How To Master Better Piano Playing

How To Master Better Piano Playing

Start reciting your ABCs. Did you say them in your mind? Or did you start to sing them? 

Singing isn’t just for fun, it’s something we do for better retention. Think back to some of the most popular children’s songs – how easily do you remember them? 

Music is heavily involved in associative memory. That’s why many of us can hear a song and instantly be transported back to a time when it was popular. 

Music motivates us. And when you combine that with learning, it’s one of the best ways to become better at piano playing. 

Imagine having to sit down and learn music you hate. What fun would that be? But if you select music you love, if you have a desire to become better at playing the music you love, you suddenly have motivation to keep playing. 

The good news is there are a variety of renditions of popular music, made for all different levels of playing. 

Beginner songs will only have a few notes in the left hand. They will use simple chords with no more than three notes at a time. They also won’t have a lot of hand jumps or quick finger movements. They’ll keep things simple while you learn. 

If you truly want to master piano playing, you should also change the way you learn. 

A master learner doesn’t sit down and expect to play a song all the way through the first time. Instead, they focus on learning sections before combining them. A simple schedule would include learning a section on day one, followed by learning section two on day two, and combining it with section one. 

And so on. 

You can also learn by pulling the music apart, one hand at a time. What makes so rewarding is also what makes it a challenge. Piano playing combines music reading with playing both the right and left hand separately. That gives your brain a workout. But it can also lead to frustration. 

As you’re learning, focus on one hand at a time. Play the right hand until you learn it. Then play the left. As you coordinate both hands together, the song will come together quickly. 

While there isn’t a best way to learn and play, there are many things you can do to become better at piano playing. These are just a few of the things we use. How about you? 

Give Your Brain A Boost By Playing Piano

Give Your Brain A Boost By Playing Piano

The American population is aging. The number of Americans over 65 will more than double in the coming years, reaching 80 million by 2040. The age group over 85 will quadruple during this same time period. 

Do you fall into this category? 

No matter what your age, you’re probably looking for ways to hold onto your youth as long as possible. This isn’t just from a cosmetic standpoint. It’s also about your health. 

Want your memory to be as sharp as a tack as you age? Consider playing the piano. 

Playing piano enhances your memory

Playing the piano builds a variety of skills, including improving your memory, particularly your verbal memory. Why? Because of the focus you put on creating beautiful music. Piano requires a variety of skills to play it well. You have to coordinate your left hand with your right, with the ability to follow along and ready music. It focuses on creating good habits like perseverance and diligence. It also sharpens your creativity. 

Playing piano makes you a better listener

You can’t play the piano well without listening skills. That’s because you have to listen carefully to the sound to ensure you’re playing well. Are you in pitch? How about tonal quality? Does it sound good to others listening in? It also focuses you in on how you’re playing, forcing out other noises that may be happening around you. 

Playing piano enhances language skills

And you thought only learning a new language would sharpen your language skills. In some ways, playing the piano teaches you similar tactics. You have to learn how to read music. You have to listen to hear how the music sounds. You have to translate it from visual cues ( the music) and increase output through your fingers. 

So what’s your reason for playing piano? Whether it’s for pure enjoyment, or to give yourself a new skill, you’re going to love all of the benefits a piano brings to your life. 

How To Stay Motivated When Playing The Piano

How To Stay Motivated When Playing The Piano

When you start a new project, it’s fun and exciting. You’re ready to take on the world, and see your goal through to fruition. 

Then comes a time when frustration sets in. You can’t play the way you’d like. You can’t seem to move up in skill level. 

Maybe you should give up? 

The good news is you’re not alone. Every piano player has felt this from time to time. What makes you a great piano player is pushing through. Here’s how. 

Return to music you love

People often give up when they aren’t having fun playing the piano. And the reason this often happens is that you’re playing music you don’t like. Talk to your piano teacher. While it’s important to work through various genres, it’s equally important to enjoy what you play. If you’re having trouble, move back towards the music you love. That’s the whole point of learning to play anyway, isn’t it?

Set your mind up for mastery

Sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a tempting endeavor. This is to give you a reason to improve your technique and expand your repertoire. You can give yourself challenges in many ways, by stepping into new genres, or by upgrading the difficultness of the music. 

Set milestones

Is there a song you’ve been itching to play? Why not set it as a goal? Your teacher should be able to find interesting ways to keep you on track. Maybe you wish to surprise everyone for a holiday concert. Or learn a new song by a special event. Set milestones to ensure you’re on track to play it perfectly by the big day. 

Give yourself rewards

Remember star charts when you were little? There’s no reason those concepts have to end just because you grew up. Give yourself a goal to strive for, then reward yourself as you meet them. You can start with simple rewards like new sheet music, or a trip to the symphony. Work towards larger goals – how about that baby grand you’ve had your eye on? 

Even if you’ve made playing the piano top priority, sometimes to push through you need a little extra motivation. 

What do you do to stay motivated? 

Taking Up Piano Now Will Make You More Successful For Life

Taking Up Piano Now Will Make You More Successful For Life

Thanks to staying in place, we’ve all started looking for new hobbies. If taking up the piano is on your new resolution list, congratulations. Piano playing isn’t just a great hobby, it can also make you more successful for life. 

That makes it a perfect hobby for you, your kids, for everyone in your family. 

If you dedicate time to playing the piano, you will master many things. 

Discipline

Have you ever sat down and played something simple like chopsticks? That’s the beauty of playing the piano – anyone can sit down and hit a few notes and create music. However, the more you practice, the more you play, the better you become. Practicing frequently can immediately start to show improvement in the way you play. And when you see it, hear it, it motivates you to do more. The only way to improve is by practicing. And when you dedicate to becoming better, you’ll learn the art of discipline. 

Time management

Which brings us to increasing your time management skills. We all have just twenty-four hours a day. If you commit to getting better at piano playing, you’ll have to fit practice time into your schedule. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to make time for what is truly important. As you hear yourself play better, feel more comfortable with the notes, you’ll have more desire to put a practice session on your calendar every day. 

Concentration

Have you found yourself scattered, not sure what to focus on? Maybe taking up piano will change your concentration skills. When you play the piano, you must focus on rhythm, pitch, tempo, hand positions, note changes, and several other things. It requires multi-tiered concentration levels to ensure everything is in place. The skills you learn from playing piano have been proven so worthy, kids do better with test taking skills, and musicians have the best chance of moving forward into medical school. 

Memory skills

That’s because playing piano fires off all your brain cells the moment you sit down to play. Piano stimulates your brain. Whether you’re listening to the greatest piano players of all time, or tickling the ivories yourself, your brain will thank you for it. 

And that’s a pretty good reason to take up the piano now, while you’re looking for new hobbies to start up for a lifetime of enjoyment. 

Can a 3 Year Old Learn To Play Piano?

Can a 3 Year Old Learn To Play Piano?

We’ve all seen videos of young prodigies in action. A 5 year old swings a golf club and makes a hole in one. Or a 3 year old sits down at the piano and plays Bach perfectly. 

But is that reality? Can a 2 year old really learn to play the piano? Or are you setting them up for failure? 

People are naturally drawn to the piano. No matter who walks up to a keyboard – a one year old or a hundred year old – we all have the tendency to push the keys and plunk out a tune. It makes music, after all, and that can be an exciting thing. Especially when you start to hear a familiar tune. 

But pushing a few keys is different than taking lessons and practicing every day. 

The best age to start learning to play piano is somewhere between the ages of six and nine. That’s where concentration and focus start coming into play, making it easier to sit and learn. Of course, it ultimately depends on your child and what they are capable of. 

Physical characteristics

In a lot of cases, a small child simply doesn’t have hand size and coordination to play the piano. It takes a great deal of skill for finger independence and ability to sit down and play. Will the fingers stretch and move from key to key with ease? You can always adjust the bench to the proper height. But it is important for proper hand placement. 

Basic motor skills

The piano is a skill that takes a lifetime to master. Start too early and it leads to frustration. It’s important that your child has proper motor skills, and they can reach throughout the keys, playing with ease. They also need adequate strength to carry the arms up and down the keyboard, pushing down the keys. That’s why violins are often easier to start at earlier ages. 

Motivated

It’s important to have the proper attention span to sit down and play. Your child will learn much faster if they are truly motivated to play. Do they like producing music? Do they have favorite songs? Are they motivated to learn and do so willingly without constant prodding from you? 

Maturity 

Is your child motivated to sit for up to thirty minutes at a time? Can they follow simple instructions and be motivated and work toward successes? Do they understand that it takes time to build skill, and have motivation to work towards a goal? Your child will have more success if the desire is there to grow. 

Is your 3 year old ready to learn to play piano? 

You Don’t Have To Have Natural Talent To Be a Pianist

You Don’t Have To Have Natural Talent To Be a Pianist

What does it take to be a great pianist? Do you need natural talent? Or is it something you can work towards, perfecting your piano playing all the time?

If you’ve ever said, “I don’t have talent to play the piano,” think again. You’re not born with the ability to be a pianist. Anyone can work towards developing the talent. 

How do you do that? 

Practice. 

Malcolm Gladwell became famous for his 10,000 rule, which simply states that in order to become successful at something, you’ll need to invest 10,000 hours at it. Perfection takes time. It’s okay to make mistakes along the way. The important part is sticking with it, and ensuring you take the time to get a little bit better every day. 

To become a pianist, you have to invest in what it takes to be good at what you do. You can’t sit down and play scales or simple songs like chopsticks and expect to get better. It takes push. It takes drive. It takes improvement, a little bit each day. 

And it might take a little something else. One pianist suggests it’s passion, not just for playing music, but also for the challenge of hitting your goal

Maybe you’ve set Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as a goal. Or how about Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major? No matter what piece you choose, the challenge of getting there might be all the goals you need. 

Talent isn’t something you’re born with. 

Talent comes from choosing a goal and sticking with it. 

It’s not luck or genetics. To be a better pianist, it just means doing a little bit each day. 

How To Practice The Piano Better

How To Practice The Piano Better

Want to get better at playing the piano? Practice, practice, practice. 

We all know that the key to getting better at something is to work at it a little each day. But is that really all there is to it? 

In reality, you can sit down and spend thirty minutes every day and never improve IF you don’t improve your practicing skills. It’s not the amount that matters. It’s the quality of every session you sit down for. 

How do you ensure you’re practicing the right way?

Start by removing distractions

It’s important to place your piano that gives you a chance to play without interruption. But that doesn’t mean put it in the corner of a dark basement either. Give yourself a pleasant playing space, and avoid areas where you know you’ll be easily distracted. Put your phone in another room if the buzzing and dinging of incoming messages can turn your attention. This allows you to get more done in the time designated for practice. 

Create a structure for each session

If you workout regularly, you know there are specific goals for every workout. You’ll have a warm-up, specifically targeted workout routines, and a cooling down period. Structure your piano practice the same way. Warm-up with scales. Target specific goals with each session. Then cool down by playing your favorite pieces. 

Set a goal for every practice session

Spend some time structuring your piano practice sessions to accomplish different goals. Do you want to learn a specific song? Are you trying to work on finger speed? Are you having trouble with particular sections of music? You can establish short and long term goals to ensure you stay on track with what you are playing. 

Vary your routines

Structure is important. Setting goals is equally important. But if you do the same things over and over and over again, it tends to get repetitious and boring. Change things up in your routine. Instead of playing your favorite song as a cool down in the same way, change it up. Speed a section up. Slow a section down. Or add in your own ideas. Even this little change can keep your interest and make you press on. 

Fix habits early

One of the best reasons to hire a teacher is to have them help you work through problems before they become habits. They see things you don’t, and correct things before they become issues. They tweak your performance and make it better. Don’t stick with the same piano teacher for years. Instead, set specific goals and find new instructors that can help you reach your goals. 

Reward yourself

This can be small rewards, like purchasing new sheet music, or larger rewards like working towards purchasing a new piano. Rewards are positive reinforcement, and they can help push you to take more action, and stick with your goals every day. 

It’s Never Too Late To Learn To Play The Piano

It’s Never Too Late To Learn To Play The Piano

I wish I’d started learning to play the piano earlier …

Have you ever said that? 

Many people have. You hit a certain age and you start to analyze life skills and hobbies you wish you’d started earlier in life. 

There are certain hobbies that you can engage with throughout your life. Football? Other than watching it, it’s a young person’s game. Piano? It’s something you can stay active with from just a few years old until the day you die. There are many benefits to doing so. 

Think about your age right now. If you’re in your forties, you might long for going back to your childhood and learning to play the piano at a time when you could quickly grasp new ideas. But you’re in your forties – you still have decades left! That means by starting now, you can master new skills, you can become the piano player you’ve always wanted to be. 

There are many examples of musicians who got started later in life. And they made it their professional careers!

You don’t have to be young to become good at playing the piano. For some, starting early is a hindrance, not a helper. 

Think back to when you were young. You had so much to do. Was playing the piano anywhere on your list? In some cases, when parents add “playing the piano” to their kids’ to-do lists, it becomes resentment instead of passion. It becomes another chore in the daily to-do list. And that never makes for a good musician. 

But when you choose to play the piano later in life, it’s on your own terms. You choose to play the piano because you desire to do it. And that right there is a great reason to pursue it. 

It’s never too late to learn to play the piano. Whether you choose to do it yourself, take online lessons, or sit down one on one with a teacher, dedication will see you through to success. 

Piano Dynamics And Why Your Piano Should Have It

Piano Dynamics And Why Your Piano Should Have It

How do you express emotion? Can you pick up what other people are thinking by the way they’re acting?

Of course!

Think of a romantic comedy. A couple meets. They get close. And then something tries to tear them apart. 

Yet one (or both) soon realize the error of their way, and they make an impassioned plea to get back together. It’s heartfelt. It’s emotional! And we can read it in their body language alone. 

Piano dynamics takes that concept to your piano playing. Listen to the greats, and you’ll hear it all the time. 

A soft whisper across the keys making it barely noticeable. Or pounding out the notes to cause a commotion. 

Piano dynamics help you make a song that much more memorable. 

Imagine if you played every song the same, same tempo, same level, same flow. Pretty boring, right? 

That’s why pianos are built in such a way to make everything – soft, loud, and everything in between – possible. 

How do you know where to use dynamics? Your sheet music will feature dynamic marketings to help inform you how to play. You’ll see:

ppp – pianississimo – very, very soft

pp – pianissimo – very soft

p – piano – soft

mp – mezzo piano – moderately soft

mf – mezzo forte – moderately loud

f – forte – loud

ff – fortissimo – very loud

fff – fortississimo – very, very loud

You’ll also find accented notes, crescendos, diminuendos, and a host of other indicators throughout the music to clue you in how to play. 

This is what the songwriter was thinking when they wrote the song. Of course, you can use your own musical skills to put your own personal imprint on it whenever you can. That’s the fun of playing the piano!

While dynamics are important for all piano players, keep in mind that some pianos are better at creating dynamic differences than others. This is where selecting the right piano makes all the difference. 

If you’re not getting the full vocality out of your piano, and are frustrated with the results, maybe it’s time to trade up to something better. 

Using A Metronome For Better Piano Practice

Using A Metronome For Better Piano Practice

Want to be a better piano player? The key is with better piano practice. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is an expert at understanding rhythm. Sometimes it takes work to get the beat right. 

That’s why incorporating a metronome into your practice will help you improve the way you play. A metronome can help you understand the right tempo and develop perfect timing for each piece you play. 

What is a metronome?

Metronomes emit a sound on each beat. It sets the tempo, then ticks off the counts to help you adjust the rhythm and understand the feel of the beat. Most metronomes can be set between 40 and 240 beats per minute. Some pianos have built in metronomes. You can also purchase apps that allow you to take it anywhere. 

How it can help identify technician issues

When you play without a metronome, you can glide over technical issues you might have with your playing. Spots where you’re dragging or rushing become apparent when you play it with the beat of a metronome. Practice the song with the clicking beat; you can do so just a few bars at a time. 

Getting up to speed

When you work with a teacher, they can help you through spots you might not be playing well. But most of your practice will be done alone. That’s where a metronome can help you along. Start by playing slower until you can play the notes effectively. Then speed it up until you’re at the proper dynamics. This works very well to overcome technical issues. It also ensures you play the music as intended by the creator of the piece. 

Do you have the proper tools to ensure your piano practice is effective? If not, we can help. From new and used pianos, to metronomes and sheet music, we can point you in the right direction to make every practice session its best.