy piano chords as you personally want. Many people just want to sit down and play a few tunes, nothing fancy and if you are one of those people then this is the way to go. Remember you don't need to learn a ton of chords be able to play music, just learn what you need and enjoy yourself.



Friday, June 29, 2018

How To Read PIANO SHEET MUSIC Fast

Schumann's "Erinnerung"
Piano Sheet music - Photo by pfly 
Learning how to read a musical piano sheet music should not cause you to worry. You do not need to have a very high IQ to do this. All you need to do is to have the patience for constant practice and an easy-to-read musical piano sheet. If you have all these, then learning would be easier. There are tips that you can follow and hopefully, these will help you as you slowly learn to read piano music.

Firstly, you need to begin by having a quick glance over the music sheet in its entirety. Next, look over the music sheet a second time, but this time, try getting familiar with the notes, tempo indications, articulations, and chords. Spend extra time reading notes that are difficult. Flagging these cords may help you understand them later.

Next, you should also study its key and time signatures. These keys might still be very unfamiliar to you, you can consult music books first. These key signatures are very important in understanding the music piece.

The third thing you should do is look for significant changes in the piece, tempo changes included. You need to identify key changes throughout the entirety of the music. When these changes have been seen, you should try to become familiar with the crucial key changes and the new keys.

Next, you need to look for common passages within the music piece. You need to point out whether there are repetitions in certain motifs or phrases in the piece. If you see that there is a variation somewhere, then you can always choose to familiarize yourself with the basic passages. Familiarizing yourself with basic passages can make you learn the variations much faster.

Most importantly, always try to play the musical piece incessantly especially for the first time. Try not to stop playing when you do it for the first time even if you feel it impossible to continue playing. This manner of playing helps you get a closer look and an aural experience of the entire musical piece. Repeat it for several times until you already get the hang it the piece. You will notice later on that you know how to read piano notes.



Monday, April 30, 2018

History and Role of the piano in the Modern World


The modern piano developed its form from two keyboard instruments, the clavichord and the harpsichord, which originated from early in music history. These keyboard instruments operate on the principle of direct connection between the applied force or pressure of the player on the keys, and the volume of sound. Meaning, the harder the pressure or force the player applies on the keys, the louder the sound of the instrument, the lighter the touch, the softer the sound.

Earlier musicians, however, encountered a problem with the clavichord and harpsichord: the sound was relatively diminutive as compared to how they would have wanted it to be, considering the fact that keyboard instruments were often played in large rooms (chambers), cathedrals and churches.

Around the year 1700, Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731) created the new keyboard instrument and coined its name from the fact that it could both play "piano" (soft) and "forte" (loud), addressing the problem of the old keyboard instruments. Thus, the pianoforte, or what we call shortly now as the piano.

Aside from the direct connection between the fingers on the keys and the sound, the piano also has two different pedals which are the “sustain” or damper pedal and the “soft” pedal. The sustain pedal allows the pianist to hold the tone or sound even after releasing the key. The soft pedal veils or muffles the sound. There is also a third pedal called the “sostenuto” pedal. However, not all pianos have this.

Other kinds of keyboard instruments include the pipe organ which was most prominent from 1600-1750 when it was commonly used for church music and considered then as the "king of instruments". The accordion is also another kind of keyboard instrument, as well as the modern organ and electric keyboard.

The role of the piano in the modern world is very versatile. The piano can cover a wide range of musical types from classical to pop to jazz. It can cater to a wide variety of audiences from music connoisseurs in concerts or artists in theatres, to children and pupils in pre-schools. Very noticeably too, piano students can very well play other instruments as well, even without its formal training.

The piano is also a very relevant tool in the culture of society. Since the turn of the 20th century, many households have been able to acquire their very own piano. From this assessment, we can infer that modern society believes in the benefits of studying music and piano in particular.

In almost every gathering (social, religious and even political), one cannot undermine the important role of music. It expresses ideals. It bonds the youth. It provides for a positive, productive & creative channeling for this generation's aggression and collective angst.

The importance of music on the development of a person, and eventually, of society cannot be understated. Perhaps its time to rethink how this important element of cultural and social development in our society has been treated.




Sunday, April 15, 2018

3 Steps to PLAYING Comfortably for a Crowd

Batsheva Dance Company theater crowd in Tel Av...
Batsheva Dance Company theatre crowd in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most people are not comfortable performing in front people. When I say of performing, such as an instrument, or singing, or acting, I mean more than just knowing how to do well at your chosen craft, I mean doing it well and in front of people. It’s the “in front of people” part that gets us every time. How many of us sing like a bird in the shower but then when people are watching we can’t carry a note. Here are three steps to start you on the road to comfort (never complete) when called on to shine.

1. Don’t neglect to practice. Whether you sing or play an instrument practice is a key to being relaxed. The more familiar you are with what you are performing, the less anxiety you will have about messing up.

2. Don’t back up. Piano teaches pass this on all the time. If you mess up in the middle, or any place in your piece, don’t back up and repeat the offending passage. Keep going. Chances are your audience didn’t even notice.

3. Try not to be critical of your technical skill. Focus more on your overall performance. How does it sound as a whole? If you’re a pianist and you worry during your piece about your fingering then you’re ignoring the song and how it sounds. Worry about technicalities when you practice. Which should be often.

With time playing in front of and for other people will come much easier. You'll be a natural. So use every opportunity to show your stuff!




Friday, April 13, 2018

7 Tips for Effective MUSICAL PRACTICE

English: A piano player who lives only for it....
A piano player who lives only for it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The quality of your practice is much more important than the quantity. The old saying "practice makes perfect" is only true if the practice itself is perfect. Here are 7 tips to help make your practice more effective and efficient. 

Practice motions slowly 

The muscular memory of our bodies allows us to physically carry out patterns of motion with little or no conscious involvement. Examples of muscular memory include walking, riding a bicycle, typing, and of course playing a musical instrument. 

In order to develop this memory, the muscles require training in the form of repeated conscious guidance from the mind. First, the mind must learn the pattern. Then the mind must "teach" the pattern to the muscles. 

The mind initially must control all the motions of the muscles. The more controlled and precise the motions, the more quickly the muscles will develop muscle memory. 

Slow practice also allows the mind to teach "antagonistic muscles" to relax. Antagonistic muscles are those that move in opposite directions. By relaxing antagonistic muscles you can reduce tension and facilitate faster and easier performance and avoid potential injury. 

Practice in small cells 

A "practice cell" is simply a finite series of motions. Musical cells can correspond to anything from a few notes to an entire work. When practicing, it is important to practice small cells of just a few notes. Practicing small cells limits the amount of information the muscles have to learn at one time. It also facilitates the mind's focus and concentration. 

Link the end of one cell to the beginning of the next 

To help the muscles develop a sense of continuum throughout the piece of music, the last motion in a cell should be the first motion of the following cell. 

Practice each cell in bursts 

Once the muscles have learned a pattern, they will be capable of executing it without conscious control. Initiate the pattern through a conscious command and allow the muscles to execute it in a burst. 


Don't practice mistakes 

For every repetition required to learn a pattern of motion, it takes 7 times the number of repetitions to change the pattern. If in the course of your practice you make an error, stop. Review in your mind the pattern. And further, reduce the speed of your motions. 

Pause between repetitions 

When dealing with repetitive activities, the mind is better able to focus when the repetitions are broken up by short pauses. After two or three repetitions, pause for about 30 seconds to regain focus. 

Take frequent breaks and don't "over-practice" 

B.F. Skinner and other experts have found that the mind's ability to learn drops significantly after prolonged intense concentration. Research shows that studying too long (i.e. more than four hours) can deplete chemicals in the brain necessary for learning. Therefore, it is best to take frequent breaks (a 5-minute break about every 20-25 minutes) and practice no more than 4 hours consecutively. 

By applying these techniques, you can dramatically improve the quality of your practice. You'll be able to use your time more efficiently and increase the effectiveness of your practice.





Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Before Fingering, Learn the Notes on the PIANO First

position of C on a keyboard
The position of C on a keyboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Once you have recognized your future in front of the piano, it can be a start. Eventually, it becomes more easy and fun. You can play almost all of the songs written in songbooks fluently. You can even write your own composition.

Now that you have established that energy in you, there’s still something that lacks. Why, do you think it’s enough to have the spirit without even knowing the chords? If you have mastered and identified the basic and major chords, things would be more favorable.

Alright, here are some bits on learning the notes on the piano. After these simple steps, you’ll have a brief background on fingering.

Lesson # 1

There are 88 keys comprising of 12 notes (white and black keys included). These basic notes are the seven basic letters namely A-note, B-note, C-note, D-note, E-note, F-note and the G-note. The first key colored in white is the C-note. You have to remember that the C-note is always the key that is connected in front of two black keys. While the F-note is the key that stands in front of three black keys compacted together. From the first C-note to the next C-note is called Octave.

Lesson # 2

Black notes represent sharps and flats. But they are used in a different way that would depend on which side you’re going to start. A (#) that symbolizes a sharp is the black key right after the white key. While a (b) is known as the flat. You can recognize this by spotting the first black note indicated on the keyboard. With these definitions, you can conclude that a Db is also a C#. Easy, right? No need to fuss about it. Familiarize these notes and master it.

Lesson # 3

The lesson doesn’t stop there. You have to realize that the C key right in the middle of the keyboard is also known as the middle C. You can easily spot this because it’s usually right below the piano’s name. The middle C can function as a wall that separates the right to the left. This means that those situated at the right part of the middle C is for the right hand and fingers to play. That goes with the left hand and keys.

Down with the fingering techniques. Once you have memorized and familiarized yourself with the notes, it’s time to let your fingers do want they meant to do. Teach those fingers to act the way a pianist should.



Fingering is simple for as long as you make all those fingers work. After learning the notes, stare at your keyboard and put the necessary fingers on the important keys. To do this task, find the middle C. This would be your basis to find all other keys like D, E, F, and so on. Remember, major keys are the white keys.

You’ll notice that the piano’s keyboard is number from 1-5. This will enable you to trace where to put your fingers. 1 is equivalent to the thumb. 2 is your index finger. 3 is for the middle finger. 4 is the ring finger. Lastly, 5 is the pinkie. As starters, you must put your thumb corresponding to the C-note. Locating the other keys would be easier if you first find the middle C.

Run your fingers through these notes. Make sure that every key corresponds to a different finger. Try it in a slow then a moderate aiming for a faster pace.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Joy Of PIANO Improvisation

Jesus "Chuchito" Valdes - Detroit Jazz Festival 2009
Photo  by Brian Callahan (Luxgnos.com) 
If you have never experienced the fun and joy of improvising on the piano, then you are missing out on a great experience. Imagine an artist who does not know how to draw or paint without tracing or copying another’s work.

That is unheard of. Yet, many piano players lack the ability to improvise on the piano! This is caused by years of rigid piano lesson/structure and a lack of proper guidance.

Many piano players rely on sheet music to be able to play, which would be like an artist only copying another’s artwork and never creating something unique. Improvisation is a fun process. It enables the pianist to bring out the latent potential of creativity and expression inside them.

One thing that will help any piano player to improve on the art of improvisation is to allow unstructured creative time during one's piano practice hours.

Time to just sit down and make up music on the piano is crucial. No agenda, no structure, no goals to accomplish. This process is extremely important in the world of piano playing.

In order to allow the inner expression to come out, one needs to let it reveal itself. A good example of this is how young children play the piano. If you can observe a child learning the piano do so. Very often, young children are able to reach a creative and fun play "scheme" without any guidance at all. Similarly, any piano player should allow 15-30 minutes of "free play" without worrying about hitting the wrong notes.

Traditional piano lessons emphasize the ability to read notes. Reading ability is no doubt one of the most important skills any piano player can possess. This emphasis, however, has created some "lopsided" players who can only play piano by reading. Eventually, this type of player will lose their interest and passion for music.

Many young children drop out of piano lessons as a result of struggling with music reading. Children who are younger than 5 or 6 are discouraged from traditional piano lessons due to the fact that they cannot yet read musical notes properly.

Music is commonly referred to as a "language." There are many ways of learning a language. Young children master the language skill by frequently talking and interacting with their peers and caretakers as well as imitating other people. The ability to read comes a little later in their life. A similar approach needs to be taken to foster the love of piano music among young children. Sometimes by just allowing young children to make up music on the piano without placing emphasis on playing the correct notes can be just as important.




Friday, November 24, 2017

GRAND PIANO - Music-Instruments of the World

Grand Piano - Music-Instruments of the World




Thursday, November 2, 2017

The History of the PIANO

dusted
Photo  by ercwttmn 
Many people do not realize that the PIANO is a stringed instrument. Because the strings are hidden away inside of the piano, and out of sight, it is not generally realized that strings are used to create the sounds of the piano. Because of its stringed quality, the forerunners to the piano include such instruments as the dulcimer (which was played by hitting stretched strings of different lengths with a hammer). But all of it began in the annals of prehistory when humans noticed that a stretched animal-gut string created different sounds depending on length and tautness.

Keyed instruments that resembled some sort of a keyboard first appeared in the middle of the 12th Century. It was called the monochord. Eventually, enough keyed strings developed into the clavichord. This instrument was unique, in that having keyed strings better facilitated the ability to strike more than one string at a time. This meant that it was possible to produce two sounds, or notes, at once. It until a couple of centuries later, in the 14th Century, that metal wires was used in place of strings for many instruments, including the keyboard instruments.

The harpsichord came into being before the piano did (sometime in the 14th Century). It was based more on the old instrument called the psaltery. A psaltery was a simple instrument where the strings were placed in a box and then plucked with the finger, or with an instrument called plectra. When the keys of a harpsichord were struck, plectra pulled on the sting, plucking it. However, the harpsichord was incapable of creating changes in volume.

It is unclear exactly when a truly hammered keyboard instrument appeared. There are letters indicating that an instrument that could play both loud and soft was available in 1598, but historians are unsure as to whether this was a hammered piano or a cleverly rigged harpsichord. In any case, most historians agree that what can actually be called the "pianoforte" did not make an appearance until 1709. This instrument was capable of a wide range of artistic expression.

The name piano is a derivative of the term pianoforte. "Piano" is a term that means "soft," and "forte" is one that means "loud" or "strong." The name given the piano originally is quite descriptive. It basically means "soft-loud" and describes the feat of being able to play a keyboard instrument with varying degrees of volume. Originally, there was little interest in the pianoforte. However, as an article written about the new keyboard invention was translated into different languages made its way across the European continent, makers of clavichords and harpsichords began also to make pianos.


As the piano evolved, it began to take different forms, including upright grand (1739), upright (1800), and different styles of grands and uprights, including those that expanded to include more octaves. While the keyboard arrangement has not changed much since the 14th Century, keyboard instruments have expanded to include more than one sounding board and several octaves.