Piano Practice When Everyone’s At Home

Piano Practice When Everyone’s At Home

Right now can be the perfect time to practice the piano. With everybody home and staying in place, finding the time is no longer a problem.

Yet with everybody at home, it can also be difficult to carve out a few minutes where you can practice alone. Everybody is around, trying to do their thing. And when noise has become the one constant in your days, how are you supposed to find quiet to think about piano practice in the right manner?

Place the piano in a quiet place in your home

If you’ve already found the perfect place for your piano, moved furniture and even decorated around it, moving it may seem like a hassle. But a lot of this comes from knowing who will be practicing regularly. Some people like to be the center of attention. Others may prefer a quiet space where they can practice without others hearing them. While you’re spring cleaning and organizing your house, this may be the perfect time for a little redecorating, and moving your piano to where it functions best. 

Schedule a time for practice

Even when the days all start to run together, they can seem like they fly by without the chance to make it through your daily to-do list. Carve out time during the day for each family member to be able to do something they really enjoy. While one practices the piano, another may choose to paint or draw. Keep the activities going on in the room complimentary, and you’ll soon create a space that everyone looks forward to each day. 

Use headphones

Did you know some acoustic pianos today come with the option of having headphones? It’s not just digital anymore. Being able to plugin headphones gives you the opportunity to practice no matter what else is going on in the room. It helps the piano player concentrate, and allows other family members to do their thing without interrupting.

Create a plan

Even in these trying times, having a plan in place helps. Try and create some structure in your days. Get up at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. Center your activities around meal plans. This will help everyone keep some sense of balance. That also gives you a chance to put what’s important on the calendar – like piano practice. 

The only thing we know for sure right now is we’ll get through this one day at a time. 

Piano practice can add a sense of normality no matter what’s happening in the world. It has calming effects, and can reduce the stress of everyone playing or listening. 

Stick with your piano practice – you’ll appreciate it even more in the weeks and months to come. 

Why You Should Learn Piano Right Now

Why You Should Learn Piano Right Now

Looking for a new skill during the coronavirus? Is it time to find something to help you relieve stress? 

Maybe it’s time to learn piano. 

The arts have a meditative quality to them. Pick up a paintbrush and paint; you relax as the strokes move across the canvas. Touch your fingers to the keys; you feel your breathing calm as each note comes alive. 

And that really is the top benefit to learning piano. It requires your full concentration, full engagement of the brain as you work both hands together, while your brain activates by looking at each note on the sheet in front of you. 

If you do any research, you’ll quickly discover that music isn’t just for enjoyment, music therapy is used in all sorts of ways. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD. Science is finding sitting still and playing a song can help in many ways. 

While it may calm you down and act as a stress reliever, it’s activating the brain. Every time you practice a song, get better, and challenge yourself in new ways, it adds neural connections. That means your brain is learning, growing, and connecting to enhance your thinking skills. 

When people think about physical activity, they often push themselves to run and jump. But there’s more to it than that, and that’s where learning piano can help. Playing piano strengthens hand-eye coordination. It also increases fine-motor skills. You might not be able to play physical sports like soccer or football your entire life, but piano is something you can do forever. Plus it works to lower blood pressure, reduce cardiac complications, lower respiratory rates, and increase immune response. That’s good news right now when we need something to do all that and more. It also strengthens your arm and hand muscles, and builds your focus muscle too. 

You’ve always wanted to learn piano. It’s been on your bucket list for years. 

Whether you choose to pick up where you left off as a kid, or you’re ready to start something new, make this the year you find your musical self once more. Make this the year you learn piano. 

How To Teach Piano Remotely

How To Teach Piano Remotely

Thanks to the coronavirus, we’re rethinking everything we do. 

It hasn’t taken away our desire to learn. Instead, it’s made us focus on new ways to teach. If you’re searching for ways to teach piano remotely, we have some tips for you. 

Think outside the box

In most cases, your student will be an active participant. Whether you have an adult who has more time to practice, or a child with a parent guiding them along, stay in contact with them and make suggestions for being creative in this time apart. 

Now is a great time to brush up on music theory and history. It’s also a great time for people to listen and observe as well as sit down and play as well. Places like YourClassical offer free classical music all day, and offer a variety of educational items for kids too. Chrome Music Lab makes music fun with a variety of hands-on experiments. You can also pull up a variety of philharmonic and orchestra websites and check out their online resources – just Google it. 

Keep it simple

To encourage your students to play, one of the easiest ways is to teach via the phone. While this isn’t an ideal situation, it can keep your students on track and provide you with a way to keep paying students on your schedule. Have your student place the phone near the piano and ensure it’s on speakerphone. Since you won’t be able to see them perform, you’ll have to rely on listening and asking questions. 

Step it up

If you both have the technology, upgrade your teaching methods by using Facetime or Skype. This gives you the added bonus of both sight and sound. Realize there is a learning curve for both of you. Spend time in your first session finding the perfect placement of the digital device so you can see your student in action as well as hear their performance. 

Above all, be patient with yourself and your students. Realize you’re each going to have good and bad days. Some days may be better for relaxing and having fun, using the space just to take 30 minutes out of a stressful day. 

And realizing that teaching remotely won’t last forever. But the important thing is to have fun in the process. 

How To Be a Great Piano Teacher Online

How To Be a Great Piano Teacher Online

So you’re looking for ways to turn your skills into an online business. How about becoming a piano teacher online? 

Just like teaching in person, online teaching tacks a special knack. But if you love teaching, and piano is a hobby you’d love to share with others, maybe now is the time to set up your online piano teaching business. 

Here’s what you need. 

Competency in piano playing

This is obvious, but in order to be a great online piano teacher, you have to love what you do. And that means loving the piano so much you play whether you get paid or not. If you sit down regularly at the piano, and you want to share that joy with others, this is the perfect road for you to go down. 

Great communication skills

It’s a little trickier teaching online versus in person. You have to use technology to notice all nuances of a player’s ability, and be able to communicate corrective measures back in a healthy way. What about posture? Is your student sitting correctly? Why are they stumbling over the notes? What is their body language saying? You have to be able to take all that in, and communicate it back in a meaningful way. 

Credentials

What level of students do you want to take on? There’s a big difference between a beginning and advanced students. The more refinement a student needs, the more credentials you’ll need to help them along. This should give you motivation to keep learning too. 

The right setup

Technology has made online learning easier than ever before. But you and your students will have to have the right tools to make this work. On your end, you should have:

  • A stable internet connection
  • A computer with the right level of technology
  • A headset
  • A microphone
  • A decent HD webcam

Being a world-class musician won’t be good enough in the online world if you get stuck with the basics of technology. If you need to learn computer skills yourself in order to improve your proficiency, do that first before you start offering your services. 

Are you ready to become a great online piano teacher? 

The Benefit To Learning Piano With Headphones

The Benefit To Learning Piano With Headphones

When people pick up an instrument for the first time, it can be a precarious thing. We’ve all witnessed a child blowing into a trumpet, or banging on a drum until we’re ready to take the set away. 

But a piano is different. We all have an innate skill to hunt and peck out a basic tune. Tap a few keys and it doesn’t sound all that bad. Of course, that all changes when you sit down with a piece of music and attempt to play a longer song. Suddenly, the hunt and peck method shines through. You play a few notes over and over and over … Let’s just say your family is ready to push the piano into a closet and not let you near it for a while. 

Thanks to today’s technology, you can sit in the middle of family living space and play without others having to listen to your hunt-and-peck practice methods, until you’re ready to play the tune for an audience. By learning piano with headphones, you can actually improve the way you practice and play. 

Listen better

Sometimes playing the piano can be a bit distracting. It’s hard to hear yourself play because of the ambient noise. Use headphones will allow you to hear every note, every tone. You can also use them for playback and carefully listen to where you can improve. 

Avoid distractions

Even when you’re sitting in your home, distractions are everywhere. Family members ask questions. You remember something else to do in another room. By putting on headphones, they can act as a blocker against what’s happening around you, allowing you to focus on practice and the music. 

Play on your schedule

A lot of busy families have trouble finding the time to practice. With headphones, you won’t make a sound, so you can practice whenever you choose. Practice while others are doing homework. Practice early before everyone wakes up. Or practice before you head to bed. Just plug in and you can practice as much as you want to. 

Listen to the greats

Sometimes motivation can help you become a better player. If you’re trying to learn Mozart or Beethoven, use your headphones to listen to every note. You can concentrate on certain passages, and then use that as motivation to create your own music. 

Of course, you’ll have to invest in high quality headphones. In this case, price does matter. Be sure they are full-sized, over the ear headphones to ensure they block out all ambient noise, and allow you to focus on only what’s important – you’re playing. 

Have you ever tried learning piano with headphones? Has it made you a better player?

We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

We Have It All Wrong – 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

Most school districts around the country are facing tough decisions every year as they put together budgets. What should the keep? What should they give up?

For most districts, STEM classes have received two thumbs up. The arts – not so much. When school systems cut back, the music, dance, visual arts, and theater are the first to go. And that’s not a good thing. 

Music is important – for some kids, it’s the only reason they show up. Maybe it’s time to rethink what kids receive in instruction throughout the day. 

Music engages kidsWe Have It All Wrong - 5 Reasons We Need Music In School

For most STEM classes, the curriculum is one on many. The teacher talks, the students listen. And for many, the only way they’d describe these classes is – boring. When you weave in music programs, it allows kids to express themselves in lively ways. They participate. They show off their skills. They take part in creating something bigger than themselves. And if these classes help motivate them, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged in the STEM classes as well. 

Music builds self confidence

With music, kids get a sense of accomplishment every time they learn a new song. They can see their own skillset changing. They can feel better about themselves based on the music they are playing. They learn how to set goals and stick with them to improve along the way. 

Music builds imagination

Creativity is an important skill to have. It adds innovation into our society. But slowly, we’re taking away the activities that build our imagination skills up. Music allows kids to explore. The arts allow kids to get messy, express themselves through movement, and through the sounds that they make. Music develops the whole brain, both by listening and be using their skills to create their own sounds. 

Music improves academics

Studies consistently show that kids that engage in music do better in all subjects across the board. They rank higher on their SAT scores, and they are more likely to get into medical school. Music develops critical thinking skills in a way sports never will. 

Music teaches a lifelong skill

No other skill can provide enjoyment throughout your life as music can. And playing the piano is something virtually anyone can do. You can learn piano at any age, and perfect your skills a little at a time. With such a wide array of music available, you can be playing your favorites in a short period of time. 

Music benefits and engages us like no other. To create well-rounded children that can use their skills throughout their lives, add music to their lives today. 

Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Every child has their own outlook on life. Every child excels at what matters most to them. But finding what that is can be challenging at best for a parent. 

So, like any good parent, you plod along signing them up for classes and teams, hoping something will stick. 

That changes when your child has learning disabilities. If they have trouble concentrating, if they can’t read or write in a manner a traditional classroom asks, it’s up to you to find what helps. 

Music might be the solution. Music builds up the muscles of the brain – audio, visual, and motor skills. This is what controls language, reading, comprehension, math, problem solving, focus, concentration, and attention to detail. 

Studies show that some children with learning disabilities can benefit from starting up the piano. Especially where background noise is a problem for learning, music helps build up attention, focus, self-esteem, and self-expression. 

What can you do to enhance this skill?Piano Lessons and Learning Disabilities

Follow the rhythm. We each have our own unique circadian rhythm – it’s your biological clock that helps control your sleep/wake cycle. This clock is attuned to our heart beats – thump, thump, thump. It’s a natural rhythm that allows us to focus and stay on task. Focus in on this. Play music with distinct rhythm. Your child can also clap their hands or tap out a simple beat to feel the power of the beat. 

Dance. Movement is especially helpful with certain types of learning disorders. As a child moves, it helps them tune in on both physical coordination and the ability to concentrate throughout every move. 

Listen. You can easily bring in different types of music right through your home music system. But take it to the next level too. Attend concerts. Watch for special evenings with your local symphony – many have special programs just for kids. 

Sign up for group lessons. This can be something as simple as a dance class when your child is a few years old. It doesn’t have to be formal or with purpose – just a basic class to start feeling the rhythm. 

Private lessons. Piano lessons can help tremendously with focus. Just be sure you find the right instructor that understands the issues your child is facing and has the experience to work with them each week. 

Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline – Play The Piano

Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline – Play The Piano

Parents struggle with a lot of decisions on how to raise their kids. They push them in all kinds of directions to develop a happy, healthy life. 

That’s the reason many parents push their kids into sports. Sports teach a variety of skills, from coordination to team building, to sportsmanship. 

But for others, they’ve learned the benefits music has on success. And unlike sports that can only be a part of a child’s life for a certain number of years, the arts can last a lifetime. 

Learning to play the piano sets your kids up for a lifetime of success. Here’s why. 

The Piano sharpens concentration

Playing the piano brings many different skill sets together. You have to pay attention to what both hands are doing. You have to focus on the music. You have to focus on the notes you’re creating and the rhythm of the music. Every time you sit down to play it’s an exercise in multi-level concentration. 

The Piano teaches perseverance Give Your Child The Gift Of Discipline - Play The Piano

Playing the piano isn’t something you accomplish in a few weeks. It takes a lifetime to master. And when kids set certain goals for themselves, they can see their skills developing over time. To learn to play favorite songs takes patience, something they can take joy out of when they finally reach playing to their own level of perfection. 

The Piano increases memory

Piano playing is one of the most effective ways to stimulate the brain. It takes a lot of skill to put hand-eye coordination to play music with both hands while reading music. A lot of the skill comes from memorization. It also comes from understanding deeper levels of thinking. It’s also been noted to help people as they age, keeping the mind healthy. 

The Piano teaches discipline

Each new song, each new level of learning to play the piano has its own series of challenges and rewards. Students quickly learn that by reaching towards more challenging music, and understanding that the only way to get better is through practice. They also learn that the more they get involved in the process, the better they’ll sound, the better they’ll feel. 

Make this the year you give your child the gift of learning to play the piano. 

Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

It seems as if everything has been touched by technology. Why shouldn’t the way you learn piano too? 

Do a quick search for piano-related apps and you’ll find they can help you with just about anything. We’ve highlighted a few of them here and in our gift guide. 

They’re fun to play; but are they educational too? Can you really learn to play the piano, and become a better musician, all with an app or a DVD?Are App or DVD Piano Lessons Worth It?

If you look closely at most of the promises with these learning systems, they say they’ll have you playing the piano in a short period of time. And that’s true. With color-coded guides and quick tutorials, they can have anyone finding middle C and plucking out a tune. 

In the short term, apps and DVDs for piano lessons work. But where they start to fall through is in the long term. 

Piano lessons through technology are rudimentary at best. They teach you about chords. They help you put your fingers together to play a song. You learn about rhythm, melody, and chords just enough to help you put together your favorite music. And this can have any beginner excited about their progress. 

But that’s when things become more difficult. That’s where having an instructor pays off. 

An instructor listens to your wishes and desires and gives you feedback on how to proceed. They offer suggestions when you’re struggling with a piece of music. They help tailor your instruction towards your goals. 

This comes from developing a relationship between you and your teacher. This also comes from diving deeper into understanding musicality, and how music theory applies to what you’re learning. This is especially important if you want to transfer your knowledge to other instruments. 

When it comes to piano learning apps or DVDs, you get what you pay for. Yes, they may be a great place to start. Yes, they can offer a lot of tips and tricks to help you start to play. But if you want to be the best piano player you can be, at some point, hire an instructor. They are your best course of action for success. 

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An Adult

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An Adult

While there are many things children can pick up quicker than adults, playing the piano isn’t one of them. Sure, some kids seem to be able to carry a tune easily. Their nimble fingers can quickly run across the keyboard. 

But as an adult, you already have musicality. You’ve had years of taking in composition, and deep down inside, that helps when you place your fingers on the keyboard for the first. Time. 

Advantage 1: You’re committed

7 Advantages To Learning Piano As An AdultKids usually start playing piano at their parents’ request. As an adult, you make the decision yourself. You have an interest. You seek out music education. That gives you an added advantage of having the desire to see it through. 

Advantage 2: You’re ready to pursue piano

As an adult, you’ve already learned how to place priorities in your life. If you want to spend time at the piano, you’ve already let go of other activities to make the necessary time available for lessons and practice. 

Advantage 3: You know what music you like

What type of music do you like? Have you always dreamed of playing like the band you grew up with? Or is your desire to play the classics? The good news is there’s piano music for that, and your teacher can quickly help you move towards what you want to play. 

Advantage 4: You’re focused

Kids get bored. They give up on a lot because there’s always something else to capture their attention. You know what you want and can stay more focused on the end result. 

Advantage 5: You’re open minded

Sure, you’ve always wanted to play songs from your favorite band. But you’re also open to new opportunities. Why not try jazz? Or play a tune from Bach or Beethoven? You might be surprised at how much you enjoy playing something new. Especially when you know it will increase your talent. 

Advantage 6: You clear distractions better

How do you operate best? Do you need a quiet room? Can you schedule in time for yourself? You know what works for you. And you can ensure you create quality time for you and playing. 

Advantage 7: You’re more patient

Kids like instant results. As an adult, you realize perfection takes time. Instead, you can focus on progress. You can see improvement along the way. You can also understand timing and how long it takes to reach new plateaus. 

Are you ready to take up piano as an adult?