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 www.Free-Easy-Piano-Lessons.com

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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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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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


Merry Christmas!

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Merry Christmas!


“O Christmas Tree” is certain a fun classic that has stood the test of time (When I think of this tune, I reflect on those Peanuts characters:))…

I just played this tune a few nights ago at a Christmas party I was asked to play at. It’s recognized by everyone…

The following link will offer you complimentary music for this popular tune (please print it out for your own enjoyment)…

Also, I hope you’ll consider taking advantage of the new video session I just created that corresponds to that music. I wanted this to be able to be played by people of all levels, so the version we’ll be discussing offers you an opportunity to have fun with this classic, whatever level you are at…

Visit Here

To The Beginning Piano Student: A Little Food For Thought

Sarasota Piano Lessons: Getting Started

Is This Preventing You From Starting Piano Lessons?

Getting started with piano lessonsAre you a soon to be a beginning piano student who is reluctant to take that first step because you’ve allowed certain reservations to get in your way? Though this doesn’t apply to every person out there, it does ring true with so many people that it warrants being acknowledged…

Often times, the individual thinking of starting learning the piano is confronted with mental images of tedious work that must be endured in order to enjoy the benefits. Thoughts of having to learn and play endless scales and exercises congest the imagination to the point of causing the ambition to face an impasse even before the new hobby has a chance to even breath.

So, is it really true? Do you have to put up with the drudgery of all those painstaking exercises before even being able to enjoy the benefits of having fun playing a favorite song? Do you need to learn how to read all those notes before you can start having fun on that piano or keyboard of yours? Should you really think twice before getting started with those lessons due to the fact that the demands at the beginning will be great enough to discourage someone who simply wants to have fun making music at those keys?


Although it may be true that certain traditional piano instructors have an agenda they expect their students to follow, these are often the same teachers who are quick to witness some of those students quitting after a few short weeks (if they last that long). It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no legitimate reason that the fun shouldn’t start from the very beginning.

The right teacher for you will make your time invested in lessons an experience that’s nothing short of fun. Let’s face it… if you’re not enjoying yourself, your incentive to continue is likely to fade pretty quickly. The truth is that it isn’t any more necessary to learn all those fundamentals before you can have fun making some music than it was necessary that you learned your entire alphabet and learned how to spell a certain number of words before you exclaimed as a child that you were hungry. Seriously, your first words were spoken well before you knew how to spell what you were saying. But that didn’t stop you from getting your message across, did it? Now you are starting to get the picture.

If you have even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for exploring your musical potential, even if it’s something you want to pursue as a hobby (a terrific reason!) without placing heavy demands on yourself, then go for it. As long as you have your expectations in perspective and are able to commit to have fun with your adventure regardless of the circumstances, hooking up with a piano teacher who can respect that attitude and is willing to show you how to enjoy the learning experience can undoubtedly lead you to making a decision you’ll be happy about.

To get started with piano lessons in Sarasota or to simply learn more, visit Pianocadabra

Don’t put it off any longer. Have fun making music!


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The Gift Of Music – The Perfect Time

Reserve now for January piano lessons and your registration fee will be completely waived! In addition, reduced rates for half hour lessons are in effect if you act now. Take advantage of this temporary promotion. Happy holidays!

Sarasota Piano Lessons: Fall Schedule Signups

Sarasota Piano Lessons Registration

Sarasota Piano LessonsIt’s a good time to reserve your preferred time slot for piano lessons, especially if you are looking to book a lesson time for your youngster during the week after school hours. Prior to registering, you have the option of scheduling a trial lesson online instantly. Doing so places you under no further obligation to continue. This gives you an opportunity to get to know your teacher and present any questions or concerns. Currently, you can take $10 off the price of a trial lesson by visiting here. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. Your questions will be given the undivided attention they deserve.

We offer piano lessons for adults as well as kids. Whether you are an absolute beginner who has never even sat at a piano keyboard before, a performer who is interested in polishing your skills, or somewhere in between, you are welcome here! We take a very creative approach when it comes to learning piano and that will be evident before long, as you continue your musical journey.

If you are wondering when our lessons take place during the week, we offer time slots by appointment only, generally from 12pm to 8pm. However, special arrangements can be made in certain cases, so do not hesitate to inquire.

We get a number of people inquiring about what genres they can look forward to playing as they continue. Actually, you will be connecting with a piano teacher with over 30 years experience teaching a variety of styles. So, when it comes to keeping things interesting by “mixing it up” a bit, you’re at the right place. Whether your interest is pop, jazz, classical, or other styles, you will be able to explore your potential.

We look forward to hearing from you and serving you throughout the coming weeks and months ahead!