The following paragraphs are intended for those just learning to play piano.
As you begin your piano journey, make sure to give sufficient attention to music theory. While this is not necessarily the most exciting aspect of piano playing, it is one of the most important, because it will help you put everything together in your mind. Far too many beginners fail to learn music theory even on a basic level, and their achievement is therefore quite limited. Every successful pianist has solid grounding in music theory and they learn to play piano chords.
The next priority should be to listen to the work established pianists such as David Lanz and George Winston. Begin with slow pieces and see if you can determine the notes being played. This helps teach you to play music by ear and to recognize intervals, chords and notes. You may believe this to be a difficult task, but with time, you will find that it is extremely useful.
When listening to recorded piano music, you ought to start noticing patterns played by songs and by particular artists. You are sure to hear pieces with octaves as well as fifths combined with personal flourishes. If you pay close attention, you will gain the ability to deconstruct what you hear and play the music yourself.
At first, you need not attempt to learn entire songs in one sitting. You will see that the important task is to simply identify the patterns and changes within the piece. For instance, you may have an A-C-A-C-A pattern that is sprinkled with slight changes here and there. The changes might include octave shifts or small little bits of flair that make the song unique.
The following is some handy advice for what to include in a typical practice period. Your practice sessions should always reflect the goals you have set for yourself when it comes to the piano.
Practicing scales is highly important in terms of increasing finger dexterity and learning to play piano by feel. Scales and music theory knowledge are inextricably linked, because if you already know which key in which a song should be played, your fingers will instinctively know the sharps and flats that will be required. You will not need to stop and think or look down at your keyboard to hit them.
Of course, there is no need to spend all of your time and energy on scales. They should be used as a warm-up tool. Never dwell on perfection when it comes to scales, because the more you practice them, the more your accuracy will improve. Do not rush your scales, but rather play them slowly, at least initially, so that you get the most out of your practice time.
Work on honing your skills at identifying intervals between notes by ear. Doing this will ultimately aid in your ability to do improvisation and give songs your own personal twist.
Try to set your own personal goals when it comes to playing piano. Are you interested in becoming a composer, an improvisational player or a sight-reader? Understanding what you are aiming to do will help you focus your practice time and ultimately make you a better player.
Some pianists play primarily by ear and do not do much sight-reading of sheet music. However, these players are often the best at picking up songs quickly simply by listening to them.
Two main types of pianists exist. There are those who read music skillfully and those who tend to focus on improvisation and playing by ear. It is relatively uncommon to find players who are adept at both. The folks who are represent some of the most extraordinary players anywhere.
No matter which direction you choose, always remember that music theory is essential. Knowing theory well is sure to aid you in spotting chord patterns on the keyboard. Sight readers will benefit because they will be able to quickly spot patterns on sheet music and will be able to play them without having to glance down at their keys.
Lastly, never forget that piano playing is far more than simply playing the proper notes at the proper time. Becoming an artist able to infuse personal style and expression into songs is a remarkable thing. By working hard to be such a player, you will reach a higher level of musical achievement than those who mechanically play music without any added feeling or drama.
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