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how to read music

Whether you already play piano or want to learn, I’m glad you stumbled across this page. It means there’s one more person out there looking for a better way to add music to his or her life, or perhaps to improve on an already established skill set.

Either way, welcome. The good new is, I’ve got helpful advice for any level you may be at. I invite you to discover your potential and take the necessary steps to reach your goals.

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Beginners Play Piano, Don’t Be Shy

If your idea of a scale is something in your bathroom that seems to know you like donuts, you’re definitely among the beginners. But seriously, if you know only a handful of basic chords, a song or two, or you have never touched a keyboard, you will want to learn the basics.

I recommend you take a course in introductory musical theory. You’ll want to learn the names of the notes, practice the scales, begin to put together chords, and embrace the art of repetition. That’s right, the key to picking up on the basics is to imprint them into your psyche, increase your dexterity, train your hands to make those stretches they’re not used to making, and find the connection between mind and body that will enable you to play naturally.

At the beginner level, students should have the patience to put off learning actual songs or

performance styles in favor of getting comfortable learning chords, fingering, etc. The good news is, with the right training, you can pass through the beginner level relatively quickly. Of course, the right training is, at best, half the equation. Your ability to master the above skills will depend on your determination to practice every day. Just like physical training, by going through the correct motions a little each day, you can accomplish much more than inconsistent practice every so often.

How you decide to learn is up to your preferred method of absorbing new information. Some people are visual learners, others are aural. What this means to you is, you might need to learn to play with the aid of sheet music (visual) or by listening to someone play a note or chord and you copy them (aural). The latter method is also known as playing by ear. Most websites that promote piano lessons offer a sample of their training style so you can try before you buy. It’s a good idea to try both so you can get started in the right direction and not waste time learning in a way that’s against your learning style.

When Intermediates Play Piano

By this point in your piano education, you should know all the scales, the popular chord styles, and be able to perform with confidence. This isn’t to say you should be a virtuoso. At the intermediate level, many musicians can find work playing out at various venues. But their skills are limited.

Now is a good time to think about the type or types of music you want to play. Will you study classical? Are you more into jazz or blues? Would you prefer to play rock? Or are you saving yourself for religious styles like gospel? With your intermediate skill level, you understand many of the chords and progressions you will use in your chosen genre. Now you need to focus on lessons that show you the fundamentals, the nuances, and the tricks behind playing a particular style.

Like the tip I gave for beginners, it applies here as well: Determine if you are a visual or auditory learner and pick the package you are most likely to understand, enjoy, and stick with.

And again, practice!

Advanced Performers Play Piano

Congratulations, you’ve come a long way in your musical journey. But you’re far from finished. With your advanced skills, you can sit in with another musician or ensemble and play piano. You can listen to a song and learn it with relative ease, or perhaps you can open sheet music and read the notes as easily as you read printed text. And just maybe, you are ready to flex your creativity and explore new horizons.

Some performers don’t know how to recognize when they surpassed the intermediate level. That’s okay, it will be clear eventually. If you are already performing comfortably but you want to infuse your music with more complex chord structures, creative runs, or you want to add another genre to your repertoire (that’s a lot of French!), you are most likely advanced and ready to take on a bigger challenge. It’s been said many times, learning to perform music is not a destination but a journey.

Many professional artists play multiple instruments. They are skilled guitarists or drummers who also play a little piano. It is not uncommon to encounter a musician who is very good at any instrument he or she decides to learn. If you are just such a person, and piano is one of your secondary instruments, consider how you could benefit from actual lessons.

I’ve discovered some outstanding courses for advanced piano playing that can be purchased online. Take the time to evaluate the publishers’ websites and read reviews if possible. Most lesson packages are moderately priced, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a good, affordable lesson system.

And in case you forgot already, you still need to practice! Just remember to keep the fun in the fundamentals. Learning to play piano can be a lot of work, but it’s a form of entertainment and should never be a chore. Good luck!

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Music Time Signatures – What Are They?

by Tania Gleaves on August 7, 2014

When you start studying piano lessons, you will learn the basic knowledge of music which also includes music time signatures. Time signatures are composed of two numbers in the form of a fraction which tells you the number of notes and the kind of note receiving one beat in each measure. Say what?! That might have been your initial reaction upon reading this definition, believe me, I’ve been there. But don’t worry because I will break down music time signatures for you in an easier to understand manner.

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Music time signatures are commonly found at the beginning of each music sheet. These are the fraction numbers written right after the clef on the first staff. The top number lets you know how many beats there are per measure while the bottom number informs you what kind of note receives one beat. The top numbers can be any number but the bottom numbers always follow 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16. No other numbers can be represented at the bottom except for the aforementioned ones because they represent the five different notes.

If you are a bit confused by this, just imagine the bottom number in the form of a fraction with 1 as its top number. When you read the fractions, you will know right away what kind of note they stand for.

The Bottom Number With Their Corresponding Note Values:

1 – whole note

2 – half note

4 – quarter note

8 – eighth note

16 – sixteenth note

Say for example, a music sheet has 4/4 music time signature, this means that there are 4 beats in a measure and the quarter note gets a beat each time. In the staff, you will find four quarter notes or its corresponding equivalent in one measure. Some of the corresponding equivalents of four quarter notes can be two half notes, one whole note, two quarter notes and four eighths, and a few others more. Your guide for knowing the corresponding equivalents of music time signatures will be the length of duration each note has originally.

time signature2 Music Time Signatures   What Are They?

Click Here To Learn How Music Time Signatures Work!

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Music Bar Lines

July 17, 2014

Introducing the Bar In order to represent pitch and tone, music notes need a staff. If you’ll remember from our other lessons, the music staff is a system of five horizontal lines and it provides a foundation for all the beautiful music that we hear. Notes sit on, above, between, and below these lines. But […]

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Music Theory Key Signature – The Basics

July 13, 2014

You have been hearing about the music theory key signature during your first piano lesson but do you know what they are made of? Key signatures are actually one of the basic foundations of playing the piano. These music fundamentals guide you in “tuning” the music pieces you are playing. Music theory key signature can […]

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How to Read Music – Definitions to Help You Learn

July 2, 2014

L earning how to read music is like learning another language. It has its own letters, syntax and grammar. Whether you are learning to play the piano through the classic method or the chord method, you’ll have to be familiar with how to read music. A page of music has a lot of symbols and […]

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Piano Sheet Music Confidential

June 18, 2014

Piano sheet music has been around since the birth of the piano. It is the diary of the process of the composer. All of the heart and soul of piece lies within the notation of the sheet music. Sheet music can be used to record or to create a musical score. Musicians often use it […]

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Piano Music Notes – Hear Them Speak To You

May 8, 2014

Unless you plan to play music by ear, you’ll need to learn how to read sheet music for piano. Sheet music displays the notes of a song and musicians interpret it as if they were reading the words of a speech. It isn’t difficult to read piano music notes once you understand the basic structure […]

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Learn To Read Music – A Gentle Introduction…

March 30, 2014

Figuring out how to learn to read music may seem intimidating — especially if you’ve never paid any attention to sheet music before. But once you learn the basics, you’ll discover a whole new world that paves a road of confusing symbols with a coat of comfortable, natural, and perfect logic. This article serves as […]

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Key Signatures – A Beginner’s Lesson…

January 15, 2014

What Determines The Quality And Quantity Of A Song’s Notes When watching musicians play piano, you may see them refer to a piece of music in the key of “A” or “C.” These letters refer to the key that the music is played in or its key signature. Key signatures are what determines the quality […]

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Piano Lessons Made Easier – How To Read Music Notes

January 5, 2014

One of the basic lessons of learning to play the piano involves how to read music notes. Reading music notes is like learning your ABC’s. Effectively reading music notes requires you to learn the basic parts of a music sheet; sometimes they call this song sheet. If you look at the music sheet, you will […]

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