Tag: beginning piano

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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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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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

Interpretation

Technique

Practice Strategies

Psychology of Practicing

Modern Chord Theory

Applied Theory

Improvisation

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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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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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?

No.

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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Beginning Piano Students: How To Gain Quick, Satisfactory Results

Sarasota Piano Lessons

Beginner Piano Students: You Can Fun Immediately
At That Piano Or Keyboard Of  Yours

Have Fun With Piano Chords

 

So, you’re a beginning piano student or your considering the idea of getting involved with piano lessons.  Maybe you have some questions swirling around your mind like:

“Is this going to be an uphill battle?”

“Is it really going to be all work at the beginning and no play?”

“Will I be able to do what this teacher is asking of me?”

Beginning Piano LessonsWell, as far as that last question, if you have the right piano teacher, that won’t really be a concern at all. A qualified instructor will know how to adapt to your personality and specific needs. But what about those other questions? Are you having reservations because you think it’s going to take months to even start having fun at that piano or keyboard of yours?

Actually, your piano teacher will have a lot to do with that, too.  Whether those lessons are for you as an adult student or your child, it’s a teacher’s role to make it an interesting journey. Sure, you will likely want to enjoy a well-balanced diet of “musical nutrition,” which will include learning how to read music, interpret it, acquire a certain amount of technique, and learn some theory that is conducive to a better understanding of music. However, if you have a piano instructor with a diversified background, you can be introduced to certain musical concepts along with enough technical guidance so that you can be expressing yourself in a musical fashion before very long at all.

Learning a few chords on the piano, complimented with gaining minimal technical competency, can lead to your having a ball at those keys. You want a piano teacher who is creative in this regard (if you’re going to be taught to do nothing but become a reading and playing “robot,” then you might be in for a disappointing experience, depending on your threshold for discipline). But, when you’re connected with a teacher with a strong chordal and improvisational background in music, your entire journey can be a joy ride. Isn’t that the way it ought to be, after all?

Once you become acquainted with some chords and what to do with them, you just might find yourself having a difficult time staying away from that piano keyboard (that’s a nice problem to have!). The interesting thing here? Reading music does not have to be a part of the equation. Again, yes, you’ll want to take advantage of a nice, comprehensive piano education (most likely), but you don’t have to read in order to enjoy some pretty quick results. Just think back to when you were a young child. Did you learn to read and write what you were expressing vocally first? Or, rather, did you learn to express yourself first and then learn to read and write later? Right. You get the idea. It can be the same way with music.

This is good food for thought when it comes to questioning that prospective teacher of yours (or your child’s). How fun is it really going to be? Remember, the emotions that are attached to those early experiences can and probably will have a huge impact on whether or not things are a go for the future. Connecting with a piano teacher with a diversified understanding of various musical styles will make a big difference and will most likely keep your interest going, not only in those beginning stages, but for weeks, months, and years to come.

Sarasota Piano Lessons

 

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