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
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.
"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!"
Tomorrow Part 2. Learn more about Gary's jazz journey.
Short, charming, relatively easy, level 5 and 6. What can a harpsichordist teach pianists? How to pace the music, notice the subtle flexibility to the flow of the music.
In the 2nd video the performer talks about the works.
The rankings follow the descriptions:
In my experience of teaching jazz, I would rank these traditional methods in the following order:
Jazz attracts adults of a certain type. Likely just like you. Professionally successful, academically trained, and determined to figure it out. The kind of person who sets goals, allocates resources, makes time, gathers intelligence from books and the internet, and then applies focus to solve a problem or pursue an opportunity.
Alas the kind of learning traditionally associated with professional success can lead a student off in the wrong direction when learning to play jazz. First, music is a manual skill which requires many years of practice to play at even a basic level of competence. Second, playing jazz is an aural skill. Manual skills and aural skills are not traditionally part of most people’s education. So, a mindset shift must occur. Those professional skills will come in handy though; I’ll just help enlarge them.
(Authors note I own more than 100 drum books, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of podcasts on drumming, I’ve subscribed in the past to a Jazz education subscription service promising great masterclass from my jazz heroes, and I live on YouTube. Furthermore, I own too many drum sets, snare drums, and cymbals. So, I understand.)
What can I do for you?
In short, I will present material to you in a logical fashion based on your specific circumstances and provide weekly feedback. Old fashioned teaching in a modern 21st c. multi-modal manner.
How does a impatient student find the patience?
How does the piano teacher maintain the students enthusiasm while working with this constraint?
As long as we find time to work on core skills, it's great to explore repertoire way over our heads. We will have fun and learn a lot from the experience. But, if we neglect to cheerfully embrace the discipline of mastering core skills, we will grow bored and discouraged. In the end it's faster to learn the skills, embrace this discomfort of hard work than to jump all over the place.
Core music skills:
Here is a short story from my parallel passion of drumming. I devote a large chunk of my practice time on the core skills and fundamentals of drumming. I spend hours a week on time and tone. Yep, left, right, left, right or LLRR or RLRR and LRLL. I listen intently to the results. I analysis my movements. And on and on. I've learned to be patient. I've made some real progress over the last decade of study. I'm confident I will make more.
To learn more check this out: What do drum teachers practice? (superfundrumlessons.com)
Let me help you.
Call me. Let's get started.
Planning an interpretation
I can help you understand the plan my student and I created prior to "practicing" the piece.
www.finchcocks.com/Finchcock Piano Courses UK
One week of piano among other pianists with 1st rate tutors, food, and wine.
Click above for more inf.
4 hours of practice: All joy, no grinding.
Top 5 tips for practicing any musical instrument
If you would like some help, call me.
4 hours of practice: No Grinding.
Top 5 tips for practicing any musical instrument
General and Jazz Specific Theory
If you would like some help, call me.
Working through the Four Star Books is recommended. An effective book, but, hardly that exciting.
Sometimes we work out by ear famous Rock era "licks" or motifs from well know melodies.
The famous opening melody uses B, C#, and D. Have a listen and give it a go.
Classical motives are fun too. Opening motif is in C minor, starting on G. Da da da DAAA, da da da DAA
One of my students is working at the early advanced stage of Classical piano. This week Chopin Waltz in b minor and Gnossienne #6 by Satie. Sophisticated music.
She is a retired executive whose career spanned the globe. She is an avid concert goer. As in, more than a concert a week.
At the end of class I complemented her on her playing and knowledge of the music, it's context, and style. She was slightly taken back. She quickly explained that she has friends who are so much more sophisticated and nuanced in their appreciation of classical music. (One wrote liner notes for a major classical music label, one was a critic if I recall correctly as well.)
I pointed out to her that she has learned more than she knew through those friendships. She recalled the after concert socializing where great debates on the merits of the performance.
Furthermore, decades of concert going at the great halls of the world leaves a mark. A significant mark.
Will I ever get there?
An adult student is working on the scherzo of Haydn’s piano sonata in F major Hob.XVI:9 A fun work from RCM level 4. It goes fast, it’s light, it’s fun under the fingers. It reminds me of joyful summer memories as a kid riding our bikes as fast as we can go, just celebrating the joy of movement and being alive.
How does one play like that?
Can I ever go as fast?
Another story. I’ve a young teenage student preparing to sit for her level 8 exam later this month. One of her pieces is Solfeggio in C minor by CPE Bach an extremely fast and demanding piece of music. She runs like the wind through it. The power of youth. Can my 61-year fingers play that fast? Nope. Period. It’s as absurd as looking on while high schoolers compete in the 100-yard dash. Yeah, I can still run fast, but not like that.
Moral of the story. Be at peace with it.
Now can we learn to play faster. Of course. Can we ever go as fast? Maybe, maybe not.
Now back to Haydn. Pianists who play well, including fast, have worked patiently in the following areas.
If I can help you on your journey, please give me a call.
Restarting piano after a 4-decade hiatus? How to get started.
The hands will be slow. But they will improve. Patience is the key here. An analogy: You were at 18-year-old track star back in the day. You buy a pair of expensive running shoes, the kind that promise speed, endurance, and youth. First day out, you run 10K. It is glorious, next day you can’t move. Shoes go in the closet; you are back in front of Netflix. Oops, you’ve made a tactical mistake. Try this instead.
Have fun, if I can help, call me.
I teach many adults who are picking it back up later in life. Realising their dream to play Classical, Jazz, Blues, or Boogie Woogie with style and panache. Not to forget the few who want to play in a band.
Why do they restart? Beauty.
Regardless of why they quit, everyone returns filled with high hopes and noble intentions. I welcome them all to the studio where lessons are giving guilt free. And, enthusiasms are supported and encouraged.
Here is some of the titles they are currently working on.
Giving up the piano is one of life's great regrets. Resuming lessons after decades is not. It is an interesting journey of rediscovering, joy, and humility.
I invite you to watch this recent video and browse the book. Alan Rusgridger learns Chopin Ballade no. 1 at age 57, 41 years after giving up the piano.
He managed to fit in practice while working as the editor of the Guardian newspaper. WOW!
As a drum student myself, it is always heartwarming to meet a fellow traveler For more info on my own journey in mid-life learning see my blog. Just click on this paragraph.
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.