In the 90s my parents bought some software that was connected to our computer that taught me the basics of piano. I never took actual lessons until high school, but the lessons on the computer were fun and started me in the right direction. That was 15 years ago, and now there is some amazing software out there that can help you or your students towards your goal of learning how to play piano. Most of the software out there is best used in conjunction with piano lessons, but if price is an issue, a lot of this software can help a beginning student through the beginning stages of lessons.
When I started to really get into practicing piano, I bought hundreds of CD’s full of piano music. I had this desire to hear what was out there. I would listen any chance I would get. I was always reading as much as I could, and if there was ever a time that I heard of some music I wasn’t familiar with, I would get out there and buy a few more CDs.
I didn’t know what the staples of the repertoire were. I just bought everything. I would have a loved to have a simple list of pieces I should go listen to. So that’s what I’m trying to create here.
Why you should you care about how you sit? It’s not about how you look. It’s about health and freedom of movement. Correcting posture issues can go a long way in relieving common pains and injuries while practicing.
If you play the piano, or if you’re a teacher, you’ve likely been taught in the classical tradition. You predominantly learned to read music. By reading music, you translate the notes on the page into music on the piano. That’s the only way that I was taught to play the piano. I was never taught to improvise or play by ear. It’s a different skill set. Most often these skills are not found in classical pianists. Does that mean they can’t be applied in classical music?
Let’s look into a different way of learning, that can be extremely effective.
When I began teaching piano, I was adamant that the method books that were available were not as good as something I could teach on my own. After a few months, I realized I was wrong. Trying to create my own method was not complete enough, and I ended up all over the place with my students. I finally gave in and experimented with the big three: Bastien, Alfred, and Faber. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve finally found a method book I love. That books is Piano Safari.
If you just started learning piano, or your child is getting lessons for the first time, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes that beginner pianists make. Most of the time students progress much slower than they need to because they are making mistakes that misuse their precious time. Don’t be one of those people.
Our modern piano has a very rich history. Classical pianists regularly play music that was written for an instrument other than the modern piano they play it on. In recent decades there has been a movement to playing music on what are called “period” instruments. This means that performers play classical music on instruments that were more like the instruments that the composers actually wrote the music for.
Understanding that our modern instruments are different than the instruments composers wrote music for can help the performer understand the music they are playing better and improve their performances.
The typical modern grand piano has three foot pedals. In contrast to an organ, these pedals aren’t used to play any notes. They are used to adjust the way the piano plays. When the piano was first invented, some of these pedals were created as “stops”, which are little levers you would pull with your hand. A pianist typically needs both hands, so they were later moved to knee levers during Mozart’s time. Finally, they evolved into the foot pedals we know of today.
It’s important to understand not only when to use the pedals, but what they actually physically do to the piano. Once you understand how the pedals affect the sound of the piano, understanding when to use them will come more naturally.
Going back to the basics is some of the most advanced learning and teaching starts. When teaching beginners how to play piano, often they are taught to start from a “five-finger position” on the keyboard. When students progress to more advanced music, normally the five-finger positions aren’t talked about anymore. Sometimes these positions, often referred to as five-finger positions, are used as a crutch by beginning students. Teachers tend to use them as teaching tools for beginners, but then they go away. For advanced students it’s like they don’t exist.
Even with advanced piano music though, the five-finger position should be taught indefinitely. It’s an important component to piano technique because it’s the natural state of our hand.
A common question when starting piano lessons is a keyboard sufficient for learning? Usually yes, an electric keyboard can be used as a substitute for an actual acoustic piano. But the better answer will take a little more analysis into what your plans are for lessons, and what kind of keyboard you have. Keyboard Features […]