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87

You will always make mistakes, so the key is practicing in a way that eliminates mistakes. "Practice makes perfect" is a Big Lie. If you don't practice in a smart method you will never get that good -- so what is important is not just practice itself, but good practice technique. When practicing a piece of music or song, there are really two modes I ...


48

Jalmus provides what you are looking for and it has a MIDI interface. It is also free open source, is cross platform (written in Java, it works on Windows, Linux, and Mac), and is available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish and German. From the website: Jalmus is a free, open source music education software helping the musicians, ...


35

A skilled sight-reader surely can (except if the piece is really difficult). And they can do more, for example they can read the music and play it in a different key, or they can read a string quartet (that is, four independent staves with three different clefs simultaneously) and play most of the important things in it, and so on. Not every good pianist is ...


34

The first thing you need to do is: Stop writing the letter names!!! This applies to piano or any other instrument. If you keep doing this when you practice, you won't be practicing your sight reading, only your technique. In other words, this is training you to play an A when you read the letter "A", instead of the musical notation for it. If you can ...


32

Digital pianos really have come a long way from where they were 15 years ago, when I started playing. I started on an unweighted 61-key touch-sensitive keyboard (touch-sensitivity is, by the way, essential, but implied on the weighted keyboards. You cannot play classical piano music even remotely musically without touch sensitivity. Organ music is a ...


31

There are several reasons. When new strings are put into a piano, they slowly "stretch" or relax and go flat. In a day it will be out of tune. You have to tune it 2 or 3 times the first month. After a few months the strings will have settled in and will stay in tune better. If the pinblock is very old, the pins can slip, making the notes go flat. The ...


30

In general I find that I am slowed by grabbing the page, not by the actual turning. You could bend the corners of the pages forward so that it's easier to grab quickly, or use those sticky flags on the pages, or something like that. As for turning pages where there's no break for one hand, you need to memorize the music. You can memorize all of it and ...


29

One of the tricks you can use is one I have learned watching Gustav Leonhardt in concert. For difficult page turns, he uses a little copy of the start of the next page that he pastes on the side of the preceding right page as a flip. Not only is it easier on his memory but it allows to grab the page quickly and turn it efficiently. Now that scanners and ...


29

Try Bach's Two Part Inventions. They were titled by Bach: "Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only (1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress, (2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to ...


29

I don't know what type of music you're considering playing, but consider stepping outside of the piano/guitar realm. Trombone would be perhaps your best choice. A very difficult instrument to learn and master, but it requires only enough fingers to grip the instrument securely. (You could probably get away with a thumb and finger on each hand). The trombone ...


29

A guitarist has exactly the same problem as you do. If you just strum the chord on the downbeat, or on every beat, it sounds boring. You have to play more interesting patterns. The guitarist does have a couple of advantages over a pianist in this respect. Early on, a guitarist learns to get more rhythmic interest out of a basic chord, by varying the rhythm ...


29

Your notation may work for a free form melody, but that's it. How will you notate several notes played at once? How will you notate exact rhythms if you don't split up a bar into beats and subbeats and give each note an exact duration? Which octaves are those notes? I agree that standard notation (common music notation) is complicated, but there are pretty ...


28

Wrong reps create wrong results. DO NOT play fast and wrong. Practice as slowly as you need to to avoid wrong notes. This is very important. The reason that you need to practice in the first place is that you need to create muscle memory. If you tell your muscles to do the wrong thing they will remember to do the wrong thing. Every instance of ...


27

Are you sure you want a software solution at all? An alternative is a large supply of small pieces, like Bartok's Mikrocosmos. Just keep playing different ones. One level of that will keep you entertained for quite a while. I particularly like the song about the foxes and the chickens. Sight-reading is not just about connecting your eyes and your fingers. ...


27

I'm assuming that you're talking about the one that looks like a blocky X.....this is a double sharp. Instead of shifting the tone up one half step, it shifts the tone up 2 half steps (i.e. 1 whole step). This image shows G double-sharp in the treble clef, and E double-flat in the bass clef. G double sharp is enharmonic with A natural, and E double-flat ...


26

In a key where there are already some sharps (or flats) in the key sig., as here, every time one of those notes is played, it has to be sharp (or flat). In E, or C#m, the key here, every other note is natural - E, A, and B. So if a note sounding like a C needs to be played, it can't just be written as a C, because the player would automatically sharpen it, ...


25

As you already suggested, it takes time. I would say that to begin to be a good piano tuner takes at least 3 years and you still have plenty of room to improve. It helps to have a good and discerning ear, but you do not need what people imprecisely call perfect pitch. You will need a good reference tuning fork or pro electronic tuning reference. I prefer ...


25

Most keyboard instruments of the baroque Era as well as early pianoforte had fewer keys than the current 88-standard (some modern piano like the Bosendorfer Imperial have 97 keys, 9 additional keys in the bass), and much of Bach keyboard works for instance can be played on such a restricted keyboard. With restricted high notes you will have difficulties ...


24

Make Sure it doesn't become a crutch: The most important thing about practicing with a metronome is to avoid becoming dependent on it. It is a tool that can be used to strengthen your rhythm and time when used properly, but if you overuse it, you might become uncomfortable playing without one because the machine is creating the pulse instead of you. As a ...


24

The root note is always the note that is the basis for the chord, regardless of its inversion. In root position the lowest note is the root (hence the name), but other notes are the lowest in other inversions of the chord. For example, take a C Major chord. In every position, the root note is C. Whether it is voiced as C-E-G (root position), E-G-C (first ...


24

We most commonly use staff notation because it is a good compromise between expressiveness and readability for a wide range of music. There are alternatives, however these alternatives are specialized in one dimension or another, and thus, in a sense, less expressive than standard staff notation. The overall problems relate to the fundamental issues in ...


23

One option is to use (and abuse) Impro-Visor. Impro-Visor is a jazz improvisation trainer, but it has built into it a "lick generator", which builds melodies over existing chord changes using grammar rules. (The program is of course also capable of generating chords.) By putting in various grammar rules you should be able to adapt the program to also work ...


22

Do you listen to jazz? I think a big part of getting into jazz as a trained musician means experimenting on your own. One of the biggest challenges for you will likely be learning the style of jazz piano, i.e. being able to play and not sound "square". If you want a listening list, check this out: "100 Greatest Jazz Pianists". The top 5 would be plenty to ...


22

Interesting question, although my answer might be more historical than you'd like ;-) One answer is that it gives you all the notes of the diatonic scale on the white keys, so by transposing to C major you can play any major-key melody that doesn't modulate using only the white keys. Another way of saying this: assume that you are working in our musical ...


22

Learning improvisation is a long trip. Most people start with one of two ways: going by ear, just play something that fits. Try until you think it's good. going by chords. Learn what tones fits the chords in the chart. Try until you think it's good. Soon you notice that it's not either one way or the other, it's a combination of both. Good improvisers ...


22

I'd say 2. is likely the closest, but it may just be as simple as personal taste. You're just not that used to hearing it and as you say, there's no emotion associated with it. I doubt I'd be capable of appreciating the subtle nuances and emotions in Indian Raga and I can't imagine such a melody stirring any great emotion in me. We have sounds and ...


21

Everyone, when they first begin to learn to play an instrument with music notation, is puzzled by all the complexities and nuances. Music notation is the way that it is because it works well. You know so little about playing music at this point that you cannot fully appreciate all that is involved. The more you learn, the more sense it will make to you.


21

If you would like to see a tour de force in the use of repeated notes, have a look at Martha Argerich's performance of Scarlatti's D Minor Sonata: You will notice that she uses 321321 ...


20

I would encourage anyone who is interested to tune their own piano. My personal experience is... (I am an amateur in the true sense (Latin: "To Love"), have played piano for 8 years and probably tuned my own piano for 5 years (when I have time)) It probably took me about a week (off and on, I suppose about 6 hours) to completely retune my old piano from the ...


20

If you're well-trained in music theory and good at sight reading, then you've already got some strong and important assets. I have a background similar to yours, so here are some things that I remember from when I got started: get used to jazz rhythm: if you take for instance 4/4 songs, you'll notice that in many genres the first and third beats are ...



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