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What are Keys: Learning About Chords

What are Chords and How Can They Help Us Learn About Keys? Chords have been a staple device in the music of the Western world for, well, a long time. Prior to the Baroque Period (approx. 1600—1750, the musical era of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi), European music was generally based on linear material, that is to say, on melody. Harmonies, the likes of which we might think of as chords or chord progressions, were the result of multiple melodic lines woven together. The Baroque Period witnessed the rise in popularity of a simple and effective manner of providing accompanists with … 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 conversation begins with them remarking, “You’re taking music lessons? Nice. Yeah, I took some piano lessons when I was younger. I really liked it, but I wasn’t really 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 … 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 it really mean to be “in the key” of something? As beginners, we learn that it in some way refers to the number of sharps or flats (accidentals) we encounter at the beginning of a piece. We learn that this key signature indicates which notes … 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 14,400 times… with sixteenth-notes 28,800 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: A Beginner’s Practice Guide

Learning piano is a rewarding challenge, but where do you begin? And how do you practice? And why? This article provides a comprehensive practice guide to answer these questions and help you get started on the right track. The eight tips discussed here will help you effectively improve your piano skills. Tip 1: Mental Practice Why? Learning a piece of music away from the piano can drastically improve the efficiency of your practice sessions. Studying away from the piano, or mental practice, will help you keep a clear goal in mind when you practice and you will more likely avoid … 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

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

Tips to Ensure Your Piano Tuning is Up to The Mark

There are piano tuners and then there are piano technicians, also known as piano doctors or piano surgeons. Anyone can tune a piano with today’s technology, and virtually anyone can advertise themselves as a piano tuner. Neither piano tuners nor piano technicians go to four year universities to get their training like most other professions. So, what exactly is the difference between a piano tuner and a piano technician and who do you want working on your piano? A piano has over 3000 parts. Tuning the piano is rather minor when you consider this. A piano tuner does one thing, … Read more