Category: Beginning Piano

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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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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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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Piano Improvisation: It’s About Expressing Yourself

Piano ImprovisationDid you know that the very thought of piano improvisation scares people, including many of the successful traditional piano teachers out there who have been primarily focused on learning and teaching people to read and interpret written music? Unfortunately, although these teachers have their positive traits, such teachers are not able to share something they don’t possess.

When it come to learning piano improvisation, nothing can replace the experience of obtaining the guidance of a piano instructor who knows about it, does it, loves it, and can teach it. When you’ve got the right coach, learning to improvise on piano can serve as a nice addition to a well balanced diet of “musical nutrition.” Sure it’s one thing to be able to prop up a piece of sheet music on the piano stand and play what’s you see. It’s quite another to be able to do that as well as play your own interpretation of you see, adding freshness to the music as you perform it with a creative flair.

Learning piano improvisation includes becoming familiar with a variety of strategies and techniques, in addition to understanding theory that can make everything more comprehensible. Learning from a piano teacher who has extensive experience in both performing in an improvisational fashion and coaching people along this avenue is a necessity if you truly want to discover your personal creative, musical potential.

So many people endure years and years of piano training without ever getting a glimpse of what they are capable of in the area of improvisation. A main reason for this is because there are fewer teachers who have such a background and, again, what one doesn’t have cannot be shared with others. Because this is true, it has become a misconception that learning to improvise is only for a select few of for more advanced students. Actually, an instructor who is competent along this avenue can nurture creativity in even the earliest beginner as long as the student is interested.

People have different reasons for getting hooked up with piano lessons and having a teacher whose methods are in line with those specific reasons is of utmost importance. That is why it is recommended that you ask questions of a prospective teacher prior to getting started. Some of the areas of focus that an experienced teacher will be able to demonstrate may include:

Reading Traditional Music

Sight Reading Improvement



Practice Strategies

Psychology of Practicing

Modern Chord Theory

Applied Theory


Reading Lead Sheets

Exploration of a Variety of Styles

Self Appreciation

It is true that, with some self-initiative, one can learn much about piano improvisation on his or her own and there are learning tools available to help along with that. Of course, combining such efforts with taking advantage of the guidance of a professional will prove to be of ultimate value.

If you would like to discuss this topic in further detail with a professional, please visit here. Your communication will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.

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Play Piano By Ear: Basic Fundamentals

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Playing Piano By Ear: Some First Steps

Sarasota Piano LessonsTo the uninitiated, the idea of playing piano by ear may seem a bit bizarre. However, it’s like almost anything else… when you are not familiar with what it takes, the mystery remains yet to be unveiled. Learning to play piano by ear is a process. It’s a specialty here at Pianocadabra and this process is not a painstaking one. Actually, learning to play music by ear is a natural experience and you can have a lot of fun with it. In addition, progress can actually be expedited with the right guidance and one is made aware of where the focus needs to be.

As a beginning, you can place your focus on learning to allow your ears to explore sound within a given key. For the earliest beginner, by “key” we are referring to a tonal center… or more easily understood as a group of notes on which a song is based. Specifically, let’s consider the key of C Major. If song is said to be “in the key of C Major,” that basically means that the melody and harmony of that song were created using the notes of the C Major scale. Let’s look at the notes of this C Major scale. They are:


On the piano keyboard, that looks like this:

C Major ScaleUsed with permission from

A melody (the part of the song we hear most prominently) that uses notes from this scale is said to be in the key of C Major. Now, let’s take three of those notes from this scale, specifically C, E, and G. Play those three notes together and you’re play a chord, namely the C Major chord. Please feel free to click here for a free lesson on playing major chords.

That was one chord in the key of C Major that we played. There are more. For example, the notes F, A, and C played together comprise another chord in the key of C Major, namely the F Major chord. Yes, even though we call it an “F” Major chord, the notes that make up that chord are in the scale of C Major, right? Right!

Let’s do it again… Play G, B, and D. Whalah! You’ve got the G Major chord at your fingertips! Is this chord in the key of C Major? You bet it is. The notes that comprise this chord are also members of the scale of C Major.

Up to this point, we have played three chords: C Major, F Major, and G Major.

Those are the three most important chords in the key of C Major! Do you know how many songs have been composed just using those three chords? Answer: Way to many to mention!

We have touched upon something pretty important here. If you take a look at these chords and associate them with the scale of C Major, you’ll notice that the first note of the C Major chord is the first note of the C Major scale. The first note of the F Major chord is the fourth note of the C Major scale. The first note of the G Major chord is the fifth note of the C Major scale. In terms of music theory, we can refer to these as the 1, 2, and 5 chords of the key of C Major. Roman numerals are usually used to designate these: I, IV, and V.

Play the I chord (C Major)… then the IV chord (F Major), and then the V chord (G Major)…

You have just played the I – IV – V chord progression in the key of C Major! Although you may not realize it right now, you have just taken a first major step (pun intended:)) toward playing piano by ear. You see, the I, IV, and V chords are the most important chords in a given key. For this reason, hey are often referred to as the primary chords.

Would you like to explore this concept a little more? Here is a very inexpensive guidebook that will help you to become familiar with the primary chords in any major key. It’s a huge step toward learning to play piano by ear so it’s worth becoming acquainted with it.

The next time you are sitting at your piano or keyboard, have some fun with those I, IV, and V chords in the key of C Major. Play each chord and hold it down for a bit and listen. Allow your ears to appreciate the sound of each. Don’t think much while you are doing this… don’t strain to listen… just listen.

By doing this, you have already started playing piano by ear. You may not realize it yet but you’ve just introduced your ears to one of the most important aspects of playing music by ear. As you familiarize yourself with the truth that these are the most important chords in so many songs you’ve been listening to for years, you’ll start to understand the connection!




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Getting Started With Piano Lessons: Are Excuses In The Way?

Sarasota Piano Lessons

What’s Your Reason For Not Getting Started With Piano Lessons?

Learn to play the piano with lessons that have the flexibility to fit your lifestyle and you will discover a side of you that has been screaming to make itself known. You see, it is my conviction that every single person on the face of this earth has the innate desire and ability to express himself or herself musically.

If you are wondering if learning piano is worth your time, there’s no reason to keep wondering. Erase any reservations! The benefits that go along with both playing piano and the piano learning process itself are astounding.

Am I biased? Of course I am! I’ve played piano since the age of seven and I encourage you beyond any shadow of a doubt to get involved! Yes, learn to play the piano – you will never regret it.

The rewards that will come to you during your piano learning adventure are numerous. But if I had to equate it with one idea, hmmmmmm, how could I put it?

Well… have you ever experienced a birthday party (yours) where the presents just kept coming at you? One surprise after another, increased curiosity, good cheer, feelings of appreciation for yourself and others around you, the joy of being in the spotlight… can you relate to any of this?

Well, if you never had a birthday quite like that one, allow me to light the candles for you, and let the party begin! Seriously, if you’ve even mildly entertained the idea of learning to play piano, allow me to slice the cake – the first piece is yours.

It just might help you to make this decision to learn to play the piano even faster if we put a few myths to rest once and for all… (continued)

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Learning Chords On The Piano

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Does Your Piano Education Include A Comprehensive Study Of Chords?

Sarasota Piano LessonsAre you able to recognize your basic chords that exist in the music that you are playing? Whether you are a beginner learning out of the first book of John Thompson, the fourth book of Alfred’s, or whatever method you happen to be using, when it comes to that particular song you are working on for the week, how much of that music would you say you actually understand? Let’s face it… the composer of that song had a handle on how to put it together. Thus, the question: Are you simply learning to read and play what you see? Does your piano teacher promote the idea of you looking a bit more deeply into the music so that you can understand its construction at least to a degree?

For example, when playing Fur Elise by Beethoven (whether the original or a simplified arrangement), do you recognize the “A” section of the song as being in the key of in the key of A minor, the two chords played being the I chord and the V chord, namely A minor and E7? Have you taken notice that the B section modulates to the relative major key, namely C Major? What chord members of C Major are played in that section?

Does any of that sound confusing or make no sense at all? If so, have no worries, as you have that in common with so many who have already “mastered” the piece technically. However, if you really want to develop a full appreciation for the music you are playing, a familiarity with the chords and chord progressions will certainly lead you down the path of greater understanding. Whether you are playing Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, or Billy Joel, the basic fundamentals of music exist in the music that you are playing and it makes perfect sense to approach them, at least to a degree, from the perspective of the composer.

In addition, as you gain more and more familiarity with chords and progressions, you are likely to become inspired to create some music of your own. Don’t underestimate your ability. You see, once you have a handle on how the concepts of music come together, you’ll find yourself to be in the driver’s seat and your creative juices will start to flow!

If the study of chords is very new to you, you’ll want to start out by becoming familiar with your basic triads (three-note chords) and 7th chords. In addition, start to appreciate how these chords are used together. For example a C major chord is often followed by an F major chord. Two or more chords played in succession can be referred to as a chord progression. Recognition of chords on the piano, along with how they work together, will open you to greater discoveries. Your curiosity and enthusiasm for learning more will serve as encouragement and inspiration for you to continue your adventure with a greater sense of confidence and appreciation!

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Ear Training: An Easy Process?

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Is Ear Training A Part Of Your Piano Lessons Experience?

“… Ear training should actually be something that is integrated with your other musical endeavors, rather than being thought of as an activity that you need to put aside a whole lot of time for, thus making it something you’ll potentially get tired of.

Actually, I feel that all the aspects of music should be integrated with each other during the learning process, whenever possible. I think this will become evident as you become acquainted with my approach [here].

Training your ears should by no means be a forced affair. As a matter of fact, if you try to turn it into one, you will pretty much be spinning in circles, since the results you reap will likely be contradictory to your desires. That just isn’t a smart approach. Your ears should never be strained or overworked.

So please remember: Ear training is the aim. Ear straining is not.

If you try to force ear training on yourself against your will, your brain will say, “Go bother someone else, I’m overwhelmed.” Ear training needs to be done in a playful, relaxed manner with a positive attitude, and the process should be a slow and gradual one. Ironically, your progress will be faster this way… ”

Read the full article here