My first demonstration of pedaling using the Midiculous software.
Mark Pritchard is with Patricia Pritchard.
5 September at 10:20 ·
"One of my friends asked "Why do you pay so much money for your kid to play the piano”? Well I have a confession to make; I don't pay for my kid to play the piano. Personally, I couldn't care less about what instrument they play.
So, what am I paying for?
- I pay for those moments when my kid becomes so tired they want to quit but don't.
- I pay for those days when my kid comes home from school and is "too tired" to do to their lesson but they go anyway.
- I pay for my kid to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.
- I pay for my kid to learn to take care of her body and instrument.
- I pay for my kid to learn to work with others and to be a good teammate, gracious in failure, and humble in success.
- I pay for my kid to learn to deal with disappointment when she doesn’t get that recognition she’d hoped for, but still she goes back week after week giving it her best shot.
- I pay for my kid to learn to make and accomplish goals.
- I pay for my kid to respect, not only themselves, but their teachers and fellow young musicians.
- I pay for my kid to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to play beautifully and that success does not happen overnight.
- I pay for my kid to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long term goals.
- I pay for the opportunity my kid has and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of her achievements as I am.
- I pay so that my kid can be creating something beautiful instead of sitting in front of a screen...
...I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for piano playing; I pay for the opportunities that learning to play provides my kid with to develop attributes that will serve her well throughout her life and give her the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!"
Here is the sport's version: “Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do all their sports”? – Wisconsin Wrestling Online (wiwrestling.com)
I. Dust off your instrument.
2. Watch some YouTube concerts featuring pianists playing the music you love.
3. Find your metronome.
4. Read some inspiration material about folks like yourself who have succeeded.
5. Start noodling on the piano. Review some old favorites. Explore some new music. Dream.
6. Plan practice time in your schedule to succeed.
The happiest students know what they want, why they want it. They've made time for it, and stuck with it. Come join us.
Jane is learning how to play chords to her favourite pieces. Here is how I've recommended she spends her time.
Practice time breakdown
25% scales and chords with metronome at various tempos
25% review of old work
25% new pieces
25% sight reading tunes off the internet. Notice the search terms in the image below. Click on images and viola things to practice.
Keeping your positive attitude on your ability to learn the piano
3 Mini-shorts Breakfast piano minute
It was an all adult teaching day. It was a great day. If I can help you, please call me.
#scirabin #modernism #improvisation Scriabin reimagined by a jazz pianist. Scriabin Prelude op. 16 no.4
I practice piano and drums daily, except Sundays when I rest. This summer I'm practicing bass. My student Barb asked me, "how do you practice?" This is what I said.
The pandemic appears to be waning. We have all enjoyed the extra practice time lockdowns gave us. Extra time was an unexpected consequence during these tragic times.
How will be hold on to this extra time when things move back to more normal times? Good question.
Here is some of the things I’m considering. Perhaps it will be helpful for your situation too.
It depends on what musical skills and experiences you already have.
It depends on what expectations you have. If your desires are modest, yes you can likely make some simple music from watching online videos. If some level of musical competency is desired, online videos are a trickier proposition.
Why? No feedback.
Teachers give feedback, sequence learning material, correct technique, inspire when the going gets tough, and make the journey fun through collaborative learning.
If that sounds like what you need, call me. I can help.
Sometimes we all need a break. Maintaining focused attention for the years it will take to master an instrument can be overwhelming.
How do I deal with it?
I take some time off to rest, contemplate and recommit to the project. My project is drumming, yours is piano. I seek out time for deep listening, exploring new perspectives, and solitary practice.
My solitary practices this summer is to master the work from the last year of lessons.
I have rediscovered the joy of piano practice with my daily “breakfast piano minute” video series posts.
I am reading some novels, reconnecting with friends in our post Covid environment, and takings walks in the woods.
Some similar activities may help you too stay on top of things.
With the teaching schedule reduced over the summer, it is time to catch up.
A rudimental etude I've been teaching drum students this year.
Autumn leaves: walking in 2 with iReal pro playing the piano chords and drums. You play the bass and the melody along.
See you in September.
A new student favorite that debuted at our zoom recital yesterday.
Breakfast piano minute: An fantasy on an Austrian Folk Song from a slightly disheveled pianist.
Errors give feedback. As adults we understand errors present themselves in many ways. Sometimes they are hidden in disguise.
The most effective way of dealing with errors of execution on the piano bench is to step back and listen again to your practice recording, Make note in the score of the problem areas, and then consider the following.
The picture above is from The Musician's Way, a book I highly recommend.
I learned piano in a rather haphazard way as a teenager. Berklee College piano teachers never talked about “playing” the piano only what to play. In my professional work as a commercial musician the playing demands were not too strenuous.
In my early 40’s I spent a summer with a small keyboard and a book of Bach WTC book 1 and Chopin Waltzes, in a Spanish condo on the Mediterranean. Santa Pola to be exact. Every afternoon after lunch while the world took a siesta, I would explore the music on this tiny 60 note plastic keyboard. It was magic.
Returning home, I started asking around for a piano teacher. Leon Karan’s name came up a few times, so I called him. He answered with his warm Russian accent. Yes, I will see you. An appointment was made.
“Mr. Story, please play for me a c major scale.”
Gritting my teeth and tensing my body as hard as I could I dug in and roared up the piano. He looked at me sympathetically.
“Please play your piece for me.”
I’ve no idea what the piece was now but his reaction was one of concern.
“You are of course going to do your ARCT?”
“ARCT, you are a piano teacher. You have a duty to your students.”
In short, I got my you know what kicked and challenged at the same time.
Four years and 5000 hours of practice later, I graduated age 47. It was the most difficult and rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a musician. Truly a marathon. I felt like superman.
At some point you will have to practice fast to play fast. Will it be pretty? No. But, it will get better.
Try this. After mastering the piece at a slow tempo, isolate a single phrase or section and start speeding it up. Phase between repetitions to catch your breath and repeat.
The faster I played the D major scale, the lighter my touch became. Tension is the enemy of speed.
As Jamey Aebersold pleaded one day to his campers. "Don't practice everything slow!"
"Spending winters in the sunshine, reading, playing golf and socializing seemed a wonderful way to spend retirement. With both of us being music lovers, our sound system is always on all day with great music ranging from Classical, Jazz and some pop. But I felt something was missing and it wasn’t snow. My wife encouraged me for years to take music lessons. I was not too keen because my memory of lessons was the Nuns whacking my fingers with a ruler insisting, I keep my lazy fingers off the keys; that ended in 1958 when I got my Grade 8 piano. But the seed was planted. I decided to look on the net for a music teacher near Burlington and came across David’s website. This really looked interesting. During our cocktail hour that night, I said – when we get back to Burlington, I am going to take Jazz lessons from this David Story guy. On April 23, 2013 my life changed.
Of course, I thought I would be rattling off Jazz tunes within weeks; grief! As time progressed, I realized how complex Jazz really is, especially soloing; how do they do that? Practice, practice, practice every day and soon I started to see the tunnel – no light yet! After a few years of toil and trouble, something that sounded akin to music emerged; I encouraged my cousin to take lessons from David. Then, 4 years ago, David encouraged us to attend the Jamey Aebersold Summer workshop in Louisville. There we were for 6 days: 2 old guys, jamimg in groups, attending classes and intense listening, from 7am to 10 PM. Hardly time for a Scotch closer at night! At last, all those lessons from David were clicking into place like a Rubik’s cube. We went back the next summer and did it again. Then, David encouraged me to try and get a group together to Jam. The pressure was on; my 2 songs would not cut the mustard. More practice. An advert in Kijiji did the trick; we ended up with an exceptional drummer, bass, guitar – and me. We met every week for 3 hours until covid.
My lessons continue. The Jam will continue after we all get our shots. I am still amazed at what some practice along with amazing guidance and encouragement from David has done for my life and continues to do so. Not bad for an 80 year old!"
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted student and teacher of the drums.