Play Piano Today With Dr. J

Posts Tagged ‘learn songs on the piano

I hope my piano students learn

How to choose a piece of piano music
How to work through a piece of music
How to find “the music” in a particular piano piece
Choosing an appropriate piece of music can be difficult for an adult pianist. Adults have definite ideas about the music they want to learn.  They are musically literate, they listen, they search the Internet, they buy music, they share music, and they find pieces they want to play now!  It is my job to help them discover the beauty in pieces that are within their technical capabilities.

Once the piano piece or pieces are chosen, it is then my task to help them expediently work through the chosen music.  To look for patterns, to work out fingerings, to assist with note reading skills and to make the learning of the piece a constant pleasure.

Once the notes are in place and the piano piece is beginning to take shape, I help my piano students discover the music in the music.  To play the piece more from an emotional perspective then simply an intellectual viewpoint.  We look at dynamics and nuances of phrases and rhythms.  We look for ways to be creative with the black dots on the page and ways to free themselves from the strictures of simply obeying the written symbols when learning to play the piano.

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Every productive piano practice session is composed of several things.  First, each practice session should have a specific goal in mind.  Is that goal to be able to play a specific cadence of a repertoire piece successfully or to work out an intricate rhythm, or to practice technique only with exercises and scales or to work on memory?  The possibilities are endless, but every piano practice session should have a goal.

Once the goal is set, make sure you know how the finished passage or exercise, or cadence will sound.

Second devise a piano practice plan.  Determine how much time you will spend on specific activities or when you will let yourself move to the next challenge.

What methods will you use?  How will you get to your goal – by using a metronome, by practicing rhythms away from the keyboard, by playing short sections, or by working on fingering?

Determine how you will know when you are finished for the piano practice session.  Has the timer run out or are you finished when you are tired or when you have accomplished your goal.

Answer those questions and your piano practice sessions will be a sucess and it will be a joy to make music on the piano.

I have the privilege of teaching a wonderful group of adult piano and organ students on a weekly basis.  Some of my students are beginners, some are intermediate and some are advanced.  The reasons they are taking piano lessons vary.  Some of the adult piano students are taking lessons to enhance and broaden their skills, some are learning pedagogical techniques, some are studying theory and others are learning to play the piano simply for pure pleasure and enjoyment.

Each of these students brings to their piano lessons a variety of joys, challenges, needs and desires.  I have to but listen to them and to their playing to gain a wealth of information.  So, what do I learn every week from my piano students?  Patience, perseverance, fortitude, determination, discovery, happiness, pride, knowledge and wisdom.  How wonderful it is to be a teacher of piano.

Speaking from personal experience, I would much rather play for a live audience then have a recording made of my piano performance. Something about turning on a recording device puts my nerves on edge a bit.  My mind keeps turning over the fact that the recording can be heard again – and again – and again, whereas a live performance is heard once and gone.  It is but a memory in my mind.

I have, however, found the recording of my piano practice sessions at once eye or ear-opening and productive.  Oh, and did I mention, humbling?  In my undergraduate days I carried with me to nearly every practice session a cassette recorder.  I practiced in what I thought was a careful and diligent manner, then recorded my efforts hoping to match what my mind told me I had just mastered.

Often the recorded “performance” of that practice session’s goals was in reality far from the lofty piano sounds my mind had created.  That little recorder, though, did not discourage but encouraged me.  I continued practicing the piano and worked to discover more creative ways to shorten the practice time needed. Finally I heard in reality what my mind had been playing long before the fingers could create the sound on the piano.

What does a person need to become a pianist?  A piano and a desire to play?  Or is there more to it than that?

Definitely a keyboard instrument is a necessity.  Having an instrument on which to develop your skills and share your music is a must if a person is to become a pianist.

Having a method to study and a teacher to guide you are also important.

However, most everything else that allows a person to become a pianist is intrinsic.  These are values that come from inside a person.  We will say that the first intrinsic value, the innate desire is there to become a pianist, but what else is necessary?

Ability
Attention to detail
Drive
Effort
Goal Orientation
Passion
Patience
Perseverance
Time
Understanding

To understand what it takes to become a pianist a person must take the journey in his or her own way, using his or her own abilities, fulfilling his or her own dreams, passions and desires with effort, patience and perseverance in his or her own time.

Visit Play Piano Today With Dr. J if you are ready to start the piano playing adventure.



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  • freeonlinemusiclessons: Hey nice blog. I just picked up you RSS FEEDS. Check out my new website, you’ll like it! http://freeonlinemusiclessons.com
  • bhundley1: I'm interested in your elaborating on the "fingering" aspect of practice. Are you a fan of Czerny, for instance, in terms of building up dexterity wi
  • promotionmusic: Thanks for your response. Congratulations to you on the work you are doing in the piano world.

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