Piano Lessons In Sarasota, Florida – Pianocadabra

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Practicing Piano: How’s It Going?

Practicing Piano: A Guaranteed Positive Experience

Practicing PianoPracticing piano should be a positive experience – always! Does this mean that your practice sessions should always be easy? Well, not really. But what is it that determines whether any given practice session will be a successful one or not?

Plain and simple, it’s your mental attitude. Your mindset when practicing the piano will make all the difference in the world. How you think and feel during your practice sessions is the number one factor responsible for your time at those keys being effective or not.

By “positive,” does this mean it will always be easy? No. But, then again, do you want it to be? When you consider the fact that making progress at anything involves having obstacles to overcome, does it make sense that a challenge should be something to shy away from? The question is, what is your attitude toward challenges? If practicing were always easy, then why would it be called “practice” to begin with? Does this make sense? Learn to be grateful for your challenges. How about adopting an attitude of gratitude for those challenges. Now, that’s powerful!

As an example, let’s say that you are practicing a passage in a piece of music that has your fingers “frazzled and dazzled.” Sure, you want to get it right but this particular segment of the music has proved itself to be challenging, to say the least. How are you responding to it? Are you reacting with frustration? As you are working through this musical passage, are you doing so with an “I can’t wait for this to be over!” type of attitude? Or, instead, are you grateful that the challenge is there since it’s a given that, once you’ve successfully mastered it, you’ll be a better pianist for it?

Which of those two attitudes is likely to bring you the better rewards? Of course, you know the answer. You see, if you can learn to be grateful for what’s in front of you, you open yourself up to a whole new way of handling challenges. You open yourself up to approaching situations from more angles. Your creativity will emerge. Before you know it, you’ll have not only mastered that particular passage of music, but you’ll also have learned to appreciate yourself more. You’ll also have respect for your ability to effectively deal with any matter at hand from a much more creative, intelligent perspective.

If you make it a habit to maintain this kind of mindset when it comes to practicing the piano, your entire view of yourself and your musical world will inevitably change for the better. You’ll find that enjoying yourself at that piano or keyboard of yours is never contingent on what the task at hand happens to be. Instead, the joy you experience each and every time you sit down to practice will be guaranteed.

Adult Piano Lessons: A Special Message

Adult Piano Lessons In Sarasota

Adult-Piano-Lessons-SarasotaWhen looking into adult piano lessons, a “one size fits all” situation doesn’t likely exist. Although most or all music learning studios will welcome your business, not all of them are likely to provide you with the kind of attention you might be looking for.

A significant number of studios will try to have you follow the same type of agenda that their younger students are required to adhere to. On the surface, this may not seem so bad. But the real challenge comes into play when you’ve discovered that, after investing your hard earned dollars into several weeks or months of lessons, the rewards just don’t seem to be there. Although it’s true that having some patience while learning certain fundamentals in a step by step fashion is conducive to moving ahead toward bigger and better things, is it necessary for adult piano lessons to be as tedious and slow-moving as many teachers make them?

Actually, no…

If you have found yourself in such a situation or know of someone who has, it’s likely due to that fact that this particular teacher was schooled in a fashion that led him or her to being comfortable with one certain way of instructing. Whether you were a 7 year old, 20 year old, or a 70 year old, the material that you were going to be presented with was going to be the same. We’re not here to minimize any teacher’s accomplishments. However, when it comes to knowing (or admitting) their limitations with dealing with certain students effectively, there is some room for improvement out there in the marketplace.

For example, suppose you are a 55 year old who never played a note of music in your life. You show up for your first piano lesson and there you are with the book you just purchased turned to page 1. It’s time to learn what a G is on the piano. You see it on the keyboard. You see it on the staff. You play it. Before you know it, the lesson’s almost over and you’re feeling like you recall you did when you were in kindergarten or 1st grade. On and on it goes for several weeks. Maybe you’re almost half way through the book and the teacher’s got you learning this 8 measure song called “Song For The Birds” (pun intended). Perhaps you’ve learned a few rudiments in addition to learning how to hold your hands on the keyboard after some months but when you really stop and consider what you’ve been through, your initial reason for getting started with piano lessons never got satisfied. In other words, you’re just not having fun.

You might be surprised by just how many adults who initially have aspirations to have fun at the piano simply give up based on such an experience. Had they connected with someone more “in tune” (pun intended again) with their needs and desires, they just might be enjoying a lifestyle that is balanced off with having fun at those keys.

So, if you’ve ever asked yourself if there really is a better way, the answer is yes. For those considering adult piano lessons that are truly geared toward you enjoy yourself at that piano or keyboard of yours in a manner that is more in line with your current goals, visit here for a message that has been especially prepared for you.

Yes, there is hope for you. Not only that but you can be confident in knowing that you do indeed have what it takes to have fun making music at the piano. All you may need is just the right coach to help you do just that.

Enjoy the journey that you’re about to take part in. It truly is filled with rewards that will include you making more and more positive discoveries about your personal potential to have fun making music!

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Learn Pop Piano

Learn Pop Piano In Sarasota, FL

Pop Piano Lessons

The reasons for people wanting to engage in piano lessons vary widely. Many aspire to learn pop piano, jazz piano, or classical. Some do not have any preconceptions of what they will be playing. Rather, they might simply have references of others playing the piano and it seemed like an interesting thing to do. Whatever the reason for getting started, it’s a good one because, let’s face it, having fun learning to make music at the piano are sure to bring with it satisfying rewards.

Of course, if a person does have a particular focus on, say, learning to play pop piano songs at the piano, it only makes sense to connect with a teacher who will eventually be able to lead that individual down that path. If you would like to learn how to play pop piano and you go to a person who is trained to teach classical piano, then you might be faced with some disappointment at some point in the journey. Sure, any competent piano teacher can help you learn to read sheet music but keep in mind that if learning to play note-for-note what you read exclusively will limit your musical potential. Remember, when it comes to popular song sheet music, getting it to sound like you would like it to will more than likely involve you knowing how to do more than play what you read. Can your average classically trained piano player or teacher help you with that? You’ll have to inquire with any particular teacher that you are considering but don’t be too surprised by what you discover by investigating.

Playing pop piano is an art form in itself. It involves thinking and playing “outside the box” and being equipped with certain creative skills that can make a song really come alive. What most people do not know is that, although those teachers have specialties in their own right, the majority of piano instructors that you will be exposed to at that local music lesson studio do not have a clue as to how to go about playing in this fashion. Therefore, it only makes sense that they are not prepared to teach others how to do it.

When it comes to playing pop piano songs and really enjoying yourself in the process, you’ll want to learn how to tap into the depths of your creative ability. Who would be better to show you how to do that than one who knows how from personal experience? At Pianocadabra, you can look forward to a well-balanced, wholesome approach to learning how to play piano, including how to read and interpret music, how to embellish melodies, how to improvise, and more. If you have an area of preference that you would like to focus on more, you know that you’re in touch with a resource who can guide your efforts toward reaching your goals. Pianocadabra is the people’s choice in Sarasota when it comes to having fun learning to play piano. Inquire today about getting started with lessons now!

Learn To Improvise On Piano

Learning To Improvise On Piano: When Is The Right Time?

Improvise On Piano“I want to learn how to improvise on piano.”

Walk into almost any local music studio that offers piano lessons, make that request, and have fun with the reaction you’re likely to be faced with. By mentioning the word “improvise,” you’ve just automatically disqualified the majority of prospective teachers you’ll meet. It’s just fact: piano teachers can’t teach what they aren’t aware of how to do.

A popular response to such a request goes something like this: “You’re not ready for that. That’s down the road a bit.”

If you’re willing to accept a prospective piano teacher’s remark like that, just be warned: that road is likely to be a very long one. You see, just by presenting this desire of yours to the average teacher, you’ve scared them a little. It’s not something he or she has experience with. Just hearing the word “improvise” might cause that teacher to inwardly cringe. It’s unfortunate that the lack of know-how on behalf of a teacher can lead to that kind of deviation and misrepresentation.

A teacher with his or her integrity in tact will be honest with you. If that person is being truthful with you, the response you get might be, “I never learned to improvise and I don’t know the first thing about teaching someone how to do that. I recommend you find someone who is qualified.” But are you likely to hear that? Unfortunately, the ego gets in the way too much of the time, even to the point of misleading a student or parent into thinking that improvisation is for “the more advanced.”

The truth is that a person’s journey learning to improvise on piano can start from Day 1. That’s right. If your teacher has an approach that is conducive to your learning to play piano creatively, your first lessons will be used to set you on the right path. Your learning to improvise will be part of the agenda if: 1) It is something you are interested in doing; 2) Your teacher has what it takes to guide you properly.

Yes, when it comes to how most traditional piano teachers function, the paradigm is: learn to read what the page of music dictates and play it (and perhaps memorize it).

There is certainly nothing wrong with learning to read music. Actually, it should be part of a well-balanced plan. Learning to read music opens the door to a whole world of music available for you to enjoy. That said, if the student’s piano education is limited to that, it’s a shame that student won’t be introduced to his or her creative ability simply because the teacher “doesn’t know how.”

Learning to improvise on piano includes many different aspects of creativity, including being able to play a variety of chord structures, voicings, rhythmic variations, melodic embellishments, and more. Wouldn’t you like to learn (or have your child learn) how to have fun at the piano in a creative fashion? Well, going to a teacher to do that who hasn’t a clue about playing creatively would be a little like going to a dentist for a new set of contact lenses.

Considering that you’ll be making a healthy investment of both your time and money, it makes sense to learn the facts about what you are getting yourself into. Asking questions of a prospective teacher will lead you to a greater understanding in advance. You’ll be better informed so that you can make a sound decision. Once you establish a connection with a piano teacher whose talent, skills, and personality are in line with your reaching specific goals, the benefits can truly be priceless.

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Practicing Piano: Shifting Gears To More Fun

Piano Lessons In  Sarasota

Practicing Piano: Make It A Joy Each And Every Day!

easy-piano-improvisation-diatonic-seventh-chordsYour time spent practicing piano should be nothing less than a positive experience aimed at fun, productivity, and self-discovery. If you are at the point where your piano practice is something you despise, then it’s time to reevaluate your situation. There is still hope.

If you are currently studying with a private instructor, it is strongly suggest that you communicate with this person, letting him/her know exactly how you feel about practicing – really invite a serious discussion about the matter.

Additionally, be honest with yourself and ask yourself what exactly it is about practicing that you are not comfortable with. Is it the material, the fact that a certain amount of time is expected of you, etc.? Once you can acknowledge this, then you can more clearly come up with a solution – again, if you are studying with someone, by all means this gives you something to go on.

A very important thing is to acknowledge one basic fact: we resist what we don’t like – now, taking this into consideration, look at this for a moment or two: you dislike practicing and you’re involved with practicing an art form that one must love in order to perform to his or her potential. It’s important to get yourself in touch with methods/strategies that will bring out the inner passion you have for music. It’s true that being stuck in a rut with practicing routines can certainly get in the way of this. That is why it is important to come up with alternate strategies.

If, for example, you dread the thought of practicing even before you get started, it is likely that you have trained yourself to dislike your time practicing from the very first minute of your practice session. If this is the case, it is strongly advised that you change how you actually start your practice session. Instead of adopting the mind set of dreading the half hour, hour, or more that you have ahead of you, concentrate on loving the very first minute or two, and don’t look ahead. Try this. Surely, there are things you very much love to play – start with something like this – get into it!! Practice with passion, as is so strongly promote in the 88 Keys to Learning program, for the next week (and longer, of course), really concentrating at making those first couple of minutes at the piano something you look forward to. You can ease into the more “serious” side of practicing, of course… but again, for now, this is so very important for you to start refreshing your relationship with the piano.

Let’s consider that again… start refreshing your relationship with the piano!

Do whatever it takes to love playing! Also, you know what works? Instead of just setting aside one super long session, try giving yourself a few two-minute sessions per day, just going to the piano, playing something you love, and then leaving it for a while. Do this again and again, constantly developing a healthier relationship with the instrument…smile, have fun, play something you enjoy, relax, take a break… at some point during the day, ease into a longer session, adding a few minutes here and there. So, perhaps you will eventually have three or four “two minute thrilling sessions” at the piano and one longer more “serious” (methodical might be a better word) approach (which should still ultimately be thrilling!) where you start off with just fun material and ease into material you want to improve.

Make every minute count! Make every minute fun! Not because you have to, but because you want to!

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Piano Lessons In Sarasota: A Very Creative Approach

Piano Lessons In Sarasota

Piano Lessons Shouldn’t Be “A Bore And A Chore”

Piano Lessons In SarasotaIt happens all too often… you sign up your son or daughter (or yourself)  for lessons and the excitement of getting started permeates the atmosphere… for a time. Then, after a few lessons, the novelty wears off, the book seldom gets opened,  the piano or keyboard rarely gets played during the week, and you’re wondering if you made the right decision…

Let’s face it. Your intentions were good. Your decision was a positive one. If the enthusiasm for learning wears off, there are other factors to focus your attention on. Blame (toward anyone) doesn’t need to be a part of the picture. But the truth is that, if the experience turned stale, it needs to be acknowledged.

Communication with the teacher is important in such a scenario. Now, that said, if things don’t change, there remains the possibility that the material being fed to the student isn’t compatible with his or her personality. A common stance that is taken when the excitement fades goes something like this: “If the student isn’t interested in doing what the teacher demands, then maybe piano lessons aren’t the way to go.”

More often than not, the authoritative role assumed by the teacher isn’t questioned. But the truth is that not every teacher is for every student. Some instructors have one basic approach. If it doesn’t work, then the responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the student, thus the conclusion being that “it can’t be the teacher.”

Yes it can.

Ask yourself one important question: Why did you see to it that those lessons were started in the first place?

Did it perhaps have something to do with having fun?

If it’s not fun, an alternative is always available. Don’t place blame on the student, whether it’s a child of yours or yourself. If the initial goal was to have the student engaged in lessons to become musically involved, to enhance his or her appreciation for music, and have music be a part of his or her life for the long term (whether or not it’s going to be their main focus in later years), then you owe it to yourself to see it through. If another teacher is in order, then do what you need to do.

Piano lessons should be fun… and spending time at that piano or keyboard at home should be fun, too.

If the incentive is there, it won’t be any effort for the student to take initiative to spend some time at the instrument every day. If that’s not happening, then it’s because he or she simply doesn’t want to. Looking at the “why” is crucial if you are indeed concerned about the best interests of your child (or you, of course!).

Pianocadabra offers piano lessons in Sarasota that are customized to the student, based on his or her individual personality and goals. Your instructor will not take on the stance, “Do it my way or forget it.” Not even close. You’ll be dealing with a teacher who genuinely appreciates the individuality of each and every student who walks through the door. The student’s personality and strengths are recognized, capitalized on, and a plan is established to see to it that the learning experience doesn’t become mundane but, rather, a vehicle to enhance self esteem, self appreciation, and creative potential.

In short, you can look forward to enjoying benefits that go beyond what one is likely to expect from the traditional piano lesson. Students at Pianocadabra learn to  understand music and create in a fashion that many teachers never do!

Click here to learn more and perhaps initiate a trial lesson so that you can experience the difference for yourself…

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Tune Your Piano: It’s A Necessity

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Tune Your Piano Regularly

Tune Your PianoAn acoustic piano can serve as a beautiful piece of furniture. However, inside of that piano is a whole world of mechanics that truly needs the proper amount of attention if you are to really enjoy the maximum benefit your instrument has to offer. Everything that should be done in terms of piano maintenance is beyond the scope of this message but one thing you ought to make sure of is that your piano gets tuned on a regular basis (unless, of course, your piano is digital/electric).

A common error some people will make is to tune their piano only when they feel it needs to sound its best. However, there is more to a piano tuning than what initially meets the eye. You see, when a piano is tuned, its strings are stretched. When those strings are stretched, their tautness actually contributes to the soundboard maintaining its curvature. Yes, a piano soundboard, although it may seem completely flat to the eye, actual has a subtle arc. You can think of a bow (as used in archery). The string keeps that bow curved. Although a piano soundboard’s arc is less obvious, it does exist. The longer a piano goes without a tuning, the greater the chances are that the soundboard will lose its structural integrity. This is a reason that some soundboards crack, which can be rather detrimental. So, you see, when you hire a piano tuner, you are actually gaining more value than just having that piano sound better.

The number of times a year your piano should be tuned can depend on a number of factors. Generally, once or twice a year is good practice when it comes to maintaining your piano properly. In addition, a regulation is also highly recommended since a piano’s mechanical parts depend on maintenance in order to perform the way they are meant to. Making the decision to hire the services of a qualified piano tuner/technician can lead to your getting the answers you need and really pay you back your investment many times over.

All too often the inside of that piano gets neglected since it is out of sight. However, if you truly want to enjoy your piano for what it really is, giving it the proper care, including having it tuned and regulated, will help ensure that it will bring you many happy returns for years and years to come.


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Buying A Piano: Is It Conditional?

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Buying A Piano Is Contingent On What?

Buying A PianoSo, you’re considering buying a piano if “little Suzy of Johnny” is serious about those piano lessons. However, it seems like a bit of a “catch 22″… you’re not sure if you should get your child involved with piano lessons because you don’t know if his/her enthusiasm and sense of commitment warrants your making such a large investment.

This is not an uncommon predicament that so many parents are faced with. However, within this dilemma can often be found the most important determining factor as to whether or not you are in for a successful experience: The commitment has become conditional right from the very beginning.

Sure, like many things, a piano can cost a pretty penny. If your investment is going put strain on the expectations of your child’s mind set, practice habits, and commitment, you will find yourself enduring the same predicament that so many other parents fall victim to. If it is made known to your child that your decision to spend that substantial amount of money on an instrument will be considered to be a “good one” or a “bad one” based on his/her conduct, you just might be dealing with an uphill battle. This approach immediately places a possible stressful scenario on those little shoulders, which really is not warranted at all. Furthermore, if that youngster is always measuring his/her performance up against your conditions, it’s very possible it will have a negative impact on the enjoyment and benefits that might otherwise be reaped if the entire situation was unconditional.

One might consider an alternative approach, one that almost guarantees a rewarding experience in the long run. If you have a television in home, how much thought went into your making the decision that it would be an integral part of your household? In this day and age, it’s pretty much a given that a television is a “necessity.” Interestingly enough, it was the invention and marketing of the television that led to the diminishing of player piano as a source of family entertainment. Prior to that, a lot more homes were complimented with a piano in the living room.

Chances are great that, from the time that you knew you were alive, a television was something you knew to be available. It was a source of entertainment that was pretty much taken for granted. A television was always a must (with few exceptions). Imagine if the same were true of the piano. If a child is born into a family and, while growing up, was always exposed to the that musical piece of furniture being available, would you say the chances exist that this youngster will at least know that having music in his/her life to some degree is always an option? Would it be necessary for that piano to be the primary focus of that child in order for his/her life to be enhanced with music, to whatever extent? One does not have to be a professional piano player any more than one has to be a professional TV watcher in order to enjoy some of the benefits it has to offer.

Piano lessons ought to be offered in the same unconditional fashion. If you have made the decision to have a piano in your home, the burden of responsibility is not on the child’s shoulders. Rather, the experience with music can be enhanced simply by allowing the youngster to become engaged with the guidance of a teacher who can nurture the child’s curiosity, interest in music, and sense of self-appreciation.

Is it possible to connect with a teacher who doesn’t have what it takes to lay the foundation so that the experience is nothing short of positive? It sure is. If that’s the case, you have options. Never base your decision on one experience with one teacher… or two… or three… find the teacher who has the desire and intuitiveness to understand your child’s personality and learning patterns. That person does exist.

Make it unconditional. The learning process does not need to be (nor should it be) a “pass or fail” experience. If your child, prior to lessons, had some curiosity and desire, then it’s up to the teacher to nurture that. Communication between the student, teacher, and parent is most conducive to the entire experience being a positive one. It’s a communicative triangle that you want to establish and allow to strengthen.

If you have enlisted a piano teacher who makes it mandatory that the student practice for at least an hour a day, for example, and your child resists that, then it’s something to talk about. If this particular student/teacher relationship isn’t going to result in your child maintaining a desire to continue having fun with music, then it might be time to move on.

There are variety of other examples that could apply and a number of variables to consider. However, if you maintain the one constant that your child will unconditionally enjoy the learning process and that music will be a part of his/her life, to whatever degree, you’ll do what it takes to make it an enjoyable scenario, one that is conducive to a lifetime enhanced with music.

Considering piano lessons?

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Jazz Piano Lessons In Sarasota

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Jazz Piano Lessons Available In Sarasota

Jazz Piano LessonsJazz piano lessons? You bet! That’s one of our specialties here at Pianocadabra! That’s right… in addition to traditional lessons, you can look forward to enjoying a more well-rounded piano education than you’ll find anywhere around here. We help aspiring players in important areas such as sight reading, interpretation, ear training, practice strategies, and more… and we focus on the genres you prefer. In addition, if improvisation is an interest of yours, you are at the right place!

We offer jazz piano lessons that focus on reading and interpreting lead sheets, modern chord theory, chord voicings, improvisation, and more! Some reader may be asking, “What is a lead sheet?” Well, traditionally, people are taught to read and play from a grand staff (treble and bass clef combined). We certainly help with that! However, a lead sheet is a piece of music that consists of only one staff that includes the melody of a song, with chord symbols above which represent the harmony to be played. A classical player who has been trained only to play from a grand staff might look at a lead sheet with confusion, not knowing what to do with it. However, a professional jazz/pop player who knows how to interpret a lead sheet considers it to be a luxury because it offers the musician “poetic license” to play a tune with his or her own personal playing style (yes, we help you develop that, too!).

Reading chord symbols and learning how to play chords in different ways is a huge part of making the most of your experience with lead sheets. Here, at Pianocadabra, you can learn about all of this. If you truly want to enjoy a well-rounded experience, learning how to read traditional music as well as lead sheets is highly recommended.

Here is an example of music written on the traditional piano staff (or grand staff):

Grand Staff






Here is an example of music written on a lead sheet:

Lead Sheet



Looking at that lead sheet, the melody, in most cases, would be played with the right hand. What is the role of the left hand? Well, actually, it has lots of freedom as long as the performer has a handle on those chord symbols above. This is a topic that warrants more in-depth discussion, of course. But you can have the confidence that we can help you along this avenue!

People of all levels join us, including beginners who have never played before, more advanced classical players who would like to enhance their playing experience with more improvisational flair, and pop and jazz enthusiasts looking to take their skills to higher levels. Whatever your reason, we welcome you and look forward to helping you realize your personal musical goals!

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