Easy Ways To Ensure Piano Practice Is a Part Of Your Day

Easy Ways To Ensure Piano Practice Is a Part Of Your Day

Life is busy. Even here in the middle of a pandemic, when we’re spending a lot more time at home, it can seem as if there aren’t enough hours in the day. 

Yet this time in history is also doing something else to our goals and desires; it’s giving us a chance to determine what’s most important in our lives. 

For many, this is a chance to touch base with what’s most important, what nurtures your soul and helps reduce stress. For many, that includes learning to play the piano.

But that doesn’t come without a whole lot of piano practice. And if you’ve ever tried it before, you know that playing the piano doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lifetime to master. 

How do you ensure your piano practice helps you achieve your goals? 

Schedule your piano practice

You go to work or school at the same time every day. You sit down for dinner with your family at a prescheduled time. You make appointments for the dentist or doctor. Let’s face it, our lives work best when we schedule it. 

Why should piano practice be any different? 

If you play at the same time every day, it will become a normal part of your routine. Try using it as a wakeup strategy, to help you add creativity to your day. Or play right before or after dinner. Choose a time that works well with your schedule, and helps you enjoy the experience rather than feel rushed to fit it in. 

Give yourself a time slot

Don’t just sit down at a specific time, ensure you have a specific time slot for uninterrupted practice as well. 

Households are busy, and with lots of commotion, it’s easy to get distracted from the task at hand. Put away all distractions, such as your smartphone. Use a timer so you won’t be watching the clock. 

Establish a practice routine

Top athletes know before any workout, you need to warmup, practice, and cool down. 

To musicians follow the same routine. Spend the first few minutes of your practice session with a warmup routine – scales are a good bet to get your fingers moving. Then spend the middle section with core practice. Set goals at the start of each week and track how much you learn. Then finish by playing what you enjoy. This is the perfect way to unwind and let go of stress. 

Piano practice doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, if you learn just a few tricks the top pianists use to stay on track, you’ll love what you do even more. 

Perfect Christmas Gifts For The Piano Player In Your Life

Perfect Christmas Gifts For The Piano Player In Your Life

This year we’re all being a little more practical with our gifts. If you’re looking for the ideal Christmas gift for the piano player in your life, consider one of these options.

Piano stool

While your piano may have come with a bench, it might not be the perfect one to suit your needs. Why not upgrade and get one that’s more comfortable and sits better too? Try one with a hidden storage compartment; it’s the perfect place to stash your music. 

Popular music books

No matter what level of talent your gift recipient has, why not get a music book that contains their favorite tunes? Whether they love the Beatles, think Coldplay is their jam, or prefer the modern beat of Ed Sheeran, you’ll find a compilation of the best songs they’ve produced. And give the piano player in your life more reasons to play. 

Headphones

While not every acoustic piano has the option of being playable with headphones, some do. If your loved one has a digital piano, why not give them a decent set of headphones? It makes the piano more playable – they can play it no matter who else is in the room. 

Metronome

While many piano players today have a metronome app, upgrade it and give them one they can include in their music room. There are many visual advantages to having it nearby as you learn new songs. It’s a must-have for any musician who hopes to be better at playing. 

Keyboard

While having an acoustic piano is a big benefit to increasing your talents at playing the piano, having a keyboard too can increase the amount of time someone spends playing their favorite tunes. Is your child going to college? Do they want to start a band? A portable keyboard that matches the quality of an acoustic may be just what they need. 

Digital piano

While you may love your acoustic piano that is on display in your family room, there are many times adding a digital piano to your household just makes sense. It combines the nuances of acoustic and digital into one. It allows the piano player the ability to bring their music online, have more control over what they play, and make it more playable in the busiest rooms in your home. 

What’s the perfect gift for the piano player in your life? 

Playing The Piano By Ear

Playing The Piano By Ear

There are two ways people play the piano. One is by reading sheet music, the other is by ear. 

Reading sheet music is a practiced skill. You learn to read the notes, learn the placement of your fingers, and put the two together to make music. 

But playing the piano by ear takes talent. It takes great listening skills. And it takes lots of practice. But this isn’t a skill you have to be born with. This is something you can learn on your own. Here’s how. 

Start by picking out a familiar song. If you know it well, and can sing along easily, you’ll be able to pick the melody out on the piano. 

Find the starter notes. You can usually find the range or scale to which the song is set. This gives you the ability to pluck out the tune. 

Once you have figured out the first three to five notes, it’s easier to find the rest of the notes in the song. Most songs are built on a few chords, so once you get the first few notes down, it’s easier to continue on with the song. 

Reward your success. Once you’re able to pick out a few tunes, you can challenge yourself to do this with other songs. This is a talent that can build quickly if you pursue it. Younger kids may need help and encouragement at first, but once they have the ability to play full songs, they will enjoy this method almost as much as learning how to read music. The two can complement each other and build to make them a better piano player overall. 

You can also look for a variety of resources online that will help encourage your child to play. Realize that every person learns differently. If one method doesn’t seem to work, don’t be afraid to try something else. 

The key is finding ways to enjoy what you do.

Have you or your child ever played piano by ear? What strategy worked best for you?

Is Your New Year’s Resolution To Start Playing The Piano? Read This First

Is Your New Year’s Resolution To Start Playing The Piano? Read This First

Have you started making your list for New Year’s resolutions yet? According to one study, only 7 percent of adults say they stuck to their resolutions and completed them all during the year. 

Yet every year we go through a ritual of making plans with the best intentions, only to find ourselves forgetting about them a few weeks after the beginning of the year. Is there a way to give yourself a better chance of completing your goals?

The problem with most goals is they never associate a why with it. 

For piano lessons, why do you want to learn? Why now? 

The stronger your why, the more chance you have of following through. Spend some time linking it to other areas of your life. For example, did you know that playing the piano is a great stress reliever? Did you know that playing the piano can help memory? 

You can also look back at what’s prevented you from starting before now. Piano playing is often a hobby that people put off. Have you found yourself saying:

I’ll do it someday. Like any activity, in order to bring it into your life, you have to spend the time on it. If not now, when? We’re always “too busy” or in “too much of a hurry.” The key is giving yourself the chance to bring it into your life. 

It’s too late for me to be good at it, why bother? Playing the piano isn’t something that comes with age. We all love watching the ten-year-old prodigies that have a special knack for playing the piano. But they are the exception to the rule. Anyone can start at any age and thoroughly enjoy their time sitting at the piano. Playing the piano is about enjoying what you do, not necessarily becoming a master at piano playing. 

If you want to play the piano, there is no better time than right now. 

The best way to get started is to start right now. Set up a goal, find a learning method that you can stick with, and reward yourself along the way. The more progress you see, the more motivation you’ll have to keep going. 

And have fun with it. That’s the whole reason to play the piano. Play the music you love. Challenge yourself to get better. And enjoy it every day. 

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Learning To Play The Piano

Don’t Make These Mistakes When Learning To Play The Piano

As we continue to stay at home more, are you looking for more things to do in the comfort of your own home? 

Learning to play the piano can give you hours of enjoyment, and a lifelong love of the arts. 

Yet many people attempt to learn on their own. Thanks to the internet, you can find all kinds of training that can help you get started and improve your playing. If you choose this route, there are a few mistakes players make that can grow into bad habits that impact your playing. 

Fingering and hand movements

Most people assume you sit down and play; fingering and hand movements come naturally. That’s simply not true. Your bench should provide you with a comfortable seat, one that allows your hands to flow naturally by your side. Your wrists should be slightly bent, without overexerting your arms as you play. Each finger is meant to connect with the keys in a certain way. If you attempt to do this without focus, you won’t learn in such a way so that you can continue improving over time. You’ll have to unlearn bad habits to grow and play more difficult pieces. 

Piano placement

At a time where everyone is home, finding the time to play can be difficult. You might be tempted to stick your piano in the basement, or in a corner in a room people seldom visit. Out of sight is also out of mind. Your piano should be in a place you’re comfortable spending time in. You should place it in a room where you’re more likely to sit down and play. 

Sticking to a routine

Routines help us get more done in our busy days. Practice included. While you don’t have to play every day, it is important to create a regular schedule to ensure your ability starts to increase over time. Don’t focus on time – being rigid with 30 or 45 minutes of practice can lead to feeling overwhelmed. Instead, make it a goal to sit down at a specific time and establish goals for each session. Give your kids a goal to practice while you make dinner, for example. You can listen and be involved in your child’s learning while doing a chore you have to do as well. 

Relying only on yourself

While you may wish to start playing the piano through online videos or working on beginning books yourself, don’t discount using a teacher to improve what you do. Whether live or online, individual or group coaching, it’s always good to have an expert weigh in on how you’re doing. It can make your success happen that much faster, just by tweaking small steps as you make them. 

Are you learning to play the piano this year? 

What’s helped you become a better piano player?

Boost Your Brain – Play The Piano

Boost Your Brain – Play The Piano

Why do people play the piano? For many reasons. 

Maybe to enjoy making music. Maybe because it’s fun. Maybe it’s to play like your favorite musician.

Or maybe it’s to activate your brain and help keep it strong. 

Yes, unlike other hobbies, playing the piano can provide memory boosters. If you’re looking for ways to stay young, playing the piano is a good place to start. Here’s why. 

Play the piano to increase coordination

Playing the piano involves hand-eye coordination. Your left hand plays independently of your right hand. Your eyes take in the musical notes from the sheet music. Together, each part does what is necessary to make beautiful music. This stimulates many different areas of the brain at the same time. 

Play the piano to become a better listener

When you play music, you start to listen better. You hear different parts of the song, evaluate things like pitch and voice. You pay attention to tonal quality. That translates over to everyday situations as well. It allows you to block out ambient noise, and recognize nuances of language better. You’ll have an easier time in a noisy cafe the next time you meet with friends. 

Play the piano to become a better reader

Music is a language all of its own. As you learn to read music, you’ll take in symbols and how they work together. Studies have shown that when children complement their education with music training, they display superior cognitive performance in reading skills. It’s also been shown they remember as much as 20 percent more of their vocabulary words. That continues as we age. 

Play the piano to improve memory

Piano instruction helps you improve your memory, in particular verbal memory. This is your working memory. It can also improve your mental health. Pianists experience less anxiety, stress, loneliness, and depression because playing is a great stress reliever. 

Whether you’re considering piano instruction for your child, or yourself, remember playing the piano is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It can help you live a long, happy, healthy life. 

Are you ready to learn to play the piano this year? 

It Doesn’t Take Natural Talent To Be a Great Piano Player

It Doesn’t Take Natural Talent To Be a Great Piano Player

Too often, we associate creative hobbies and artistic endeavors to be associated with natural talent. You’ve either got it or you don’t. 

Child prodigies only make this belief even stronger. When children become known around the world for their talents before they are even in their teens, we ask ourselves: Should I even pursue my love of making music?

In short, yes. 

Sure, prodigies will always continue to amaze us. That’s the definition of being a prodigy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your love and do amazing things with it. You can play for enjoyment, or pursue it further and make it your career. There is more than enough room for everyone that chooses to bring music into their lives. 

You don’t need natural talent to be a great piano player. 

What you need is the mindset to become a great piano player. 

If you set your mind on becoming the best piano player you can be, you’ll have what it takes to put it in your life, for life, and do what it takes to get there. 

Do you think Warren Buffet had a knack for investing? Or Elon Musk had a talent for building better cars? Or the Beatles just knew how to create great songs?

Nope. How each and every one of them got there was with practice. And patience. And the ability to never give up. 

How much practice do you need to be great at playing the piano?

The answer is: Is there a time when you don’t have to practice to be at the top of your game?

The true leaders in every industry, every niche, understands that to be great, you have to work at it. Again and again. 

When you stop, you start losing your skill. You start seeing your talent fade. 

So the only question you need to ask now is: How great of a piano player do you want to be? 

Use These Motivation Tools To Keep Your Child Playing The Piano

Use These Motivation Tools To Keep Your Child Playing The Piano

When you sign your child up for activities, you do so hoping to give them skills that will last a lifetime. While sports may teach teamwork, playing the piano can sharpen the intellect, calm the mind, and offer lifelong health. 

So how do you keep your child playing the piano? Invariably, there will come a point when they proclaim their boredness, and whine about wanting to quit. How do you encourage practicing when they don’t seem to show any interest? 

While there isn’t a foolproof plan to push them to the next level, there are a few things you can try. 

Monitor the way your child learns

We all learn differently. We all look back at our time in school and remember one or two teachers who stood out. That works for everything in life. Some piano teachers will connect with your child differently than others. It’s important to find one that works well with the way your child learns. Often, piano teachers can also make recommendations. It’s no fun for a teacher either if it always feels stressed throughout the process. 

Restructure practice sessions

The old method of timing your practice sessions is outdated. Setting a timer for thirty minutes, for example, will leave your child counting the minutes. Instead, structure lessons to encourage playing. Warm ups, goal-derived practice, and playing their favorites as a cooldown is a much better approach. For smaller children, even ten to fifteen minutes of structured playing can do wonders to keep them motivated and increase their skills accordingly. 

Encourage practice through rewards

What makes piano apps and games so exciting is the concept of winning rewards. You can do so in real life too. Set up a point system to allow your child to trade in practice points for small rewards. You can make them piano related – new sheet music – or expand it to bigger rewards, such as something PC related to encourage their music skills even further. 

This is about knowing your child and what worlds well for the way they learn. 

Kids today learn differently than we did as a child. Don’t be disheartened if they whine and complain. Instead, look for ways to encourage them, knowing playing the piano is a lifelong skill they can use in so many ways throughout their lives. 

Why You Shouldn’t Be Playing The Piano

Why You Shouldn’t Be Playing The Piano

We’re all looking for activities we can take on at home. While sports may once have dominated your after-school life, parents today are looking for activities that can be done at home. 

Why not piano? 

Studies show kids that play the piano do better in school, have higher concentration levels, become better at reducing stress in their lives, and have an activity they can carry with them throughout their lives. 

But like every activity you consider, playing the piano isn’t perfect. There are a few reasons you should consider before you introduce it into your child’s life. 

It’s a big commitment

The only way to get better at playing the piano is to do it regularly. That means practice sessions will become a part of your regular routine. Are you ready to enforce and encourage regular practicing? Are you ready to help your child set goals and follow through? It can be frustrating, especially when you can’t seem to get past hurdles, but it can be a rewarding experience with endurance. 

It’s expensive

Playing the piano can be an expensive pastime. In order to become proficient at it, it’s important to have the right equipment. This doesn’t mean you can pick up a cheap keyboard at a big box store and think you have all the equipment you need. In order to truly love playing the piano, you have to invest in a high quality instrument. Add in lessons, music, and more, and it can be an expensive endeavor. 

It takes room

When you invest in a piano, you’ll have to display it somewhere in your home. While an upright can sit against a wall, a grand takes considerably more room. While you can invest in a digital piano, just ensure it’s high quality. It should have all the features of a traditional piano, including weighted keys and a full keyboard. You might be able to tuck it away and bring it with you when you go, it should still be considered a professional keyboard, one that allows your child to learn and grow. 

It needs tuning

A piano changes over time, no matter how much you play it. It will need tuning periodically to ensure it sounds its best. Teach your kids that this isn’t a toy. It demands respect, and should never be a place to stack old papers, or allow dust to accumulate. All of that can take its toll on maintenance, and require even more work when you’re ready to play. 

Like every activity, it’s important to weigh your options before you commit to an action. But if you choose to encourage your kids to play the piano, you can be sure you’re giving your child a lifetime of enjoyment.  

Piano Practicing Tips To Improve Your Ability

Piano Practicing Tips To Improve Your Ability

Piano practice – what’s your take? For most new piano players, they start by focusing on time. Thirty minutes a day sounds like a good place to start. 

Would it surprise you to learn there’s a better way, and it has nothing to do with timing? One of the best piano practicing tips you can learn from a professional is to stop focusing on time, and pay attention to quality instead. 

Why? Because sitting at the keyboard bored out of your mind for thirty minutes every day won’t make you a better player. The only thing that will do is make you quit that much sooner. 

Playing the piano is about enjoyment. Set up your piano practicing the right way, and you’ll enjoy it that much more. 

Start with a goal in mind

Each day, you’ll be working towards a goal. Playing a passage in a song. Conquering a particularly tricky piece without stopping. Focus on that instead. Give yourself goals around what you wish to accomplish. Maybe you choose to play a certain section perfectly three times. So you work hard to play it, then do so well three times. It may take ten minutes or forty-five, but if you do it this way, you’ll feel good about the session when you walk away. 

Create a peaceful place to play

Most families choose to place the piano in an area where the family hangs out. But that can lead to distractions, especially with other family members coming and going. While we don’t suggest playing the piano in a corner in the basement, be aware of the distractions around the place where your piano players will play. 

Then take away other things that can reduce attention span. Never allow a phone anywhere near the piano. Make sure the television is turned off. Do what you can to create a peaceful environment. That will allow the player to play, and not think about everything else that’s going on in the room. 

Practice is practice

If you’ve ever been a part of a workout routine, you know they are structured for maximum results. Warm up and loosen up. Do a high intensity workout routine. Finish by cooling down and relaxing. 

The same applies to piano practice. Warm up with something to get your fingers moving; scales will do. Then work on your goals for the day. Finish with something fun – something you enjoy doing, possibly your favorite song. 

Above all, practicing the piano should be fun and rewarding. The more active role the participant takes in creating the experience, the more they’ll enjoy the process.