Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Home Digital Piano Vs Acoustic Piano

You probably have noticed that the home digital piano has become more common than the traditional acoustic piano. The main reasons for this new preference are: affordability, portability, and variety of sounds. However, should you buy a digital keyboard or acoustic piano? Here are some differences that will help you determine which one is better for your needs.

Acoustic Piano - is one of the most complete instruments (88 keys and 8 octaves) and the most popular in the US and many other countries. A piano has hammers, strings and a soundboard and creates a natural reverberation in the room where it is played. With an acoustic piano you can develop a better technique and dynamic performance than with a digital piano.

Home Digital Piano - it's an electronic device that reproduces piano sounds through speakers. These sounds have a very high quality, and unless you're a highly trained musician, you won't be able to distinguish them from those of an acoustic piano. These sounds range from four to eight octaves. If you're planning to study music more seriously, we recommend at least six octaves. A home digital piano has many advantages. For instance, it allows you to:

o Produce many other sounds, such as harpsichord, organ, flutes, strings, etc.
o Get accompaniments such as rock, swing, rumba, etc., with a built-in rhythm unit
o Record your performances and interact with other electronic music (MIDI).
o Learn a songs or lessons by playing lit keys rather than reading music
o Save on tuning fees. Never needs tuning.
o Use headphones for private practice.
o Move it if necessary due to its low weight.
o Connect it to your computer and run one or more 'software synthesizers'.

Disadvantages: With a digital keyboard, you don't have the tone and touch of a traditional piano, or the same ability to convey the subtle emotion and feeling in your music. An acoustic piano holds its value better and last longer than a digital piano. Finally, a digital piano keyboard, like all electronic devices, eventually becomes obsolete.

That being said, digital pianos have improved considerably over the years. You'll notice that the modern models can almost replicate the touch and feel of the traditional acoustic piano. The most important factors you should consider before deciding between a home digital piano and an acoustic piano are your musical preference, goals, budget and space available. We recommend going to a store and comparing the two so you can make a better decision.

For more information regarding online piano lesson courses and reviews, go to Piano Lessons Online Guide. For piano music, resources, and to download a FREE piano chord chart, go to Piano Chord Chart [http://www.easypianolessons101.com/piano-chord-chart-download/]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Piano Posture - Don't Try to Play Without It

Many aspects of playing the piano such as note reading and ear training are intuitive. They just make sense. There are, however, important aspects of piano which are not intuitive. In fact they are counter-intuitive to most of us. That's why a good piano teacher is so important.

Students imagine playing in a way that makes sense to them and "feels" comfortable. You can call this your "default" setting, what you do naturally out of habit. Ever try to change a habit? It's difficult. It takes conscious effort over time, because the mind-body connection is un-conscious and powerful. If you're a piano student who wants to improve your playing, the best way to do this is to change your habits so that they reflect your goals. In this way you'll be playing with self awareness, rather than out of habit. And that's a good thing!

Here are some simple steps to begin developing a powerful good piano habit that will go a long way toward helping you reach your goals.

Step 1

To see how you can improve your playing, sit up straight on the edge of the piano bench, with an arch in your lower back, (move the bench way back from the piano for now.) Put the palms of your hands together in front of you. Now separate your hands so that your forearms are parallel, but your palms are still facing each other. Now lift your forearms arms and then drop them, like they are asleep, from the elbow with your palms still facing. If your arms are completely relaxed, they should have fallen so that the tips of your fingers are pointing to the floor and your arms are completely extended, because there is no way to catch the weight of your arms with your elbows when you drop them.

Step 2

To improve your posture, try this again. Only instead of allowing your palms to face each other, turn them flat so your palms are horizontal, facing the floor. Bend your arms a little so that the tips of your elbows are pointing more toward the "walls," and not toward the floor. Now lift your forearms toward the ceiling and then drop them from the elbows again. This time the weight of your forearms should catch in your elbows. Move your piano bench closer to the piano, but not too close (your elbows should be in front of your tummy.) Practice lifting and dropping your arms, catching the weight in your elbows, as you play one note, repeatedly. Lift and drop; lift and drop.

Step 3

Now practice this technique while playing octaves. Do this hands separately. With finger three, bounce from one key to the next, between octaves, lifting and catching the weight of your forearms from the elbows. Bounce and land; bounce and land, lifting your hand high over the keyboard. Now keep practicing this until it feels comfortable. Keep this posture as you play your pieces and remember to hold your hands "flat" with elbows out-turned to add buoyancy, spring and flexibility to your playing.

Now you know a powerful piano habit to dramatically improve your playing and help you your musical dreams - So keep doing it. Soon it will feel so natural you'll wonder why you didn't think of it!

To learn the best way to share the gift of music with children visit Amazon.com for my Piano Bears Musical Stories for Children The exciting Piano Bears Musical Stories for children ages 5 to 11 feature the loveable characters, Mrs. Treble Beary and her new piano student, Albeart Littlebud. Children love following along with Albeart to Mrs. Treble Beary's piano studio in Musical Acres Forest. Here they learn what piano lessons are all about in a fun way that kids readily understand and appreciate! Piano students laugh and giggle while reading "Little Bear's Musical Garden" and "Little Bear's Piano Goals."
For a wealth of f'ree information and piano music online visit Piano Bears Music Education Resources Don't Wait to Share the Gift of Music!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Piano Lesson Games for Kids Make Music Learning Fun

Generally young children who enjoy educational activities such as reading, coloring, crafts and word games also enjoy playing the piano. One reason is because they enjoy doing things with their hands. Did you know that there are games and activities available like this for young children that will give them a musical foundation as well? If you plan to give your young child piano lessons or if your child is taking piano lessons they can benefit greatly from musical games and activities at home. There are many foundational keyboard abilities children can learn at home while having fun that will give them a musical head start in piano. Here's 5 of these.

1. Drawing and Visualizing the Piano Keyboard

2. Learning the musical alphabet in a variety of ways

3. Learning keyboard theory concepts for note reading

4. Learning to use their hands at the piano

5. Visualizing five-finger hand positions and finger numbers

This knowledge is not difficult to give your children at home. All you need are the right resources and of course a keyboard. You'll be giving your child musical values and educational opportunities that will prepare them for a positive future of learning. Piano lessons also help children learn

o key reading and math skills;

o how to set goals to achieve their dreams; and

o the need for self discipline and persistence; and

o how to take responsibility for their success.

So take advantage of the early years and give your child even more of what they love to do with musical learning games and activities they'll enjoy.

To learn the best way to share the gift of music with children visit Amazon.com for my Piano Bears Musical Stories for Children The exciting Piano Bears Musical Stories for children ages 5 to 11 feature the loveable characters, Mrs. Treble Beary and her new piano student, Albeart Littlebud. Children love following along with Albeart to Mrs. Treble Beary's piano studio in Musical Acres Forest. Here they learn what piano lessons are all about in a fun way that kids readily understand and appreciate! Piano students laugh and giggle while reading "Little Bear's Musical Garden" and "Little Bear's Piano Goals."
For a wealth of free information and piano music online visit Piano Bears Music Education Resources Don't Wait to Share the Gift of Music!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Styles of Piano Music

If you are studying the piano, you'll find that there are many different styles of piano music out there today. Usually it is a great idea to learn as many styles as you can if you want to master the piano, and learning all of them is a great idea. When you are knowledgeably about various styles of music for the piano, you are able to play in a variety of styles yourself and it also helps you learn to improvise. Let's take a look at some of the most popular styles out there that you'll want to study and learn to play.

Classical Piano

The oldest style of piano is the classical style and it is very varied as well. This style of piano has been around for hundreds of years and for many, it is the proper style of music to learn when playing the music. Various other styles of piano music actually come from the classical style as well. This style of piano music takes training that is intense and a lot of practice as well.

Rock Piano

Another style of piano music is rock piano. This style of piano actually came right out of blues piano music, although later it would begin to get a new style of it's own. Some great pianists, such as Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elton John would go on to make rock piano the popular and beautiful style that it is today.

Jazz Piano

Another great style of piano music that is well worth studying and learning is jazz piano. It includes a variety of different styles within it and it difficult to describe. A variety of piano styles today actually borrow jazz ideas like certain chords and even improvisation as well. You'll also find that the emphasis on various forms of chords comes from jazz too.

Gospel Piano

You'll find that the gospel piano style of music is very similar to various other styles, such as R&B, blues, and even jazz. There are some extended chords which gospel piano tends to emphasize, but it has that lilting or swinging feel that you often see in both R&B as well as in jazz. While gospel songs may appear to be quite simple, the musicality of them is usually quite complex. You'll notice that syncopation is often used and provides a very spiritual style overtone to the gospel piano music.

Of course these are just a few of the different styles of piano music that are out there today. You'll find that there are many other styles to listen to, learn, and play. Some of them include new age piano, ragtime piano, rhythm and blues piano, boogie woogie piano, and even cocktail piano.

Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com - an information site for beginning through to advanced musicians. He has a growing number of learn piano reviews available.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Piano Lessons - Games to Keep it Fun While You Learn

My wife is a piano teacher and has been for quite some time. Her students are mostly children, though some of them are much older (such as myself), so she tries to make learning to play the piano as fun as possible. Her main focus is trying to incorporate into her piano lessons games that will keep her students in practice and still keep them excited.

Learning the piano isn't like it used to be in the old days. To be honest, the idea of sitting in a room with nothing but a metronome, a song book, and a piano sounds terribly boring. But with the computer age in full swing there are more and more "piano lessons" games and software packages offering ways to improve your skills while keeping you entertained and having fun.

My favorite games, and the ones we share with our students right from the start, are the ones where you can try and beat your own high-score. I've never been a big fan of competition; it becomes too easy to give up because someone else is consistently doing better than you, but trying to beat my own best record really got me practicing. Nothing pushes a student to keep going like beating their old score and knowing that they can beat the new one too with just a little more playing.

There are two games that I call my favorites.

  • Jayde Musica Pro - This game is awesome for those of us who think reading music is complicated and boring. When talking about piano lessons, games like this just make it too easy. Notes fly across the screen and you do your best to identify them. The more you identify the higher your score (and within no time you know ALL the notes like the back of your hand!)
  • Chordinator - A multiple choice game that leads you along through the complicated mess of Chord notation. This game is great and, once again, lets your beat your own personal best.

I used to have some serious problems reading sheet music and it seemed that no matter how often my wife would remind me of what meant what, I still couldn't seem to remember it. The problem was that I spent too much time beating myself up for not understanding and that took all the fun out of it for me. The above games really fixed that.

Of course, now that I can read the sheet music all I really have to do is work on my timing. I looked all around the internet for a "metronome trainer" or something like it and finally found it in an online course called Rocket Piano. I was surprised to find that Rocket Piano offered Jayde Musica Pro and Chordinator. I told my wife about it right away and now we recommend the Rocket Piano course to all of our students so that they can practice at home. They've all said the same thing...it's so much fun! These piano lessons games are the absolute best, whether you're a student or even a teacher.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Piano Phrases and Vocabulary You Should Know Before Buying a Piano

Investing in a piano is a great idea. They hold their value, add sophistication to a room and enrich the lives of you and your family through music. If you are thinking of buying this beautiful instrument, there are a few terms and phrases you should be familiar with. This is a big purchase, so educate yourself with these piano vocabulary basics:

Vertical or Grand

These are the two types of piano. A vertical, also known as an upright, is the model that sits flush with wall. The grand is the large curvaceous model that is associated with professional pianists. Both have their merits and either is a good choice provided you don't skimp on quality. Both styles come in different sizes to suit anywhere from the tiniest of spaces to largest concert halls. Whether you want a basic or a professional model, either style adds a touch of class and beauty to any room.

The Back

This is the backbone of the instrument and good sturdy quality materials are essential in making a durable instrument. Always inspect the frame and the back before purchasing.


In the finest instruments, spruce is used to create this essential component. It is responsible for the tone produced by the strings as they vibrate against the board. Spruce is used because its fine straight grain is naturally conducive to moving sound.

Action and Hammers

The action of a piano is quite complicated because it involves the concert movement of over 7,000 parts. As the term "action" implies, this is the active workings of the instrument. The chain reaction that happens when the keys are hit, the hammers fall and the strings vibrate. The hammers are covered in felt and may be either 9 or 12 pound hammers. The weight refers to the weight of the felt used.


A piano must be regularly tuned to maintain optimum sound quality. Over time, whether you play a lot or not at all, the strings need to be tightened and adjusted for proper sound. Frequent playing as well as simple aging weakens the strings and throws off the tone and key of the instrument. Humidity also wreaks havoc on the strings so the instrument should be kept in a controlled environment.


There are two pedals, sometimes three, at the base of the instrument, and each one has a specific purpose. One is called the damper pedal and it inhibits the strings from vibrating. When this pedal is depressed, the sound continues after you've played the note. Another of the pedals mutes the sound when the note is played. If there is a third pedal, its purpose is to prolong just the bass notes.

Educating yourself about the piano is the best way to make sure you choose the right one for you as well as aid in your learning and playing abilities. Just knowing these terms and phrases will help you prepare questions for the dealer. Remember this is a big investment so you want to know exactly what you are getting. It also helps you determine what is important to you and what you can live without.

Halls Piano Company, Metairie, is Louisiana's exclusive Steinway dealer thanks to their commitment to excellence in piano sales and service. Visit them at http://www.hallpiano.com to download a free piano buying guide.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Piano For Beginners - Everything You Need to Know

The piano is a beautiful instrument to play and the good news is almost anyone can learn to play it. If you are capable of pressing down on one of the keys then you are capable of mastering the piano. It is true that some of us are more musically gifted than others but this is no reason why everyone can't learn how to play the piano. As with most things in life, the more time and effort you put into learning the piano, the better your results will be.

It will come as no surprise to you that practice and commitment count for a lot when it comes to learning the piano. But what else do you need to know to learn the piano? Well, you will need a piano without one it will be very difficult to get the practice you will need in order to progress.

It is important to remember that everybody has different learning styles and learns in different ways at different speeds. What works for one person may not work for you, this is why it is important to assess how you learn before you decide how you are going to learn how to play the piano.

There are 3 main options available when you want to know how to play the piano.

Find a good piano instructor, you can find these by going to visit schools, colleges or orchestras in your area. The Internet is also a very useful resource for finding a piano teacher. Bear in mind it is very important you get along well with your prospective teacher. There is nothing worse than dreading your piano lesson simply because you do not see eye to eye with your instructor. A piano instructor will provide you with valuable advice and be able to show you where you are going wrong.

Buy piano books from music shops and use the plethora of online tutorials and materials to help you learn. Be sure the online tutorials are of a good standard. When it comes to learning a musical instrument, bad habits that have been picked up due to improper instruction can be difficult to reverse.

Some people may find they prefer to get acquainted with the piano without the help of books or instructors. It is easier for these people to play the piano by ear and work out the sounds and intricacies of the instrument themselves.

Being able to read sheet music will be very beneficial, understanding the theory of music will surely improve performance. On the other hand, being able to identify notes by ear is also a very useful tool. There are many pros and cons of each method, it is a case of trial and error and a matter of finding out what works best for you. The bottom line is if you are willing to put time into your new hobby and have enough self-motivation you can learn the piano in no time.

Lauren Paltrow of LearnPiano-Reviews.com, specializes in helping aspiring pianists get the info that they need to make the right choices. Lauren leads her team of piano experts in constantly reviewing new courses and products in the market to make sure you get the best value products that work for you. Check out actual user reviews of the best piano courses and products at LearnPiano-Reviews.com.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Piano Note Reading for Beginners

Reading piano notes is far easier than many beginning pianists think it is. Ultimately, piano note reading is simply a matter of memorization and repetition. In other words, once you learn the basics, all you have to do is put them into practice, and to do so as many times as it takes to completely internalize your note reading skills.

No doubt, you've seen what's known as the staff -- the system of five lines and four spaces upon which musical notes are organized. In music notation, at the far left of a staff you will always see a clef, which is basically a symbol that indicates how the notes on the staff should be read.

There are many different types of clefs, but fortunately for beginning pianists, the vast majority of piano music deals only with two clefs, the treble clef and the bass clef. The treble clef is usually used to notate the first few octaves to the right of Middle C, while the bass clef is usually used to notate the few octaves to the left of Middle C.

In all staffs, no matter what the clef is, successive lines and spaces represent ascending notes of the scale. For example, in the treble clef, the lowest line represents E. Thus, the space just above the lowest line represents F, the line just above that represents G, the space above that is A, and so on.

In the treble clef, which looks sort of like a backwards "S" with a few extra curly-cues thrown in, and centered on the second line up, the notes are as follows: The five lines, from bottom to top, stand for E G B D and F, while the four spaces stand for F A C and E. All beginning pianists must memorize these very early in the learning process. FACE is an easy acronym to remember, while EGBDF lends itself to a variety of mnemonic phrases, which you can make up yourself. For example, when I took my lessons, I was forced to memorize, "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge."

Often, when reading music, you will see additional "lines" added above or below the staff. These are merely extensions of the staff, and follow the same succession as notes within the staff. For example, the invisible line one space below the treble clef staff -- a note that you will see very, very often -- stands for middle C as it is one space and one line below the E represented by the first line.

The bass clef, which looks like a backwards "C" with two dots around the second line from the top, has this configuration: The five lines stand for G B D F and A, while the four spaces stand for A C E and G. Again, there are many mnemonic devices to remember these, but it's always best to make up your own.

With many piano songs, especially those for beginners, the left hand plays the notes in the bass clef, while the right hand plays the notes in the treble clef. The two areas meet up at middle C, which is two notes below the lowest line in the treble clef staff, and two notes above the highest line in the bass clef staff.

Beyond this basic memorization of notes represented by lines and spaces, piano note reading also involves some knowledge of what is meant by various symbols. Most commonly you will see the symbols for sharp and flat. The symbol for sharp, which closely resembles the number symbol (#), indicates that the note which it accompanies should be raised one half step. Meanwhile, the flat symbol looks like a lower case "b," and indicates that the accompanying note should be played one half step lower. Also, once you start to learn more keys and scales, you will need to know the natural symbol, which cancels a sharp or flat is dictated by the key. Also, it's important to remember that when you see a sharp, flat, or natural symbol, that symbol remains in effect throughout the measure.

From this point on, things become more complicated. But don't sweat it. Learning how to read piano notes is a baby-step process. Try not to learn everything at once. Instead, focus on one thing at a time, and practice until it comes as easily as breathing. As always, this is the key to learning piano.

Duane Shinn is the author of the popular DVD home study course on playing piano titled "Crash Course In Exciting Piano Playing!"