What Would You Look Like Playing The Piano?

What Would You Look Like Playing The Piano?

A lot of people talk about learning to play the piano, but not everyone follows through on their desires. 

When Ryan Gosling was to showcase his piano playing talents in the movie La La Land, he spent three months practicing two hours a day to perfect his skill. 

While few of us can hope to learn at that speed – we have busy lives too – there is something about his actions that we can all learn from. 

  • Set a goal and stick with it.
  • Choose the type of music you wish to learn. 
  • Pay attention to fundamentals and proper technique.
  • Learn common patterns such as chords and scales.
  • Remain dedicated. It’s the best way to learn. 

The best place to start is to see yourself playing the piano. Would you be sitting at home with a small acoustic piano? Would you be sitting in a grand hall at a grand piano, playing for an audience? 

This can give you the motivation you need to keep moving forward. It can also set the stage for where to invest your time and money. Choose the right piano for your needs. If you want to play on a grand piano in front of an audience, why not invest in one as you learn? 

It’s equally important to play what you love. While learning the basics is important, there are many ways to incorporate different genres of music into your daily learning patterns. Music comes in a variety of skill sets, genres, and ability levels. Work with an instructor who can help select the right training materials for you. 

Remaining dedicated is also the best way to achieve your goals. Schedule your practice and stick with it. Make piano a part of your life, and you’re more likely to continue with your goals. 

Finally, bring more music into your life. When was the last time you took in a concert, listened to a symphony, or attended group lessons? There are many ways to incorporate piano playing into your life. Get creative. You never know where it might lead. 

Stopped Playing The Piano? Take It Up Again!

Stopped Playing The Piano? Take It Up Again!

For our kids, we tend to keep their days a little more rigid. School. Afterschool activities. Homework time. Practice time. Family time. Their days are carefully chunked into a variety of things to keep them moving throughout the day. 

But for adults, it can be a bit more challenging. We have to get the kids to school and their activities. We have to get to work. But the days can quickly spiral out of control with a phone call or a sudden emergency. 

Your mom calls and needs a little help. 

Your furnace stops working – it’s cold in the house!

And suddenly, all your plans for extra activities go by the wayside. 

That’s how many adults stop playing the piano, even though they have the best intentions. They skip a day of practice, planning to catch up tomorrow. One day goes by, then two. And before you know it, you haven’t played in weeks. 

That’s normal!

Every piano player has experienced that from time to time. 

The key is in recognizing it and doing something about it. 

Start with your why – why did you take up the piano in the first place? Did you want to play a favorite song? Did you use it for relaxing at the end of a hectic day? Use that to recharge yourself and get started again. 

Create a new plan – why did you stop? Was something not working with your playing schedule? Too often, we try and place activities at a time that doesn’t make sense. Maybe we’re tired at the end of the day. Maybe that’s the timeframe when friends and family call with questions and problems. Re-evaluate your piano practicing schedule and see if there is a better time you can play. 

Calendar it – whether you take lessons from a teacher is up to you. Whether you work with someone, or choose to do it on your own, if it’s on your calendar, you’re more likely to do it. You block out the time, and you have it facing you each day. Keep things simple. This gives you a visual cue to stay on track. 

Motivate – give yourself a reason to start up again. What song have you really wanted to play? Find music that challenges you to play it, yet isn’t so difficult it’ll take you months to get there. 

You can also find a community that helps you stay on target. The great thing about the online world is you can find all kinds of resources to help you stay on track. Whether you’re playing with a local group, or simply have a forum to stay in touch with other pianists, it’s a great way for you to stay on track playing the piano throughout the year. 

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? 

Is Playing The Piano Good For You?

Is Playing The Piano Good For You?

Staying in place has helped many find new hobbies. A playing the piano is leading the list. 

That’s because unlike binge-watching television, or spending hours on video games, there are scientifically proven benefits to playing the piano. 

Stress relief 

Staying in place is difficult at best. We’re not used to staying home every second of every day. And while we love our family members, sometimes we need a break. Studies show that playing the piano can help in all kinds of ways, including reducing your stress, improving your mental health, and lowering anxiety and depression. 

Concentration 

Have you ever had brain fog? Or felt like you couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand? Playing the piano may help you. Playing the piano requires you to use split concentration methods as you focus on each hand playing differently, while working the pedals and reading the music at the same time. The more you improve this skill, the easier you’ll find it is to concentrate. 

It’s an easy hobby to take up

Did you know that piano is one of the easiest instruments to play? Intuitively, we all can pluck a few notes and pick out a song from the moment we come in contact with it. From the beginning, teachers have you playing simple songs, and you can move up to your favorites fairly quickly. 

It improves your health

There are many studies showing all the ways playing the piano improves your health. It improves hand-eye coordination. It helps sharpen fine motor skills. It lowers stress, which in turn can help you control blood pressure. It’s good for your arm and hand muscles, giving you added strength. Therapies are being developed to help patients with everything from autism to dementia. 

It creates a more beautiful world

Listening to music makes you more aware of your world. You start to notice things you ignored before. 

If you’re looking for new things to add to your day, to bring peace and tranquility to these challenging times, playing the piano may be the perfect answer for you. 

Motivation For Playing The Piano When Everyone’s Stuck At Home

Motivation For Playing The Piano When Everyone’s Stuck At Home

Life is anything but normal right now. And while parents are juggling everything from working at home to monitoring finances, learning to cope in new ways, kids are also facing their own fears head on. 

Over 29 countries have now officially shuttered school doors with many more expected soon. It’s impacting more than 3.5 million K-12 students across the US, closing in on a half billion worldwide. 

While some are meeting regularly with teachers via online meeting platforms, the majority are saying goodbye to learning for weeks – months – into the future. In addition to losing the normality of their days, they have the added stress of not being able to play in a normal way. Sports teams have canceled. Cities and states are quickly moving to a stay in place advisory. 

That builds fear and frustration in kids, which in turn hurts the family dynamics. What’s a parent to do? 

There’s no better time to rethink the activity you and your child pick up. There’s no better time for playing the piano. 

Playing the piano is a solo activity. It’s something you can do all on your own, whenever you choose. It relaxes you, takes your mind off your worries, and soothes the soul. 

Playing the piano is also a family activity. It can provide lovely background music while other family members bake or read. 

If you have a piano tucked away in a corner, or a digital keyboard stuck under the bed, now may be the perfect time to pull it out and start learning something new. Encourage your kids to do so too. 

Be patient. Sometimes you won’t feel like playing or practicing. Now is the time to be gentle with yourself, and do what feels right for today. 

Develop a new skill. Have you considered music in your lives before? Prior to Covid-19, we all led busy, active lives. We flew from one activity to the next. Things are now slowing down. Be conscious about what is meaningful in your lives, and choosing activities that can be there, always.  

Have fun. Luckily, we have the internet filled with everything you need to make playing the piano a success. Download games to learn notes and music theory. Download music to play your favorite pop tunes. Tune in to various music sites to listen to piano playing in action. 

It might just motivate you – or your kids – into a new way of life. 

The Correct Way To Sit – It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

The Correct Way To Sit – It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

Did you know there’s a proper way to sit? 

Sitting the wrong way can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease, circulation disorders, strained neck, bad back, muscle degeneration … the list goes on and on. 

We’re just now starting to realize the impact sitting for long periods of time has on our physical body. But science is also discovering that it can impact other things too, such as your ability to play the piano. 

Slouching is bad. When you slouch at the piano, your shoulders are curved, your back is rounded, your head tilts down. It isn’t a pretty sight. The Correct Way To Sit - It Makes All The Difference In Playing The Piano

Now compare that to someone who sits up straight. They’re engaged. They are fun to watch. And they play better too. 

Remember the old adage: sit up straight? You may have heard that in school or even with your first piano instructors. Turns out that isn’t true. There’s more to it than sitting up straight. It’s about good posture first and foremost. 

If you “sit up straight”, you tend to puff out your chest, which also puts your back at risk. 

Instead, focus on sitting so your tailbone is properly aligned. Imagine a tail sweeping out and away from your body. Sit properly to ensure it’s comfortable. 

It’s not just about sitting. Your hand placement should also be placed in proper position. If they aren’t, your arms and hands will start to hurt, especially if you practice hours each day. This strain can lead to a variety of health problems. 

Good hand placement doesn’t just make you better at playing, it also impacts your tonal quality. The person who is hunched over can’t get the same power into the notes that someone sitting upright and fully extended. 

For proper hand placement, sit far enough away from the keyboard so the fingertips rest on the keys without effort. The feet should reach the pedals without stretching. Your fingers should naturally curve in toward your body, with your knuckles slightly curved away. The wrist should be relaxed. Your arm should never tense.

While this might feel unnatural at first, with practice, you’ll feel better, and play better too. 

Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Have you ever had a stressful day, retreated into your home, and put on your favorite tunes to relax? There’s a reason for that. 

From the dawn of humanity, music has been a part of the healing process. With nothing more than drums and simple instruments, people used songs to communicate and find ways to articulate and express all that was happening in their lives. 

Music therapy was first recognized after World War II when musicians began visiting veteran hospitals to help those suffering from both physical and emotional tolls of war. When nurses and physicians started seeing responses, they began to hire musicians to play. Playing The Piano May Help Curb Depression

Today, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is the largest music therapy association, and serves communities around the world by promoting and educating people on the benefits of using music as a part of a therapeutic process. 

Music therapy has been proven to:

  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Increase motivation
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Provide emotional release
  • Enhance relationships

Music therapy works by using music to help with physical, emotional, and social needs of an individual. While listening has been proven to work, adding in physicality can help even more. By playing and participating, it has been found to stimulate the senses, help calm a person down, reduce heart rate, slow breathing, and reduce physical attributes of stress. Participation is everything. 

With many instruments, it takes a high level of skill to create a good tone. It takes even more skill to be able to play a song. With a piano, you press a key and the note is there. Even the most musically challenged can sit down and within minutes, be plunking out a simple tune. You can have fun from the moment you sit down. 

Want to feel better? Maybe it’s time to pick up a new habit this year. Why not choose to learn to play the piano and see how it helps you change your outlook on life. 

7-problems-youll-have-as-a-pianist

7-problems-youll-have-as-a-pianist

Do you love playing the piano? We do too. But if you’ve been playing the piano for any length of time, there are a few problems you’ll have that only another piano player will understand. 

Trying to play when your fingers won’t cooperate

You sit down to play. You know the music very well. But somewhere between your brain and your fingers the message gets lost. Your fingers simply won’t cooperate and play what you want them to play. Sit back. Take a deep breath. Flex your fingers a bit, and try again. 

Playing with cold fingers7-problems-youll-have-as-a-pianist

Cold fingers aren’t as nimble as they are when they warm up. They seem to feel stiff and even a little numb. While you might prefer to practice in a cool room, warm up your fingers before you sit down to play at your optimum ability. 

When you forget a piece you’ve played for ages

Nothing can be more frustrating than knowing you can play a favorite piece of music well, then sitting down and forgetting where to start. Focus. You often forget because you’re in a new place or playing in front of people. Take a few extra minutes to calm, and focus on what notes you need to play. 

When you play perfectly by yourself, but mess up every time you’re with someone else

When you’ve practiced to perfection, it’s fun to sit down and play for your teacher, family, or friends. Yet no matter how many times you nailed it playing on your own, you mess up when you play for someone else. Nerves are a funny thing. Even if you aren’t nervous, your fingers can often seem like they have a mind of their own. Relax. Try it again. 

You want to play piano everywhere you go

Have you ever walked into a room with a beautiful baby grand front and center? Of course, you have to give it a whirl. How can you keep your hands off such a beautiful instrument? 

You know when you’re piano is out of tune

You sit down to practice and you hit “that note.” You know which one I’m talking about. It sounded perfect the day before, but suddenly it sounds … off. And you can’t help but notice again and again. That’s why true pianists have a professional tuner they can call in at any time. You can’t play if it’s out of tune, right?

You never want to stop

Playing the piano is something that gives you joy. You never want to stop. And the good thing about playing the piano, is you never have to. Piano is one of those activities you can do whether you’re 5 or 105. It’s a stress reliever. It’s a memory maker. No matter what your age, it’s an activity you’ll enjoy throughout your life. 

Is Listening To Mozart As Good As Playing The Piano

Is Listening To Mozart As Good As Playing The Piano

When you have your first child, your life becomes a whirlwind of reading and educating yourself to be the best parent you can be. And at some point, you probably ran across an article or two that said how good listening to classical music is for your baby. 

It’s called the Mozart effect. And it’s been studied for a long time. 

Back in the 1990s, a group of researchers at the University of California Irvine performed a test in which they divided students into three groups. They played Mozart for one, self-hypnosis audio for another, and the third sat in silence. Then they were each asked to perform a series of tests. Those who listened to Mozart averaged higher performance than the other two groups, and the “Mozart theory” was born.  

From there, a whirlwind of products were created touting the benefits music had on our lives. Things like Baby Einstein videos were developed, allowing parents to put educational toys and videos in front of their children, and allow a few moments of guilt-free parenting opportunities to help them get through their busy days. 

It became so ingrained in our society, that even the governor of Georgia recommended that every child born in his state get a free classical music CD. Is Listening To Mozart As Good As Playing The Piano

Studies continued. And slowly it was proved that listening to Mozart might not be as beneficial as everyone once thought. It won’t hurt; being cultured in music can only help a child’s development. And if it calms everyone in the family down and eliminates stress, all the better. 

The bottom line is products like Baby Einstein won’t “educate” your child, and simply listening to Mozart won’t create a stronger, more fine-tuned brain. That takes education. That takes work. It takes action; doing instead of merely listening. 

And that’s where playing the piano comes into play.