Category: Practicing Piano

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.

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!
PRACTICE WITH PASSION!

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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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Practicing Piano: Tips, Techniques, & Strategies

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Tips For Practicing Piano

Sarasota Piano LessonsWhen it comes to practicing piano, a good number of us have erratic habits. When you get right down to it, whatever the “reasons” happen to be for not practicing on a given day or at a given time, it really is a matter of priorities. Sure, things come up can lead to our deviating from our routine. However, for the most part, the fact remains that if you are doing something else during your scheduled practice time, that “something else” took precedence (we are not referring to emergencies, etc). If this seems to occur on a regular basis, you might consider taking an honest look at your motivation.

Several factors could be responsible for your enthusiasm being less than 100%. Perhaps the material prescribed to you by your teacher is not giving you enough reason to feel “sparked” enough to practice. Maybe the effort you have put into practicing hasn’t really hasn’t led to your experiencing the kind of results that are conducive to your wanting to spend the time. Whatever it is, it’s worth taking an honest look at. Communication with your piano teacher is of utmost importance, as he or she just might be able to help you look at your situation in a different light.

Wouldn’t it be neat if you had a “practice buddy” who could serve as your extra source of encouragement when you needed it? Someone who gets you to take an honest look at your enthusiasm? Someone who can provide you with some tips, techniques, and strategies for getting you to feel differently about your practicing? Well, actually, there is a program entitled 88 Keys To Learning that serves as such a “buddy.” Once a week, for 88 weeks (that’s over a year and a half!) a short message will appear in your email box with a link to a suggestion that will add a special “twist” to your piano practicing routine. Some of these suggestions will have to do with enthusiasm, some will include suggestions as to how to make your practicing time more fun and rewarding. The program is really designed to get you to think differently about your practice time. To learn more, simply visit here.

The truth is that there is always another way. It could be just a matter of how you think about a particular exercise or small passage of music you happen to be working on. If and when things get a little stale, it can help to be open to what another resource has to offer.

Practicing ought to be a fun experience. Since you have taken it upon yourself to be involved with increasing your understanding and enjoyment of the instrument, you owe it to yourself to make it an adventure, looking forward to each and every session at that piano or keyboard of yours a joy ride!

 

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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

 

Keeping Your Child Interested In Piano Lessons

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Piano Lessons: The Motivation Factor

Is Your Youngster’s Motivation For Piano Lessons At A High Level?

 

Sarasota Piano LessonsOkay, so you understand at least some of the long term benefits of providing your child with piano lessons and have made the commitment to make it happen. Since it’s been a few weeks or a few months since those lessons started, how would you rate his or her motivation for practicing on a scale of 1 to 10? Are you noticing that he or she runs to that piano or keyboard every time the opportunity arises? Or, rather, has it become a chore for you to get that little maestro of yours to spend just a few minutes at that piano keyboard a couple times a week?

If your situation is closer to the latter, then it’s very likely that something’s missing in the big picture. How’s the rapport between the piano teacher and your youngster? Have you ever been an observer at any of those lessons? Have you taken the opportunity to study the interaction between them? Does your son or daughter respond to the teacher’s suggestions in a receptive way with enthusiasm? When that’s not the case, does the teacher seem cognizant of the student’s lack of enthusiasm? Does this instructor seem to have a handle on the difference between what makes this student “tick” and what doesn’t?

This is an issue worthy of your attention. It’s more than a matter of your getting your money’s worth for those piano lessons, although we are not minimizing the importance of that. What’s more crucial is the long term affects of your child’s experience with those lessons. At a young age, your son’s or daughter’s perspective of engaging in new things such as piano lessons or any other hobby is most probably going to have a significant impact on future endeavors. If he or she is investing a number of weeks or months in lessons for which no genuine passion exists, consider the fact that, at his or her age, that is a significant portion of life – and your youngster is probably not going to forget it. That’s why you may be able to recall more than just one instance of a fellow adult sharing a childhood piano learning experience with statements like, “I took lessons as a child but it wasn’t for me” or “My piano teacher didn’t think I had what it took to play piano or “I didn’t enjoy my piano lessons because my teacher was too strict” or some other words that reflected an unfavorable experience.

That said, doesn’t it make sense that, while your child is involved with piano lessons (for however long), the experience should be nothing less that a positive one? Remember this: the feelings that your child associates with those lessons will have an absolute impact on the feelings he or she experiences while exploring other avenues as well. For this reason, your role and interaction with both your child and the piano teacher is a significant one. Also keep in mind the truth that it’s not just piano your child is learning. Your son or daughter is learning (and teaching himself or herself) how to respond to challenges while nurturing a love for music, and anything else you can think of that includes one-on-one correspondence with a teacher of any kind. That’s why it’s most important that the right teacher be selected.

A most important suggestion is to simply pay attention to what’s going on. Leaving the matter completely up to the teacher and your youngster just might miss the mark when it comes to your assuming the best role that you possibly can. Do what you can to nurture that triangle of communication between your child, the teacher and yourself. By doing so, you are likely to learn quite a bit yourself.  Also, the next time you’re listening to that rendition of Hot Cross Buns or Bach’s Minuet In G coming from the living room, what you hear will represent a whole lot more to you than just music to your ears!

Sarasota Piano Lessons


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Your Piano Practicing Habits: Are They Erratic?

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Practicing Piano: A Chore Or A Bore?

How’s YOUR Piano Practicing Going?

Practicing piano ought to be a joy… a delight… a privilege… something to get excited about…

What? It’s not that way for you?

Well, the truth is, it could be. Unfortunately, this is a matter that is sometimes not dealt with Sarasota Piano Lessonsin an effective way. Much of it may have to do with the communication between student and teacher. In short, if you’re not looking forward to each and every practice session at that piano or keyboard of yours with a twinkle in your eye and a feeling of enthusiasm, this is a matter that is worth taking a closer look at. In addition, it’s a matter that you should feel super comfortable talking about with your piano teacher.

By the way, whatever is being mentioned here, it applies to you if you are an adult student and it applies to your youngster if he or she is taking piano lessons. Either way, if practicing piano is not something you or your child normally gets enthused about, you can take the initiative that many students/parents do not, and that is to communicate with the piano teacher to discuss creative ways to make sitting at those keys a more enjoyable experience. Actually, this is an area where many piano teachers fall short of being effective. All too often, there’s an implied “law” that goes something like, “That’s what the teacher said so that’s how it has to be.” But what if the teacher doesn’t have much to offer in this regard? What if the teacher’s practice slogan goes something like, “I want you to practice a half hour (or whatever time duration) a day no matter what!”

How Do You Improve Those Piano Practice Habits? Begin With This

That kind of admonition might work with a few people but, really, it lacks something. This is a matter that is worth looking at with a magnifying glass. Don’t have any reservation about approaching your teacher and presenting the matter. If you have a child student, for example, who isn’t feeling inspired to go to that piano or keyboard on a regular basis, the next time you’re in the presence of his or her piano teacher, declare and ask, “The desire to practice just isn’t there. What creative ways can we discuss to get him or her more interested?”

Once you ask that question, pay really close attention to the response you get. Is there hesitancy? Does the teacher treat the question as though he or she wished you didn’t ask? Are you getting any creative solutions? If not, it might be time to consider your options. Remember, the feelings associated with practicing piano over the long haul tend to stick. Doesn’t it make sense to see to it that those feelings are great ones?

We will be touching upon this topic of practicing piano more in future messages, so stay tuned. In addition, if you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to share here.

Happy Practicing!

Sarasota Piano Lessons


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