Piano Playing is Child’s Play

See how easy it can be to play the piano?  Even a four year old can do it.

This video on youtube has a lot of mixed comments. There are a lot of people who are saying that it is a fraud or some sort of montage because they simply don’t believe that someone of that age could play the piano so well.  Having worked in video professionally myself I can’t see how this has been falsified but I can understand how they can think this Actually the level of playing is not that high… the performance is obviously flawed but you don’t notice this… such a young and innocent looking person playing such beautiful piano music is such an amazing feat that you don’t even notice the mistakes as much…  it’s like you can forgive them and almost expect them due to his age.

Just remember It’s never too late to learn piano

All in all I think the performance is great, not because of the complexity of the pieces he plays but because of his dedication to the music. He puts himself wholly into the piece he is playing. It’s almost like he is channeling some great piano player.

Piano Finger Exercises

Just as with sports, playing any instrument, especially the piano involves the development of a specific muscle set. These muscles should be warmed up before playing and should be strengthened on a daily basis to ensure perfection.

The muscle set for piano playing is mostly restricted to the fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. Though this may sound relatively insignificant when compared to an olympic tri-athlete for example, there is actually a huge amount of muscles involved in piano playing.

It has been recognized for years that one can become more fluent and apt at the keyboard you need to work hard at strengthening your finger movement. This is why there have been piano finger exercises around ages. Examples of these exercises also known as five finger exercises have been composed and compiled by several composers. Probably the most popular of these is Hanon’s The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises. Other well known finger exercises have been compiled by Schmitt and Czerny.

At the end of the 19th century it became fashionable amongst popular pianists and composers to see who could write and play the most technical and challenging pieces. Liszt was undoubtedly one of the greatest at this as was Chopin. Chopin wrote a series of études (studies) which are said to be designed for strengthening the fingers.

Robert SchumannCare should be taken however. The German composer Robert Schumann could not work out why he (and everyone else) had trouble lifting up the fourth finger on each hand. The truth is that the fourth finger is lacking a tendon which the other fingers have allowing them to be lifted up independently of the other fingers. To this end Schumann had a special contraption constructed which would pull his fourth finger back a little further each day in order to strengthen it. The result however was catastrophic as he snapped the only tendon for that finger and lost use of it completely.

Piano Tutorial Interface

Whilst searching for piano tutorials to publish on the blog I came across the OnlinePianist.com

This is a great resource for pianists of all levels who want to learn how to play actual songs and pieces of music that aren’t just in the public domain.
There is an extensive library of songs in many styles with literally hundreds of examples.
The songs are not exactly tutorials but if you go to the site you will see the innovative method they have used to offer their tutorials.

There is a keyboard onscreen which shows you the notes of the song as they are being played. At first glance it appears to be a video but actually it is more like an interface. The good thing is that you are able to adjust the speed of the playback and start and stop it.  in actionThis way you can watch and copy in slow motion as you learn. Another really useful feature of the interface is that you can choose to split the performance up and view either the left hand on its own, the right hand or both hands together.

The basic interface is free and you get access to the hundreds of songs and pieces of music available however after a couple of plays you need to sign up via Facebook to retain access. There is a piad version as well that offers some advanced features.

Check out the interface and the extensive song library here
http://www.onlinepianist.com/songs/

How many keys should a piano have

One of the most common questions I get asked on my Youtube channel is ‘how many keys should my piano have?’.

This question might come from one of the videos I have where I explain about the basic notes on the keyboard. I explain how the keyboard is split up into repeating groups of twelve notes. In essence you only really need 12 notes but obviously to have more octaves is useful.

In my video I explain how a full sized piano will have 88 keys and that many electronic keyboards will have significantly less.

This somehow is confusing confusing for those who want to learn piano who immediately go to their keyboard and start counting the keys. They think that they will not have enough keys to be able to learn the piano properly.

As I stated before in a flippant way, the minimum number of keys you will require is 12 but even my 1970’s mini moog had more than that.

The average ‘small’ keyboard these-days has some 49 keys (just over 4 octaves) This is more than enough to learn the piano with. Most pop songs and rock songs will not need half of that.

There are some classical pieces that will need access to high registers and there are some which need you to play down low. There are even a few that call for both in the same piece but they are few and far between. There are in fact a very few number of pieces that require the absolute top note of the piano and the bottom note of the 88 keys. I know there are such pieces but I con’t remember what they are at the moment. If anyone does know then please send me an email and I will publish it here.

 

Piano Care 101

Here is a link to a great set of articles on basic piano care.

Piano Care and Maintenance – Inside Tips on Piano Care and Maintenance

Piano Care & Maintenance

The article is aimed at newcomers to the piano but there will also be one or two gems for the seasoned player as well. 

There are lots of tips and useful information covering the following topics.

  1. Cleaning Your Piano
  2. Caring for Your Piano Keys
  3. Piano Tuning
  4. Detecting and Preventing Piano Damage
  5. Consult a Professional Piano Technician

 

 

 

 

To most the piano is a huge piece of furnature that at first seems to be strong and almost indestructable. This is far from the truth, your piano needs a lot of care and regular maintainence both on the outside and on the inside. This article will guide you through all that you need to know coving such topics as,

Cleaning the outside of the piano.

How to take care of the keys.

Getting the piano in tune and keeping it that way.

How to prevent further damage.

Deciding the best time to call in a professional.

 

If you don’t follow the advice in this article the beware….  your piano could end up looking like this!

 

Garden Piano

Learn Piano

rocketpiano_box How to Teach Yourself Piano

Every beginner can use advice on how to Teach Yourself Piano. There are many different methods of teaching yourself how to play the piano. Some people use an instructor and others teach themselves. No matter how you learn to play the piano, some things will be the same. The basics of playing the piano are never going to change. With that in mind here are some tips and great advice to help you as you learn to play the piano.

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Start with the Basics
No matter how you decide to learn, you will always start with the basics. You will learn about the piano, the keys and where the notes are on the piano. You will also learn some basic music theory, including how to read music. These basics are where everyone starts. It can sometimes be easy to think that you don’t need to go over the basics, but even if you already know how to read music and you already know about the piano keyboard, going over the basics is always a nice refresher and should be where you start.


Choose Easy and Short Pieces to Start
Your first pieces should be introductory pieces that test you ability to read music and play that music on the piano. These pieces should be short and easy enough for you to memorize. You should aim to perfect them, which should not take too long.
Also do one or two pieces that you play by ear. This means that you hear them and then try to play them on the piano. You can learn a lot by just trying to duplicate what you hear on the piano. This is great ear training that will come in handy as you advance through your piano lessons.


Understand It Will Get Harder
Too often the beginner student feels like things get too hard and they quit. However, advancing to harder pieces is the only way that you will learn and improve. You have to accept that there will come a time when you will really struggle with a piece and you will have to practice over and over to perfect it. This is just you becoming a better piano player and every player goes through this. If you never play pieces that challenge you then you will never get better.

Make It Your Own
Have you ever heard the same song sang by two different singers? Did it sound exactly the same? Probably not. The reason is that each singer made the song their own. That is what you need to do with the music you play. One of the secrets to becoming a good piano player is learning to make music your own. Start playing from the heart. Be adventurous and willing to try new things. It will only help you grow as a piano player.

When you first begin to seek how to learn the piano you will probably feel it is very structured. You will have set lessons and you will be learning the basic things that you need to know to become a good piano player. Do not let yourself give up in these early stages. They really do progress quickly and soon you will be moving on to playing harder pieces that sound beautiful. The key is to just follow the advice above and to stick with it.

 

There is a list of home study courses to help you teach yourself piano on the piano for beginners page

How To Play The Piano

Learn to Play Piano Blues Style

When you play piano blues style you are calling upon some strong music.

The blues is something that is filled with emotion. It is a genre of music that seems to have its very own style that so unique from any other genre. When you play blues on the piano there are a few things you have to know so you can really get this style right.

The Blues Scale
Playing the blues on the piano starts with learning the blues scale. The scale is played with the right hand and the first four notes are C – E flat – F – F sharp. Practice playing that over and over until you have the four notes memorized. Adding in the left hand, you will play a C and G together as a chord.

Knowing the first four notes of the scale and the basic chord will allow you to start playing around a bit with creating your own blues sound. See the Piano Lessons For Beginners page for more info.

Check out the ‘How to Play The Blues’ book in the Piano For All course.

Improvising a Song
Playing the blues is all about reaching inside yourself and creating music that reflects what you feel. You may not have a lot to work with, but what you have learned with the scale and the C-G chord will give you a great start.
Try messing around with the notes. Unlike just sitting down and playing whatever notes your fingers hit, having guidance of what notes to play will actually make it sound like a real song. No matter what notes you play they will harmonize nicely. Just try to stick to scale order by not skipping notes.

The Complete Blues Scale
After you have gotten to know the first part of the scale you can add in the remaining three notes. This will give you the complete blues scale. The scale is C – B flat – G – F sharp – F – E flat – C. Again, practice the scale until you know it well and then begin to improvise again. You can add in some more notes for the left hand. You can use a C chord and/or a G chord. You now have a very good basis to start playing some amazing blues sound.


Creating Music
You now know the basics for playing the blues on the piano. You now can experiment and try all different rhythms and combinations to create your own blues music. You may want to get some sheet music that reflects the blues style or even just listen to some blues music to give you inspiration.
Remember that blues music is all from the heart. No matter what you do with the music, make it yours. Be free and let yourself go. Follow your ear and if something doesn’t sound right then change it up. Don’t forget to record as you play so you don’t forget the music you have created. After a while, you will find your skills grow and you begin to add your own style to the music. That is why you can be sure that you have mastered how to play piano blues style.

 

Advice on How to Play Rock Piano

When you want to learn how to play rock piano, it helps to get some advice to get you started. Rock piano is simply a style of playing. There is no real secret to it except learning the basic rock style and being able to turn out rock style music from your piano. Learning to play piano in a rock style is something that you may wish to do once you have learned the basics of playing piano.

Energy is Key
The main key to playing rock piano is energy. Rock music is driven by the energy of the performers. The music flows quickly and it can be challenging if you don’t have the energy to keep up with the pace of the music. You must go into learning rock piano with energy, ready to rock and roll. See the Piano Lessons For Beginners page for more info.

Rock Piano Skills
When playing rock piano there are some certain skills that are specific to this style of music. Knowing these specific skills will help you to play rock style easier. There are two main skills: glissandos and fast chords.
Glissandos: This is where you slide your fingers across the keyboard. While it looks simple, it is actually something that can be a bit tricky until you have practiced at it quite a bit.

Fast chords
All piano music includes chords, but in rock music the chords move fast. You have to really know your chords so you can play them fast without mistakes. You may need to spend some time practicing moving through chords over and over in order to get up to speed for rock music.

Basic Elements
Rock music is all about passion and speed. Rock music flows fast and it is played loud. Even the slower rock songs move at a rapid pace compared to classical pieces. Most people learn to play piano using classical pieces so the transformation to playing rock music can be rather challenging at first for some piano players.

Your basic piano skills will really dictate how you can proceed with learning rock piano. If you are a seasoned piano player, who knows all the chords and who can play quick tempos then you may be able to start out with a faster piece than someone who is a relative beginner piano player.

Choosing the Right Piece
For your first rock piece you should probably choose something slow. You want to really be able to work on your styling and grasp the basic flow of rock music before you move into hard, fast pieces.
Learning how to play rock piano is all about practice. You have to get your basic skills perfected before you can move onto real classic rock pieces that move at super fast tempos. You need to really play with all your energy and throw yourself into the music for a rock piece to really come off sounding good.

Even though the guitar is the instrument most people associate with rock music, the piano can also be a great way to rock out.

How To Play All Of The Chords On The Piano

Here is another quick video I made… This one shows you ALL of the major and minor chords and should enable you to play virtually any song you like.

To learn how to play the piano in the comfort of your own home check out some of the online piano courses available which are reviewed on our learn piano online

Learn Piano Online

Learn Piano Online With Rocket PianoLearn Piano Online for Fast and Easy Lessons

Taking piano lessons online has become a popular method to learn piano online. Online lessons have many benefits over hiring a teacher or attending classes offline. If you are someone who is looking to learn to play the piano and you are wanting an easy yet effective way to learn then you should look into online piano lessons.

Problems with Private Teachers.
A lot of people have used a piano teacher to learn how to play the piano. It is nice to have that one on one attention from a teacher who is right there and can work with you hands on. However, using a piano teacher also has drawbacks.
Hiring a piano teacher means you will have a set class schedule. You will either go to the teacher or the teacher will come to your house. You will usually have an hour long lesson, so you will need to make sure you have that time in your schedule. Additionally, if you are having lessons at your home then you will have to have an hour of uninterrupted time for the lesson. For more information check out the Piano Basics page.

Another issue with using a piano teacher for lessons is that the teacher is in charge of what you learn and how fast you learn it. Most teachers will advance you when they believe that you are ready, but they also have lesson plans they follow. You will have to go at the pace the teacher wants and even if you feel you do not need to go over a lesson again, if the teacher says you have to then you will have to follow what they say.

Benefits of Online Lessons
When you learn piano online there are many benefits over hiring a teacher. The first benefit is the flexibility. You choose the pace of your lessons, when you practice your lessons and how you advance through the lessons. You are in charge. You do not have to do your lessons at the same time every week. You do not even have to wait a week in between lessons. You are completely in charge of how you progress through your lessons.

The second benefit is that it is usually much more affordable. Teachers can charge quite a bit for that weekly hour of their time. Even if you have to cancel a lesson you will usually end up still having to pay. With online lessons you pay one set fee for the lessons and you know you will be getting the full benefits from the lessons.

Online piano lessons simply mean that you won’t have to worry about getting to a lesson or freeing up time for a lesson. You don’t have to worry about being stuck on lessons that you find boring or that you feel are teaching you nothing. You also get to go at your own pace and move through the lessons in a way that feels comfortable for you. There is nobody telling you what to do.

Choosing to learn piano online allows you to be in control. You can go over lessons that are hard and sail through the easy ones. You can also choose what you want to learn by doing only the lessons that you feel you need. Online lessons allow you to make learning the piano an enjoyable experience that is convenient to you. Learn Piano Online now

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