Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to Play the Piano

The piano is one of the most popular instruments because of its ease in learning and versatility. It is used as an accompaniment for other instruments or for singers. The tone is amazing, and the type of music you can use it to play is endless. It is also an important foundation for all musicians, even if their "main" instrument is not piano.

Interest If you are a child interested in learning, speak to your parents and ask them if they can buy you a piano. Keep in mind that pianos can be very expensive, so they may be hesitant and require you to prove your dedication to play piano first. Or you can buy a keyboard if you're low on space. Before buying a piano, make certain your are willing to practice thirty or more minutes each day. If you're not--then save yourself (or your parents) the expense of buying the piano and paying for the lessons.

Lessons Once you have a piano or keyboard, the next step is to arrange for music lessons. Look for a teacher who is in the National Teachers Association or who has other accreditations. Ask other piano students who their teachers are--and whether their teachers are "good." Ask "why" other students think their teachers are good teachers because sometimes a student likes his or her teacher for the wrong reasons. For example, if your friend likes his teacher because "she doesn't make me work very hard," steer away from that teacher.

Lessons Well Spent Once you've started taking lessons, make certain your teacher is including time spent learning chords, theory, and improvisation, not just learning pieces by note. Understand that in learning the piano, you are also learning the language and history of music. It takes time and effort to learn this "foreign language" and musical understanding means more than just playing a few pieces well. True mastery of music is a lifelong process. It takes many years to become a good musician.

Commitment Remember your commitment to practice every day for at least thirty minutes or more. Your fingers will "rust" if you do not play for even a week. At first, practicing might be a pain and you might get very frustrated. As your skills grow, you will become facile and playing piano will become pure enjoyment. It's best to warm up at the beginning of every practice session with scales, warm-up exercises,and relatively easy pieces. These will stretch your fingers and hands and help you play with your hands relaxed. (When you play, you should be able to see your finger bones move. Let your hand just hang and move only your fingers.)

When Practicng When your teacher asks you to learn a hard piece, remember that it's worth the effort and will make you a much better piano player. While there are many ways to practice, here's a good one for beginners. First try to sightread the piece without worrying if you make mistakes. Then practice each hand independently. Break the music into segments and learn the right hand part. Learn segment by segment, then connect them together. Once you've mastered the right hand play through the entire piece. If you make a mistake start over from the beginning. This might try your patience a bit but it will enable you to get through the entire piece flawlessly. Once you've mastered the right hand, repeat the process with the left hand. Then, repeat the process again, this time for both hands.

A New Piece Take a new piece apart, by learning one or two measures at a time, and going over it again and again. The next day do the same thing with a few other measures, and then include the last measures and play them all, together. By practicing this way, you can spend quality time listening to how they sound, and making sure your fingers know where to go and when. Never learn an entire piece all at once.

Mistakes Try not to "learn" your mistakes. Playing the piano is an automatic process like walking (you don't think about each step you take, you just walk). Because of this, past mistakes have a tendency to come back when you play the piece later on. To avoid this, do the following: When you are learning a new piece, break it down into simple parts that you can practice without making a lot of mistakes. And play slowly. For example, practice each hand separately. After you have determined the fingering you are going to follow, play both hands together in short sections.
Eventually put the sections together. Do not try to play at normal speed until you are secure in your fingering and notes. Then increase the speed gradually. Play the piece over and over until you memorize it and you can play fluently.

Improvisation Improvise and think notes. "Thinking notes" means that you know every single note that you're playing. While that sounds easy, it can be very hard. Play a piece that you have memorized and can play very well. Now, name every note that you played without looking at piano. Then, take a melody you've heard on TV or somewhere else and try to play it using your ear. Learn to know all the notes that you're playing. While playing by ear is good, it's a lot better if you know every note that you play.


Play pieces that you enjoy playing or pieces that you know well!

Never give up. The fingering, speed, and chords in some pieces may be frustrating and difficult, but push through it. If you get frustrated, step away from the piano for a few minutes until you are ready to play again.

The more you practice, the better you will perform.

If you're at a recital and your hands shake wildly, sit on your hands for a few minutes before you go out to play. It calms them down.

Find the right teacher! Your relationship with your teacher can affect the way you feel about practicing, so arrange for a trial period of a few weeks to find out if there's a good fit. Parents, especially--pay attention!

If you are shy, practice playing in front of your family and friends. They will enjoy it and in time, so will you.

Learning music theory is fun and is the best way to become a great musician, whether you want to play classical, jazz or pop.

Always follow the fingering on the piece (although there are certain exceptions). While some of the finger positions may feel awkward at first, following them will help you play more smoothly because you won't have to adjust your hand position because you cannot reach the next note.

Practice sight reading; it's an important skill. It will help you master a piece faster and give you more time to work.

Hand and body posture are very important. Slouching gives a bad impression and having a bad hand posture will be counter-productive to your practice. Keep your wrists loose and your hands flexible. Keep your fingers at a natural curve, as if you were typing. This gives you more power in your finger strokes.

Listen to your notes and tune your ears to the keys' pitches. This is needed on some advanced piano tests and will allow you to impress your friends by playing blindfolded!

Don't be afraid to really hammer out those notes in that triple forte section (fff). Just make sure you don't slip on the notes. Put some passion into it! Any kind of music is worthy of your passion.

Do not keep your foot on the sustaining pedal; it blurs your chords together and makes them sound "muddy."

It is better to play too slowly than to play too fastly when you are performing. Play evenly and with a great deal of care in your touch and you will sound professional.

Keep a regular, steady rhythm when you are playing. Just playing rhythmically makes a piece sound a lot better. Consider buying a metronome to help with this.
Play simple pieces by ear and make your own arrangements of them. This will help you to become less dependent on written music. When you are playing by ear, keep going! Do not start sections of the piece over again. If you miss a chord one time, you can practice so that you'll play it the next time. The main thing is to overcome repetition and hesitation and learn to play a piece through smoothly when you are performing it.

In addition to studying traditional chord relationships (harmony), take a class in composition and listen to as much music as you can. Community colleges offer excellent instruction in music theory, history, and composition. Playing with other people in ensembles is also an excellent idea.

Get used to the idea that some of the pianos you will be playing will not sound that good or be in perfect tune. This is one of the hazards of being a piano player--you can't carry your favorite instrument with you. Try to make the best of things when you are playing an inferior instrument. A good pianist can usually make a bad piano sound reasonably good--although some pianos are in such bad condition that you should feel free to say that you cannot play that piano.

If you want to correctly use the sustain pedal, play a chord, then before you play your next chord, quickly lift up the sustain pedal and put it back down. Whenever you change chords or play notes from a different chord, "reset" the sustain pedal.

For Medium/Advanced players, try playing through that new piece using the chords written above the grand staff. Use your left hand to play octaves and your right hand to play the chord. Start off using the first inversion of every chord, then for a challenge, limit yourself to using only one octave and trying out different inversions of chords.

Don't slack off. Sometimes it may become tedious, but keep practicing.
Don't be nervous at recitals. Just play your piece. Don't worry about how you look. Pay attention to the thing that really counts -- how the music sounds!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How to Add Piano Chords to any Melody

Chords can come unexpectedly and rapidly and most of them are indeed complicated to pronounce or intimidating to most people. The sad part is that this is often not true. Chords are really fun and usually add color and expression to everything.

If there are two hands doing different things (usually) th left hand is taking care of the chords. For experimentation purrposes or for coordination development or what is also known in some songs is that the right hand takes care of the chords.
If chords are known, most common chord progressions can be used for a wide range of songs. I-V (the first major or minor chord and the fifth major chord of the scale) are used. So if I was in the scale or key of c, m chords would be c major (or minor) and G major.
When playing chords with the melody for just one hand, it is necessary to consider that chords are highly dependant on what melody notes are being used and so a fine understanding of theory is needed. Generally, if for example the notes of the melody are (on the key of c) g, f, e or d, and the left hand is on the fifth chord, the notes b, d, g, or f can be used interchangeably. Chord inversions are used when the chords on the song do not change. Thus, depending on what notes are used (g or a) then the second inversion of the c chord would accompany this group. If the notes are b thorugh d, then the fundamental or root position of the chord is used. If, however, the higher notes (e, f, or sometimes g) are used, the first inversion is played.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How to Write a Song for Piano

Play around on a piano. Use different chords and find a correct rhythm. If you don't want a completely accurate composition, create a song randomly without a firm beat. If you do want a rhythm, you are better off using a metronome, these can keep you too the correct beat whilst telling you what the time is.

Create a blank music score by just using a ruler. Draw five lines, then another set of five lines below for your left hand. If you download it or draw it. Your score should look like the image provided.
Play slowly the piece of music you have played on your piano again, and write down each note on the score. A standard one beat note should look like the image provided.
If you play to the left of the middle C, these notes will go in your bass clef, this is the bottom set of lines that begins with the C looking shape.
If you play to the Right of the Middle C, they will go on your treble clef lines.
The length of notes are written differently, and need concentration, but once you have got the hang of it, it'll become easy. A Link for lengths of notes is in the Tips box.


listen to a song that you like and steal one or two chords out of this if you can't think of your own chords. for exmaple, my fave song is boulevard of broken dreams, i want to take the the first chord out of the chorus, and find some other songs with chords that i like. get the point?

be creative

Try not to clash notes together if you are writing a song that will have words, such as for a band. If it supposed to be a death song that an emo would make up, make it clash. it adds a sense of "this is so bad sounding that it sounds like people dying" if you are an emo, as said before, you may want to take this route.

Make a beginning part, then a second part that is alost completely different but has the same feel about it, chorus, and a bridge (turning point) the order of these things should go as so... 1st...chorus...2nd...chorus...bridge...chorus (on some occasions you may want to use the chorus twic in the very end after the bridge.)