And Why Not?!
Classical music is good for you! It helps your thinking and it is good for the soul! You have probably heard of Mozart’s music influence on babies’ mental development. But this is not just for kids, and it does not mean just Mozart!
Classical music is very structural both in terms of the form of the tunes and in rhythms. Our brain is very receptive to patterns since we recognize our world by patterns, both visual and auditory. Listening to classical music clarifies your thinking and helps organization. Have you heard of the Japanese researcher who experimented with the effects of music on the water molecules? Read the rest of this entry »
Why am I talking about Attitude?
Because I know it can make a huge difference not only in music, but in our lives!
If you take two individuals with similar level of capabilities and talents, one could succeed while the other one can fail, only because of how they perceive themselves and how they look at the world.
Many a times I get reactions from students just glancing at a piece of music for the first time and saying: “that’s too hard!” Now, if you think that I have never done that myself, think again! I have said it many times, but then later in life I learned something about this thing called attitude!
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What is anticipation and why do I need to know this?
Anticipation, according to the dictionary definition is an expectation, foreknowledge or foresight. In playing an instrument, anticipation refers to thinking and preparing ahead. What do we prepare ahead? We prepare the fingers, we prepare the hands movement and we prepare looking ahead when we read the sheet music. Anticipation in playing gives you a flow of movement which translates in the easy, natural flowing of the music you play. Otherwise you’ll stumble, hiccup and feel like you are ready to fall on your nose!
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Why is playing relaxed so important?
Well, try this for an experiment: tighten your hand. Now try to wiggle your fingers while your hand is tight. How easy and how fast can you move the fingers? I would guess that you could barely move them. Now relax your hand and wiggle the fingers. Do you see and feel the difference? Read the rest of this entry »
Why is learning to read music this important?
Think of learning how to read music being the same as learning how to read, period. It is a whole lot easier to learn the musical notation than it is to learn how to read. There are not as many notes!
It is also very important for your own independence to learn how to read music, since then you can learn any new songs or new music piece that you want. You are not dependent on somebody else or a teacher at all times.
If you learn the music notation and how to count the rhythm you have a great advantage. You become music “literate”! Read the rest of this entry »
These should be done daily for around 5 minutes.
This is a summary of the piano Warm up practice lesson with the video. I recommend that if you don’t have time to practice every day, at least you do these exercises. It is the same as an athlete warming up before running. Cold muscles don’t work very well!
Hands and Fingers Position
- Imagine you hold a small ball or an apple underneath your hand, so keep it round.
- Keep hands and fingers round. Cut your fingernails short so you can play with your finger pads.
- Lift fingers when you play, don’t push in. The power comes from lifting the fingers before they come down, much the same as the action of hammers.
Read the rest of this entry »
More effective practice tips for the beginners
Follow the same procedure with each new piece:
- Clap and count the rhythm.
- Play and count loud.
- Remember, the numbers under or above the notes represent the fingers numbers, not the count.
- Do not try to play the whole piece through over and over
- Practice small sections: two-three measures a few times, then one row a few times until comfortable. Do the same with the next row. You’ll find that in the beginning the patterns repeat a lot.
- Isolate the problems spots: practice those more rather than always starting over. Then integrate the sections back together.
- Take breaks every 10 minutes if you can’t concentrate more.
- Make sure you practice slowly and count at the same speed. Don’t speed up sections that seem easier.
- As you get more advanced, remember to practice each hand separate until you can handle it.
- You don’t need to practice all pieces (or books) every day if you don’t have time. Cycle through them during the week.
- It is also helpful if you keep reviewing past material. You’ll realize how much easier it seems.
These recommendations will help you make progress without even feeling the work!
- As a beginner you should allocate 10-15 minutes per day at least 4 days a week.
- The most important thing in learning how to play an instrument is consistency and knowing how to be efficient, especially if you don’t have much time.
- A short practice session every day (or most every day) goes a lot further than the same amount all in one day a week.
- Keep hands and fingers relaxed when you play. Keep fingers curved and play on the finger pads.
- Make sure your arm and wrist is also relaxed. Imagine you play with feathers not with sticks.
- If your hands get tired quickly, take a break. It may mean that you are too tight.
- Learning how to read the music notes is very important, because you’ll become independent in learning any new music piece. It is like learning how to read.
- Try to keep your eyes on the music while you play on the keys.
- In the beginning your hands will be in one position, so you don’t need to jump over keys.
You can achieve more and learn faster if you practice smart and follow these beginner’s piano practice tips:
- Read the notes aloud to yourself. If you don’t know what it is, either go up or down from the note that you know to the books that show you all the notes on the staff for each hand. Here’s an example.
- Look at the time signature to see how many beats you have in the measures. If the rhythm is more difficult for you, clap and count first.
- Play each hand separate. Repeat small sections and make sure you play the notes you have just said in step 1. Count loud as you play.
- Play hands together, ONLY after you are comfortable playing separate hands. Keep counting loud. Repeat small sections.
- After you practice small sections or the more difficult places first, then you can practice playing the piece from beginning to end. If there are still places where you still stumble, take those separate and together until they become easy for you.
Notes Values and Rhythm
Music is made of sounds, silence and rhythm. On the piano you make the sounds by pressing on the piano keys. The silence is the space between the sounds. The rhythm is what gives the music a beat that will make it flow. This is why learning how to count at a steady and consistent pace is very important.
Music is divided into units of time called measures. Measures are shown by vertical bar lines on the music staff. Measures usually contain the same number of beats or counts. The number of counts in the measures is specified in the beginning of the music piece or song, at the “time signature”.
The time signature is similar to a fraction in math. The upper number tells you how many beats are in each measure. The bottom number tells you what type of beats you have as the unit of time. For example 4/4 means each measure has 4 beats and each beat is a quarter note. Each quarter receives 1 count, since it is the unit of time. So in each measure you will count up to 4. If it was 4/8, the eighth is the unit of time, and each eighth receives one count. 3/4 means you have 3 quarters in a measure and you’ll count up to 3. In many ways, counting is like simple math. However it is crucial that you count evenly, like a clock, without slowing down or speeding up (unless of course, the music specifies this, which you’ll learn later).
The music notes have different time values which indicate how many beats you’ll need to count on one note. This is what makes some notes shorter and others longer. Read the rest of this entry »