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/

New Piano Course looks VERY Promising

I have found a new piano learning course which at first glance seems to be very promising indeed.

The course is called Learn Piano in 30 Days and stands out from the other best selling piano courses in quite a few ways which I will go into below.

Scan with your mobile - Learn piano in 30 days QR codeThe best thing of all is that the whole course can be tried out for just $1. The 14 day $1 trial allows you to check out all aspects of this very complete course so you can decide whether to continue and pay the  the very reasonable $27 monthly fee.

The course offers tuition from the most basic level for absolute beginners to a fairly high intermediate level.

One of the best features of this course is that they have a large selection of song tutorials in video format so you can watch and play along whilst you learn some of the most in demand popular and modern songs available. If there is one thing I have learned from offering help on learning the piano it is that most people want to learn how to play real songs and this course certainly has this covered.

piano video song lessons

The inclusion of thousands of pieces of sheet music alone is worth the cost of the course. As you may have discovered, sheet music can be very expensive and to find free sheet music is a nightmare with hundreds of shady rip off sites all getting you to jump through hoops of signing up for memberships only to not deliver in the end.

Here is a list of some of the song tutorials that they have available.

Song Tutorials

There is a forum manned by a team of real piano teachers so you can keep in touch and get any questions or doubts answered by the professionals and there is also an online help system.

Just going by the amount of material that is available with this course I would go as far as to say that the course would be attractive to even the most experienced piano player just for the sheer amount of tutorials and sheet music available without even going into the course details.

 Check out this couse now

I plan to do a video review of this product as soon as possible… keep an eye out for it.

If anyone would like to share their opinions of this course I would be very interested to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the comments section below…  Thanks

Key signature finder

I found this great key signature finder at about.com.

This is a really useful tool for not just piano players but for all musicians. It shows you exactly how many sharps or flats there are for each different key signature whether it be major or minor.

You search for your key signature by name… when you click on the key then you get confronted with a different page showing you exactly how many sharps or flats that particular key has. You also get shown which is the relative minor (or relative major) along with a list of the most common chords for that key signature.

As well as showing you how many sharps or flats it will also show you which they are listing them on the musical stave as well as in writing.

You will find this resource extremely useful if you are starting to read music and are now playing in several different keys. It will quickly serve as a reference to show you exactly how you should be playing each song.

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Extensive collection of piano tutorials

Here is a great piano site I found that has a really comprehensive collection of piano tutorials. 

Videos | PianoTutorOnline

I was astounded when I took a deeper look into the collection they have up here. There are a staggering 300 tutorials showing you how to play many of the classic piano based songs from John Lennon’s Imagine to Bruce Hornsby’s that’s just the way that it is.

In fact any song you can imagine is probably here in this collection of tutorials.

The tutorials don’t appear to be in any logical order which is a shame and it makes finding a song more of a pot luck event. There are some really advanced pieces and some really simple ones and there is no distiction as to playing level in the list. 

All of this is however totally excusable as this has to be THE most comprehensive list of piano tutorial available at the moment. 

I hope you get a chance to check it out and learn some of the all time classic piano pieces. The more you learn from others the more different styles you will be practiciing. All of that will make it a lot easier to progress in your piano playing even though you might feel you are making little progress and simply copying other people’s piano parts. 

How to play Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the all time classic pop/rock pieces. This was composed by Freddie Mercury on the the piano and although the original recoding features heavily the voices in close harmony and the timeless guitar sound we can only associate with queen, the song is in fact based around the piano part.

There are quite a few piano tutorials on you tube showing you how to play this piece, some are better than others.

I have included a couple of the better ones here with this post.

It might seem quite a daunting task at first to learn this masterpiece but once you split the song down into small sections you will see that it will not be all that difficult to get to grips with it.

The most thorough tutorial I found is this one by Joe Raciti

This is in three parts and can be quite difficult to follow. If you are prepared to do a lot of pausing and continuing however it will be well worth while learning from this one.

 

There are many other tutorials for this song and there is noting stopping you from going through each and getting little bits from each one.

Then to put it all together here is an excellent non stop live performance piano part which is almost exactly as it appears on the original track.

 

And finally you must not miss this interpertation.

Piano Lessons For Beginners

There are a lot of people looking for piano lessons for beginners who believe that they are really too old to learn piano. This cannot be further from the truth. The fact is that the older you are the more thoroughly you will learn and the less likely you will be to give it up.
I have written extensively on this subject before and will not go into it here (Am I Too Old To Learn The Piano) but if you are looking for a complete home study course that will serve as piano lessons for beginners then there are at least two that I can highly recommend. I have done a couple of extensive reviews on these piano learning products including a video sneak peek into the products. I have used both of these courses personally and apart form having hours of fun I improved my playing and learned to play in multiple styles.
Here is a quick review of the top two home study courses offering piano lessons for beginners.

The Basics of How to ReadPiano Coach Pro Piano Sheet Music

When you are learning to play piano you must learn how to read piano sheet music. Many people learn to read music in elementary school, however, if you are not in the band or choir, you can easily dismiss all that you learned. It can help to get familiar with at least the basics of sheet music before you get into your piano lessons.

The Staff
When you look at a piece of music there are different parts or elements that make up that sheet music. The first of those elements is the staff. This is the five line, fours space area where the actual notes sit. It is basically what the music is written on. It is the lines and spaces of the staff that tell you what note to play. At the beginning of the staff you will see a clef sign, either a treble or bass. There is a key signature and then a time signature. Each of these things help you to know how to play the music.

Clefs
The treble and bass clefs tell you the octave you are playing in. Generally in piano the treble clef is the right hand and the bass clef is the left hand. The clef sign will also tell you what notes each line and space of the staff represent.
In the treble clef staff the lines, from bottom to top, represent the notes E-G-B-D-F and the spaces are F-A-C-E. In the bass clef staff the lines, from bottom to top, represent the notes G-B-D-F-A and the spaces are A-C-E-G.

 

Key Signature
The key signature tells what notes, if any, are flat or sharp. The marking for flat is an odd “b” and the marking for sharp is “#”. In the key signature the marking will be on the line or space of the note that is to be played flat or sharp.

Time Signature
The time signature tells you the number of notes in each measure. Measures are marked by a straight vertical line and they are used to break up the music. It looks like a fraction.

Notes
The last part of the sheet music are the actual notes. There are many different types of notes and each note has a specific length of time in which it is played. Here are some examples of notes you will see:
Whole note: Looks like an “o” Played for 4 beats.
Half note: Looks like a backwards “b”. Played for 2 beats.
Quarter note: Looks like the half notes but is filled in to make the “o” solid black. Played for one beat.
Where the notes are placed on the staff tell you what note to play. For example a whole note on the first line up from the bottom would be a G played for 4 beats.
There are many more complexities that go into sheet music, but these basics should get you started with learning how to read sheet music proficiently. Once you know these basics you can then begin to learn the more complex aspects of reading sheet music.


Piano Lessons For Beginners – Best Piano Courses

This is my list of the top piano courses of the many I have checked out and tested personally.

Rocket Piano - Teach Yourself Piano


Rocket Piano – The Top Beginners Piano Course Average User Rating: stars-4-5* (Click Here For The VIDEO REVIEW)

This product consists of  7 books all with their associated audio and video files. They will teach you right from the very beginning how to play the piano or the keyboards and will go on to teaching you Gospel for beginners, Jazz for beginners and there are also some general technique books. You will get access to a load of software for MAC or for PC which includes several music learning games and a very useful metronome application. This course seems to be the current market leader for piano lessons for beginners. It is an extremely complete course which contains over a years worth of piano lessons. Great for complete beginners and intermediate level players too.

 


Piano for All

Piano For All – Best Course For Beginners and Intermediate

Average User Rating: stars-5-0

*(Special VIDEO REVIEW of the Course)

This really complete package comes with 10 books which all have audio and video embedded. You get taught how to read music and how to play by ear at the same time. Right from the outset you will be playing authentic sounding music. The course contains Innovative teaching methods which will hold the interest of most students and will have you playing great sounding music very quickly. The overall presentation of this product is not quite as smooth and professional looking as some of its competitors but the content is without a doubt far superior.


For a more complete list see the piano for beginners home study page.

Both of the above products come with a 60 day no questions asked guarantee in case you are not completely satisfied with your purchase. They are both suitable for adults or young people though not really geared for small children to use. They are both a great way of getting piano lessons for beginners in your own home.

 

If you are someone who is looking for beginner piano lessons, you’ll find that there are a number of different options open to you.  Piano is a beautiful instrument, and if you are in the right mindset, you will find that it is a real pleasure to learn.  One of the most important parts of getting the piano instruction that you want is to make sure that you get the right instruction that you need.  When you are thinking about getting started with piano, make sure that you keep some of the basic parts of piano instruction in mind.

1. What kind of time can I devote?
When you are looking at learning piano, remember that the real learning occurs on your own while you practice.  The best piano teacher in the world won’t be able to do a single thing with you if you don’t have the time to practice.  Remember that you should think about how much time you are willing to budget every week to practice your lessons.  Think about when you can practice and when you are going to be in the right mood to practice.

2. Where can I practice?
When it comes to beginner’s piano, you’ll find that you might not be willing to put out the money for a good keyboard or piano, but keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to play and to figure out if this is the instrument for you.  In the first place, you will find that in many cases, a piano teacher can provide you with a piano during lessons, but even for practice sessions, you will find that you can often rent practice space from your local music shop, piano store or university.  Where there is a will, there is a way, so think about what you are after.

3. What do I want to play?
When learning piano, you will find that at the very beginning that you are going to get a very basic level of instruction, but that sooner than you think, you will need to consider what kind of style that you are interested in playing.  Finding an instructor who enjoys the music that you are going to be playing is quite important, so make your goals plain and let your teacher know where your interests lie.

4. Where should I start?
If you are planning to learn piano, you need to think about where you are going to start.  In the first place, think about what kind of experience that you have had.  If you can read music, you’ll find that you can skip that part of instruction.  Remember that most piano instructors will be happy to start you from scratch and that if you need to, you can start from the very beginning.  Take some time and assess where you are starting from and what you are going to need to think about working on. For more information check out the Piano Basics page.

When you are looking to get started with your beginner piano lessons, take some time and make sure that you know where you want to go, and that you take the time to practice as much as you can.

Am I Too Old To Learn The Piano?

There have been a lot of writing to me that have been concerned about being too old to take Piano Lessons For Beginners. People repeatedly inquire how old do you have to be before is becomes too difficult to really get skilled at the piano. This appears to be a regular question for persons over the age of fifteen. There seems to be a widespread misconception that once you get old then it is too late to learn the piano or keyboards.
Well the good

news is that this is false at all and in a number of cases it is in point of fact the contrary of the truth in that the older you are the more efficiently you will allow yourself to be taught.

When very young children are taught how to play the piano the advancement are generally really long-winded and frustrating for them. Regular practice is necessary and it can be really complicated for them remain interested.  The children who take up piano at an early age do not go forward enormously rapidly at first but over time they get better at leaning and soon start to perform and practice without thinking about it and the entire process becomes normal to them.

It is much easier for a teenager to learn piano than a small child. It is a good time to learn the piano whilst in your teens if you can manage to stay to a schedule of practice and attend all of the lessons as it can be simple to become distracted by schoolwork or other projects.

In my opinion, the best time to learn to play the piano or the keyboards is as an adult. You will be able to practice and get good at the instrument a lot better as soon as you have your schooling finished and you have more of a daily schedule established in your life. You will be more motivated as you have chosen to learn the instrument yourself and you will be able to arrange your own practice sessions.. Learning like this is more than likely one of the most significant components to success. As an adult you will be able to see the reasoning behind your lesson plans and your practice sessions which will make you less prone to give up.

Check out this in depth video review of the top selling home study course for piano Rocket Piano

It is becoming ever more popular as of late for elder people to take up the piano. Older people in their 70’s and 80’s are every day taking up the piano and enjoying it immensely. The Delight of learning is what these people are looking for and not so much the objective of becoming competent, though many of them do achieve this even though they have had no prior musical know-how

So to answer the original question, am I too old to learn the piano? then the response has to be a distinct “NO”. You have just as much chance of progressing to a high level of playing if you start to learn the piano as an adult as if you begin as a small child.