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Lesson Posted on 04/10/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

Piano - basics

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

First, practice scales or technical exercises until the fingers are limbered up. Continue this for 30 minutes or longer if you have time, to improve technique especially by using exercises such as the Hanon series. Then take a new piece of music and slowly read it for a page or two, carefully playing... read more
  1. First, practice scales or technical exercises until the fingers are limbered up. Continue this for 30 minutes or longer if you have time, to improve technique especially by using exercises such as the Hanon series.
  2. Then take a new piece of music and slowly read it for a page or two, carefully playing both hands together, starting from the beginning. This slow play is repeated until it can be performed reasonably well and then it is gradually speeded up until the final speed is attained. A metronome might be used for this gradual speed-up.
  3. At the end of a two hour practice, the fingers are flying, so the students can play as fast as they want and enjoy the experience before quitting. After all, they are tired of practicing so that they can relax, play their hearts out at full speed; this is the time to enjoy the music!
  4. Once the piece can be played satisfactorily, memorize it and practice "until the music is in the hands". (v) On the day of the recital or lesson, practice the piece at correct speed (or faster!) as many times as possible in order to make sure that it is in top condition. This is the last chance; obviously, the more practice, the better.
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Lesson Posted on 26/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

piano

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

There is a rule of piano technique that is sure to do more to advance your piano playing than any other. All amateur pianists I have ever witnessed break this rule every time they play, and doing so costs them their progress and creates frustration and self-doubt. How many times have we all heard... read more
  • There is a rule of piano technique that is sure to do more to advance your piano playing than any other. All amateur pianists I have ever witnessed break this rule every time they play, and doing so costs them their progress and creates frustration and self-doubt.

How many times have we all heard “Think before you speak!” while growing up? This rule holds equally for piano playing:Think before you play. Thinking before playing is about achieving clarity. It means creating mental certainty before so much as moving a finger. It involves anticipating the next notes by hearing them in your mind first. Only then, at the very moment you play them, should you touch the keys, always shaping the hands first.

One of the essentials of ear training is that we should play because we hear, not hear because we play. This means hearing in our mind’s ear first, and only then playing. Our knowledge of right or wrong notes should not come after we’ve already made a mistake – it should be decided with absolute certainty in advance of touching the keys.

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Lesson Posted on 20/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

Purchase Simple Sheet Music That You're Unfamiliar With

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

Simple sheet music includes children's songs, holiday carols, and simple classical songs. You can purchase beginner sheet music at a music store or online. Get a bunch of different examples so that you have a lot of material to practice with: You can find simple sheet music from a piano book for... read more

Simple sheet music includes children's songs, holiday carols, and simple classical songs. You can purchase beginner sheet music at a music store or online. Get a bunch of different examples so that you have a lot of material to practice with:

  • You can find simple sheet music from a piano book for beginners.

  • Simple or beginner songs include "Amazing Grace," "Ode to Joy," and "Waltz."

  • Once you can sight read simple songs, you’ll be able to move onto more complex material.

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Lesson Posted on 20/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

Practice Reading Sheet Music For 20 Minutes A Day

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

Before you can start sight reading, you’ll need to memorize the positions of notes on the staff so you can read the music without having to reference other materials. Read sheet music with a cheat sheet next to you at first so you can get used to reading notes. Eventually, you'll be able to read... read more

Before you can start sight reading, you’ll need to memorize the positions of notes on the staff so you can read the music without having to reference other materials. Read sheet music with a cheat sheet next to you at first so you can get used to reading notes. Eventually, you'll be able to read music much faster, which will help you play new pieces of music.

  • On the treble staff, the notes on the lines, from bottom to top are E, G, B, D, F. You can memorize this by remembering the mnemonic device "Every Good Boy Does Fine."

  • On the treble staff, the notes in between the spaces, from bottom to top are F, A, C, E.

  • Go through a number of different songs to hone your music reading skills.

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Lesson Posted on 12/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard

Punctuate The Music With Dynamic Contrasts

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

Good compositions should swell and subside, should punctuate moments of extreme emotion and melodic peaks with louder dynamics: You can signify dynamic changes in the sheet music with Italian words that signify basic descriptions of loud and soft. "Piano" means that you should play softly, and is... read more

Good compositions should swell and subside, should punctuate moments of extreme emotion and melodic peaks with louder dynamics:

  • You can signify dynamic changes in the sheet music with Italian words that signify basic descriptions of loud and soft. "Piano" means that you should play softly, and is usually written below the staff when the music should be played quietly. "Forte" means loud, and is written in the same way. Note the original name of the Piano, the Piano forté; this may help you in remembering that one of the exceptional features of the instrument is it's ability to be a percussion instrument (that also utilizes strings) that can both increase and diminish in sound. If you're not intending a great amount of dynamic contrast in your piece, or don't want to worry about this yet, or you prefer to focus on tonality and rhythm while learning to write, you may consider it's older relatives, the pipe organ and the harpsichord, which have different strengths and will help your fluency on piano.

  • Gradations can be suggested by drawing an elongated "<" or ">" sign under the staff, where the music should either crescendo (get louder) or diminish your sound, depending.

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Lesson Posted on 12/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard

Don't Over-Complicate Your Music From Need To Impress People

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

The expression process through music is already pretty complicated for most, and there's no need to throw extra dross on that. Depending on your ambitions for your piece, you may want to have multiple parts and polyrhythmic structure, or you may want to have a simple piano melody unaccompanied. Don't... read more

The expression process through music is already pretty complicated for most, and there's no need to throw extra dross on that. Depending on your ambitions for your piece, you may want to have multiple parts and polyrhythmic structure, or you may want to have a simple piano melody unaccompanied. Don't be afraid of starting small and refining your work, or leaving a melody undeveloped. Some of the most iconic and memorable lines are the most effective and the most elegant:

  • If you want a reference point from the past century, Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies" provide a classic example of "less-is-more" music writing, and he was considered by many musicologists to be one of the first to write minimalist music. Minimalism in music is a relatively recent trend, as it wasn't popular till after Satie's death, though it has gained considerably popularity today, and is often characterized by techniques such as: Use of a single rhythm or tone structure throughout a piece, primitive melody structure, use of only one or two scales or modes in the context of an entire piece, and exploration of a single theme using a minimal frame: notable examples of minimalism in the last fifty years include works by George Crumb, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, John Cage & Terry Riley, with an incredible volume of music including such works as minimalist opera and other vocal music (Einstein on the Beach, and Tehillim, for example) Satie's first Gymnopédia was used countless times in ads and film, but there remains something beautiful and moving in it's melancholy melody, though it only uses whole notes and a tonal note structure, not straying from diatonicism for most of the piece.

  • Study Mozart's variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" for an example of turning maybe the most universal of children's melodies into a complex exercise in variation and adornment.[5] It exemplifies the Theme & Variation form, which is one of the most popular and straightforward forms one can write in. Other accessible examples of this form include: Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations", which were a response to a composition his publisher submitted, Michel Rondeau's variations on "Pop Goes the Weasel" and the Enigma variations by Edward Elgar.

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Lesson Posted on 12/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

Identify The Repeating Pattern Of Keys On The Piano

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

Find the note "C" on your keyboard, as shown in the image below. This is the first note of the C Major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and back to C. Note the pattern of white keys: three white keys enclosing two black keys, and four white keys enclosing three black keys. You can also see it this... read more

Find the note "C" on your keyboard, as shown in the image below. This is the first note of the C Major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and back to C.

  • Note the pattern of white keys: three white keys enclosing two black keys, and four white keys enclosing three black keys.

  • You can also see it this way: the black keys repeat a five-key pattern of two black keys separated by one white key, then two white keys, then three black keys separated by one white key, then two white keys.

  • This pattern is constant on all keyboards. Every note on the keyboard is represented in this single 12-note octave they're just higher or lower in pitch.

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Lesson Posted on 07/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Piano Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard

2.Find The Mistake

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

Sometimes music students seem heedless of the fact that they are playing wrong notes, or out of tune. Instead of pointing out their mistake directly, I'll tell them to listen to me play their piece, to see if they can here anything wrong. Then I'll deliberately make a mistake (usually one that they've... read more

Sometimes music students seem heedless of the fact that they are playing wrong notes, or out of tune. Instead of pointing out their mistake directly, I'll tell them to listen to me play their piece, to see if they can here anything wrong. Then I'll deliberately make a mistake (usually one that they've been making that they don't seem aware of). Often, students can identify the mistake I've made, so I encourage them to listen to their own performance as carefully and critically as they listened to mine. Most of them immediately correct their mistake! If a student Can't hear a deliberate mistake in the music, then they don't know it well enough by ear, and they should listen to the piece again and again until they can recognize its pitches better.

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Lesson Posted on 07/09/2017 Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard Music/Instrumental Music/Piano

3. Ear Training Application

keerthana lakshmi

I am teaching Piano, Keyboard and Western Theory classes for all ages. I have 5 years experience and ...

There are lots of applications and websites to help students develop aural skills! My favorite, Karajan, has recently changed its name to Better Ears, but it still has lots of helpful training. Students can choose to work on identifying intervals, pitches, chords, or chord progressions, and many other... read more

There are lots of applications and websites to help students develop aural skills! My favorite, Karajan, has recently changed its name to Better Ears, but it still has lots of helpful training. Students can choose to work on identifying intervals, pitches, chords, or chord progressions, and many other settings. These apps can be a fun way to practice ear training at home.

 
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Lesson Posted on 24/07/2017 Music/Instrumental Music Music/Instrumental Music/Piano Music/Instrumental Music/Keyboard

5 Common Practice Mistakes And How to Correct Them?

Blue Timbre

BlueTimbre was founded by talented and experienced musicians with decades of cumulative experience. BlueTimbre...

Mistake 1: Not actually practicing: Both kids and adults lead busy lives, and consequently it’s easy to make the mistake of not prioritizing piano practice, or making it a secondary priority relative to other tasks / activitiies. We all go through periods where we struggle to find time to practice,... read more

Mistake 1: Not actually practicing:

Both kids and adults lead busy lives, and consequently it’s easy to make the mistake of not prioritizing piano practice, or making it a secondary priority relative to other tasks / activitiies. We all go through periods where we struggle to find time to practice, but once you being to really enjoy playing, practice time becomes something to look forward to. Try to allocate a certain time (or times) each day when practice is part of your routine (much like brushing your teeth).

Mistake 2: Setting keyboard up in a location that is ‘out of sight’ (and therefore ‘out of mind’):

Setting the keyboard up in a back room you rarely go into, or worse, putting the keyboard away in a cupboard with the intention of getting around to practice one day soon is not the way to encourage the habit of practice in your home.
Instead, set the keyboard up in a prominent position such as the living room or dining room, where it is easily accessible and where the mere sight of it will serve as a reminder to do your practice.

Mistake 3: Practicing for long sessions:

Much like pruning hedges, little and often is the key. Even professional musicians who practice 6-8 hours per day do not remain at the piano / keyboard for more than 40 minutes in any one sitting. They take regular breaks and come back to different aspects of their practice for each relatively short session.
For most piano students, a reasonable amount of practice is around 30 minutes per day, and for adults, doing this in one sitting may work. For some students, especially kids, 1-2 short sessions of 10-15 minutes per day is usually much more effective.
Whatever your circumstances, the rough guide is to only practice(in any one sitting) for as long as you can before you start to become mentally tired.

Mistake 4: Practicing what you already know:

It may be fun to play through songs or chords you are already familiar with, but what are you really learning?  Many students get excited with they feel like they have just made some progress  in their piano practice, and so they continue to play what they just learned rather than make the effort to learn something new and uncertain.  This is often followed by boredom and discouragement.  Make it your goal to try something new during each practice session to keep things interesting.

Mistake 5: Failing to revise pieces to maintain a repertoire:

Having made the above point that just playing through material you already know and can play easily can be a ‘cop-out’ that is not really piano practice, the opposite is just as common for some students. It may surprise you to know that many students, once they have learned a piece, are disinclined to  ever play/practice it again, instead preferring to always push ahead to the next new piece.

This addiction to completing lessons / levels is, for some students, part of the appeal of Musiah’s online piano lessons. But it can lead to a scenario where students are unable to play anything for family / friends / visitors because the student has not yet finished the piece they are currently learning, and they have forgotten much of the pieces they have learned recently because they have not made a point of going over them occasionally to maintain a repertoire of say 5 songs they can play upon demand.

So there is a balance to be reached here. At least once a week, allocate some time for ‘refreshing’ your memory by revising some of the pieces you have already learned, not so you can get out of practicing / learning something new, but for the specific purpose of maintaining a repertoire that will enable you to share what you have learned with others.

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