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Piano Practice Tips for Adults

Adults often come to the point in their lives when they want to explore new hobbies. One of the most common hobbies adults pursue is learning to play the piano. It may be the first time they play or a return to a childhood pleasure. Whether you're an adult sitting down to learn the instrument for the first time or you want to brush up on your skills, keep in mind some basic rules of piano practice.

Posture is very important. Make sure that the piano bench is high enough. Your shoulders should hang freely, while your forearms are parallel to the floor. This allows the greatest freedom of movement and keeps your body from feeling constricted. While your hands are directly in front of you on the keyboard, your elbows should be just slightly forward of the center of your body. Sit forward on the bench so that your body is relaxed.

Create a regular piano practice schedule. Start with short sessions of 15 minutes. Increase the time as your skill progresses and your hands start to feel more limber. You may not have time for piano practices longer than half an hour, but that's enough to increase your skill and flexibility. Just try not to miss too many days in a row. Time of day is important. Pick a time when you'll be least distracted by the worries of life.

Practice books are extremely helpful for both beginners and experienced players. These contain exercises and tips that improve your technique. Many also teach musical theory, providing detailed explanations of scales, chords, modes and relative tonality. This is great for expanding your musical palette and understanding how melodies and harmonies work in the context of a piece.

Piano practice books also contain musical pieces adjusted to your skill level. At the end of each chapter you'll often find a piece that demonstrates techniques that you learned in the preceding pages. It may take a while to coordinate both of your hands, so don't expect to play at full speed right away. Practice each hand separately, at a moderate speed, before combining the two parts. You'll be less discouraged and find that your playing is more accurate.

Remember, piano practice isn't a competition. Even if you are a highly driven individual, take your time and be patient when learning the piano. You'll avoid frustration and possible injury if you avoid pushing yourself too hard. It's supposed to be enjoyable.

A metronome is an invaluable tool for piano practice. A metronome is a device that keeps perfect time, providing an audible beat set to an exacting tempo. Metronomes are adjustable from very slow to very fast, well within the limits of pieces you'll be practicing. Even if you feel that you have a great sense of timing, invest in this handy little tool for your piano practice sessions. You'll be amazed how often you change tempos slightly while running through exercises.

Whatever amount of time and dedication you are able to invest in the piano, it's a great instrument for adults to learn. The piano is a few hundred years old, and people are still exploring its musical possibilities. Join their ranks and make music that you'll love for the rest of your life.


The Mozart Effect, Piano Playing and You

For years people have enjoyed the beauty of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music. Those inclined to classical compositions enjoy the intricacies and nuances that are part of his works. His varied music inspires, soothes and invigorates those who take the time to listen to it.

Some researchers believe Mozart's music does more than this. They expound on the Mozart Effect, which research suggests that listening to Mozart's music may cause short-term improvement of spatio-temporal reasoning. This spatio-temporal reasoning is the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks.

The term Mozart Effect also includes popular versions of this theory. These popular theories suggest that listening to the composer's music can make you smarter. Further, these theories state that there are benefits to mental development in those who listen to classical music in early childhood.

Those who have trademark products related to the Mozart Effect suggest even more. They believe that music has powers that can affect one's quality of life positively in many ways. They believe music is beneficial for overall well being. They sell trademark music and music-related products to achieve this.

What does all this mean for those interested in piano playing and music in general? It means that music is a tool that, while used for enjoyment, may offer benefits beyond simple pleasure. Learning music, listening to music and playing the piano can help one in other activities.

The Mozart Effect and the temporary improvement of the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks are intriguing. This suggests it may be beneficial to listen to Mozart before you sit down to practice the piano. It may be a good thing to listen to Mozart before you sit down to construct a product. Maybe your next game of chess will improve after listening to Mozart.

The Mozart Effect may be beneficial to your actual piano playing in a variety of ways. Combining classical music listening with structured piano study can give you a total music education. It can accomplish this in three ways:

o First, the Mozart Effect may improve immediate piano study. Before you sit down for your regular piano practice session, listen to some Mozart. The temporary improvement of your spatio-temporal reasoning may be just the boost you need to get the most out of that session.

Make sure you get to the piano though in short time. Research suggests that this performance improvement benefit is not something that endures. In fact, some research suggests that the Mozart Effect may only last 10 or 15 minutes. That's an excuse to sit down and listen to more Mozart, then get back to the keyboard again and practice.

o Second, Mozart, or other classical music, may pack that emotional punch you need. The majesty of the music can inspire you to sit down and create music of your own. This is the transformative power of organized, rhythmic, harmonic and melodic sound. The beauty of the music you hear works on your mind and emotions and can encourage action.

o Third, research showing that early childhood exposure to classical music is beneficial means you can boost mental development early on. They may grasp music concepts and principles and recognize sound patterns better later in life. The Mozart Effect is something to consider when teaching children music.

This beneficial effect on mental development may also pay other dividends. In later years, it may help individuals striving to excel in academia and in their careers. This is a significant point that those who research the Mozart Effect espouse. They speak of the long-term benefit of sustained exposure to classical music and how it boosts mental function.

Consider the benefits of Mozart's music beyond the immediate pleasure of listening. Research further to find out how the Mozart Effect may help you in your efforts to improve your performance of daily tasks. In addition, consider how the Mozart Effect may help your piano study. You may find there's more to his music than meets the ear.


How To Play The Accordion

An accordion is one of the most interesting sounding musical instruments there is. It combines the sounds of the piano with a keyboard. Learning to play the accordion will take practice but can be a very fun and worthwhile hobby to undertake if you want to learn to play a musical instrument. If you have never played an accordion you should either find a teacher that can provide lessons on the basics or at least purchase a few books for beginners. Having the general idea of how the instrument works and is suppose to sound will help you be able to advance easier and more quickly.

Once you have your accordion you will have to learn to hold it correctly. To do this, stand behind the instrument so the keys are facing your right side. Put your arms into the straps supporting the accordion with your shoulders. Place your left hand underneath the strap on the left side of the instrument. Next you will need to undo the buckles that hold the accordion together so that movement will be allowed. Press down one of the keys and let the accordion come open while supporting it with your left hand. It is important to try to learn to play without bending over to see where your fingers are. Try playing the same note over and over until you get the feel of how the instrument is suppose to open and close to make the proper sounds.

The chord and bass notes are located underneath where your left hand rests. They are organized in rows. Try to locate the bass C button and hold it down. When you locate it and press it down you will notice that the accordion opens quite easily. When this happens, use your left hand to continue to play by pushing the accordion open and closed.

Hiring a teacher to give you lessons is a great way to learn how to play properly. Sometimes it is much quicker and easier to watch someone that is a professional play, as it allows you to see the correct finger placement and hear the sounds that can be made by playing the instrument the correct way. DVD's can also help if you can't afford to hire a teacher or would just rather learn on your own. If neither of these appeal to you you can always learn by trial and error. Practice until you can play at least one song without stopping. Continue to play that song over and over, then move on to a new tune.

Because the accordion is counted as a bellows instrument many sounds can be procured by it when it is played correctly. The bellows of an accordion is the part that opens and closes. It has been being played for many years and enjoyed by many that like music such as Polka.


Piano Lesson: Using The Blues Scale

You can start improvising with the help of the blues scale today. You will learn three easy left hand chords and how to use them in your improvisations.

We will use the key of G-major. The first chord to learn is a three finger chord for your left hand that is usually called G13. If we should stick to music theory too literally such a chord would consist of the following scale steps:

1 3 5 7b 9 11 13

In G-major this would be the notes:


That's theory, but the chord doesn't sound very nice actually! Normally you can keep the F, B and E. The root G will probably be played on a bass guitar or can just be omitted. Anyway, here is the G13 chord in a very common form:

G13: F3 B3 E4

The numbers indicate in which octave the notes are to be played. C4 is the so called middle C in the fourth octave.

I will now give you the blues scale. First only with the scale steps so you can apply the scale in any key:

1 3b 4 4# 5 7b

It can also be considered a G-minor pentatonic scale with a raised fourth added.

Here are the notes you can play and improvise upon as you hold the G13 chord with the left hand:

G4 Bb4 C5 C#5 D5 F5 G5

We will now take a look at the C9 chord. It is a fitting chord to change to from G13 and also easy to find:

C9: E3 Bb3 D4

It's time to construct a chord progression:

G13 / / / C9 / / /

The advantage of using the blues scale is that it can be used over many chords. We will now try to play a blues progression in G-major with this blues scale. We will need one more chord to construct a three chord blues. Here is the D9 chord:

D9: F#3 C4 D4

Now it's time to play the blues:

G13 / / / C9 / / / G13 / / / G13 / / /

C9 / / / C9 / / / G13 / / / G13 / / /

D9 / / / C9 / / / G13 / / / D9 / / /

Of course you can use notes in the blues scale higher up on the piano keyboard. However, an effective blues solo doesn't need a lot of notes. Try to use only a few notes and focus your energy on creating music.


Piano improvisation: Learn To Improvise On Your Piano By Faking

Do you have a fake book? Just one of those songs could be the source of many meaningful exercises that will help you grow as a musicician and as a pianist.

What is a fake book?

A "fake book" contains songs written in a concise format that includes only the melody and chords, letting you interpret the song's performance according to your own taste.

The songs in a fake book have a single melody written out in notes with the lyrics written beneath the notes. Above the notes of the melody you'll find the names of the chords to play.

This format is very compact. You will often see fakebooks containing 500 or more songs. Here are some suggestions on how to use one of these songs for increasing your improvisational skills:

1. Chords. The suggested chords are often very rudimentary. Most jazz pianists spice up the songs with more elaborate chord progressions. Try to find more chords to use in the song. This exercise will increase your skills in chord theory.

2. Scales. When you have elaborated upon the chord progressions in the song you can choose scales that work with the chords you have chosen. If you find this hard to do you can buy scale books with scale suggestions for different chord progressions. This is an exercise in scale theory.

3. Practising piano chords. Start with the first chord in the song, play it in different positions on your piano and in different combinations.

4. Practicing chord progressions on the piano. Take a couple of bars of the song and practise to play the progressions over and over again varying the chord voicings.

5. Practicing scales on the piano. Begin with the first chord and the scale you have chosen with it and start by playing the scale up and down the keyboard with the right hand and the left hand.

6. Practice piano improvisation with scales. As soon as you master playing the scale up and down the piano it is time to create music with the scale by playing around with it, creating patterns and inventing melodies.

7. Practise piano improvisation. Take a couple of bars and play them over and over again with chord voicings in the left hand and improvising with the appropriate scales with the right hand.

It is also good to practice piano improvisation with your left hand and voicings with your right hand.

There are of course many more things you can do with a song in order to develop your skills in piano improvisation. Help yourself and don't forget to have fun and to also play the song in its entirety with the melody.


The Oldest Piano Brands Still in Existence

Many people who are considering buying a piano are definitely looking at older piano brands that will give them top quality. Some of the earliest piano manufacturers are still around, though they may have changed hands several times over the years and are still turning out great quality instruments.

With many of these older companies, the instruments are being built in the same way as they were 100 years ago . . . with careful attention paid to the type of wood and age that goes into each piano. The amount of work required to manufacture a great piano that will last is something that these companies all have in common.

Sauter Pianos

Sauter is the longest standing piano manufacturer around. They began in 1819 and continue to produce pianos to this day, making them the oldest existing piano manufacturer. The company was the brainchild of Johann Sauter who combined the technology of the US piano manufacturers and the more traditional values of the Viennese manufacturers to create a piano that was at once unique and popular. The sound principals haven`t changed much since then and still produce a superior sounding instrument.

Steinway Pianos

Steinway is one of the most popular piano brands in existence and it also happens to be one of the older piano manufacturers, as well. Started by the German cabinet maker, Henry Steinway, Steinway Pianos officially began in 1853, though Steinway had previously built over 400 pianos in his home in Germany, as well as his Manhattan home.

This piano company is by far the best known of all the older piano brands. They have a reputation for turning out top quality branded instruments.

Bosendorfer Pianos

This piano brand is considered to be one of the oldest that is still producing. Established in 1828 by Ignaz Bosendorfer, these pianos have several unique characteristics. They are available with not just the standard 88 keys, but also 92 and 97 keys options.

The pianos produced by Bosendorfer are renowned for their sound, which is fuller than most other pianos. Though the company stayed in the family for two generations, it was eventually sold to another family and is now in the process of being sold to Yamaha. However, the actual style of piano is still of top quality. In fact, the process for selecting just the wood for the soundboard is so precise that only 2% of the wood provided is actually accepted! This makes for the best quality of sound available and Bosendorfer pianos are definitely among the top in the world.

Petrof Pianos

This is a European brand of pianos that was founded in 1864 and is one of the oldest companies in Europe that still makes pianos. The Petrof piano is known for its wider range of tones and the care with which these pianos are built. The soundboard is built of aged spruce, cut in one piece and left to dry for 5 years to ensure the clearest sound possible.

The Petrof pianos are not only still being manufactured, they are also still built by hand. Skilled and trained craftspeople work hard to create these instruments that are truly a work of art. They have been around for many generations and will most likely continue to be produced for years to come.

There are many piano manufacturers that have long since gone out of business, but their instruments are still in existence. The businesses mentioned in this article are all still running and still producing pianos for sale. Most of them are quite pricey, due to the high quality produced after 100+ years of experience in the industry.


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