Why Clap Rhythms?

Have you ever been asked to clap the rhythms you find in your music? It might seem like a strange thing to do (especially when considering that your goal is to get better at your chosen instrument) but it’s a common recommendation you’ll find in the musical world. As it happens, clapping your rhythms is one of the most beneficial things you can do when first learning a piece of music. Let’s look at some key points addressing why it’s worth it to clap your rhythms. It’s Great for Learning Rhythms Starting right at the heart of the matter: clapping … Read more

How to Count 8th Notes and 16th Notes

Music needs different kinds of note values to have different kinds of rhythms. Combining a variety of different note values provides a wealth of options for different rhythms, and knowing how to count these different note values is an essential skill for musicians hoping to improve their rhythmic understanding.  Larger note values (such as whole notes, half notes, and quarter notes) can be quite simple to count, while smaller note values (such as 8th notes and 16th notes) can be more challenging, and require a bit more experience. In this article we’ll give you a short and clear method for … Read more

The Difference Between Dots in Music

Musical language possesses a variety of different dots that work in a variety of different ways. Some dots are related to the specific lengths of notes values, while others have to do with how notes are articulated. Knowing the distinction between the function and appearance of different dots is a common source of confusion. In this article we’ll briefly introduce and explain the different kinds of dots you might encounter in music.  Staccato Dots and Augmentation Dots Above you see two notes with two different kinds of dots attached to them: one is a staccato dot, and the other is … Read more

How to Get Back to Practicing Piano

A very common backstory I hear as a piano teacher goes something like this:  “I started taking piano lessons when I was young, stuck with it for a while and got pretty good, but ultimately had to give it up as life started getting busier. Now I’m older, and have a little more time, but I don’t really know how I should get back to practicing…” In a way, coming back to piano practice after a long hiatus can be harder than when you first started. Especially if you started young, the goal would have been simply to learn as … Read more

What are Tuplets?

Rhythm is one of the most essential features governing how music sounds. Rhythmic variety creates depth and excitement in music, and many styles and genres of music are at least partially defined by the specific rhythms they use. To quickly review rhythms – rhythms are a combination of two things: the beat and note values. The beat is the constant pulse that underlays the majority of the world’s music, and note values are the different lengths of notes that are joined to create different rhythms against that beat. The most common note values we usually consider (whole notes, half notes, … Read more

What’s the Difference Between Ties and Slurs?

There are two different kinds of curvy lines in music notation – ties and slurs. Both look very similar on the page, but they do very different things – knowing how to recognize which is which is essential for avoiding confusion when practicing.  Fortunately, there are some very clear distinctions between how ties and slurs appear in music notation. Ties Ties connect notes to other notes to create longer note values. They are the only way to combine note values across barlines, and are valuable for offering a broader range of rhythmic combinations in general.   Slurs A slur is … Read more

How to Play Hanon

Practicing “technical” exercises is one of the best ways to improve your physical ability to play the piano. Learning technical exercises is all about working on one or two specific skills at a time to more efficiently boost your overall technique. Practicing technical exercises helps make learning pieces of music easier in the long run.  As with many instruments, the piano world has some staple technical exercises you’ve probably heard of: scales, arpeggios, trills, and so on. In fact, a large number of exercise books aim to diversify and expand upon these technical basics. Among these collections, the most famous … Read more

Easy Piano: 10 Easy Movie Themes

There are lots of articles out there claiming to contain “easy” piano pieces; some of them are good, others not so much, and many try to grab you with big famous piece names like “Claire de lune” or “Für Elise,” even though neither of these pieces are anywhere close to easy…    Here at Liberty Park Music we decided to put together an article series showing off satisfying, well-constructed repertoire and arrangements that actually fall into the “easy” category for different difficulty levels. Some of these pieces may not be familiar to you, but they’ve been hand-picked for being fun … Read more

How to Play Piano Arpeggios

Arpeggios are some of the most common musical figures played at the piano. They are frequently used to give shape and movement to the harmonies in many styles of piano music. Knowing how to play scales, chords, and arpeggios is the core of a pianist’s basic technical skills. What are Arpeggios? “Arpa” is the Italian word for “harp,” and the word arpeggio is derived from the Italian term, “arpeggiare,” which means, “to play on a harp.” As with the harp, the piano is an instrument of many notes that are playable by individual fingers. Playing these notes in the configuration … Read more

Why Use a Metronome?

A metronome is a device that emits regular clicks or beeps in a constant beat (or pulse). The clicks of a metronome are measured in “beats-per-minute,” meaning that the speed of the metronome is set by choosing how many beats (or clicks) should happen within a minute. For example, you might set a metronome to 90 beats-per-minute (or 90bpm), and that’s how many clicks the metronome would emit within a minute. More beats-per-minute equals a faster click speed, while less equals a slower click. You are probably already familiar with one speed – 60bpm means 60 clicks per minute, one … Read more