What are Keys: Learning About Chords

What are Chords and How Can They Help Us Learn About Keys? It starts off by being just a thing you do, and why wouldn’t you? For piano or guitar—for pretty much any instrument on which you can easily play lots of notes at the same time, really. Whether you see it in the music you’re learning or try it out of pure curiosity, at some point you’re going to do it…. You’re going to play a chord. Chords have been a staple device in the music of the Western world for, well, a long time. Prior to the Baroque … Read more

What are Keys: Learning about Scales

What are Scales and How Can They Help Us Learn About Keys? Have you ever had conversation with someone about their bygone days of learning a musical instrument? Often the story goes: “You’re taking music lessons?” Nice. Yeah, I took some piano lessons when I was younger. I really liked it, but I really wasn’t any good. Think I learned Fur Elise and some Mozart and, you know, did scales and stuff…” It seems we’ve all heard of–or practiced–scales at some point. In terms of learning our instruments, practicing scales serves as an accessible method for improving our technique and … Read more

What are Keys and Why Should We Know About Them?

In the Key of… “In the key of…” — we rarely get far into our musical endeavors before we find ourselves faced with this phrase. Minuets in the key of G, Sonatas in the key of A, Nocturnes in the key of E minor, Fugues in the key of F#, and so on. But what does being “in the key of ” something really mean? As beginners, we learn that it in some way refers to the number of sharps or flats (generally referred to as accidentals) we encounter at the beginning of a piece. We learn that this key … Read more

Ultimate Injury Prevention: How to Gain Body Awareness for Pianists

Piano playing requires extremely repetitive muscle movements. For example, if you play quarter notes consistently at 120BPM, after an hour, the repetition will require your muscles to contract and release 7,200 times…with eighth-notes 144,000 times… with sixteenth-notes 288,000 times! This many muscle movements add a lot of stress to your body and there is a high risk of injury if you do not pay attention to your physical needs. Musicians need to take care of their bodies, just like athletes do. Sadly, however, most of us do not listen to our body until we experience pain or discomfort. Take some … Read more

How to Practice Piano Effectively: A Comprehensive Practice Guide for the Busy Adult Pianist

You’ve said it before, “I am going to finally learn how to play the piano!” You were so excited and motivated. But after a full day of working, exhausted, you thought: “I’ll practice piano tomorrow…”  A day passed, a week passed, and a month passed… Before you know it, your books were collecting dusts and you couldn’t even remember where you are in the method book. This is very a common phenomenon for adult pianists. Learning piano as an adult can be challenging; with a full-time job, taking care of the family, household chores….your day is already jam-packed with a … Read more

10 Most Influential Jazz Pianists You Should Listen to

The number of truly wonderful pianists is astounding. There are countless innovative and unique artists that have taken composition and performance to new heights. It can be easy to get discouraged with your own playing in the face of such greatness, but I’d like to point out that there is one thing every great pianist has in common, regardless of time period or style – they all were inspired by and influenced by those who came before them! When I first started learning to play piano, I only played and listened to classical music. I wasn’t exposed to jazz until … Read more

Bach’s Favorite Piano Practice Exercises

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is one of the most famous composers of all time, and since his death, nearly all serious pianists have studied his works, which are seminal examples of the artistic style that was popular during the Baroque period. The Baroque period is known for its increased complexity and ornamentation in comparison to the artistic movements that preceded it. In Bach’s case, he helped to expand upon and codify a number of musical concepts that are ubiquitous today, like modulation (moving from one key center to another key center) and counterpoint (multiple voices with their own individual melody … Read more

10 Easy Yet Impressive Piano Pieces to Charm Your Audience

“Hey, don’t you play piano? Play something for us!” Even for longtime pianists, these two sentences can be frightening! Everyone wants to play something impressive and exciting to show off all of their talent, but a lot of pianists—even those who have been studying for years—don’t know what to play when they get the chance! If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in a similar situation thinking, “What should I play? I don’t remember how to play anything!” It’s important for all musicians to have at least a few pieces in their metaphorical “toolbox” at all times. As you … Read more

Getting Started with Bach – 6 Key Pieces for Beginner Pianists

Getting Started with Bach Few composers from history inspire awe and veneration quite like Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). The ability to play Bach is a goal aspired to by players the world over. However, Bach’s work provides a unique challenge for budding keyboardists, due in large part to its use of a stylistic mode of compositional design known as counterpoint. A predominant feature of music during the historical period known as the Baroque Era (1600–1750), counterpoint treats each ‘line’ of music as an independent melody. The goal of the contrapuntal composer is to weave together multiple lines to create a … Read more

How to Play Musical Notes on the Guitar Using the Keyboard

Before you start playing any instrument, a little bit of music theory is helpful and necessary. This article will give you a basic understanding of musical notes. To explain musical notes, we’ll take a look at notes on a keyboard because it nicely lays out the notes in two categories—white keys (natural notes) and black keys (sharps and flats)—and, as you move from the left side of the keyboard towards the right side, presents keys from low to high. White Keys vs. Black Keys (Natural Notes vs. Sharp and Flat Notes) As you can see, there are white keys and … Read more