These are 5 little secrets to help you see the true value in the talent you have..
Secret Number 1.
The first secret i'd like to share with you is probably the most important one and it's supposed to be taken with a deep understanding of what it means. ROME WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY. That's it. Secret number 1.
This means that your not going to become a great pianist overnight. Unless you are a child prodigy, it's most likely not going to happen. So if you can accept that now, life will be so much easier for you. Like anything else, its going to take a lot of work on many different levels. The first part of building yourself up to be a good pianist is to gear up and line-yourself-up-to-practice.... EVERY.....SINGLE.....DAY. Some might only have time for every other day, but I wouldn't go longer than that between practice sessions. If you do at least 1 thing a day, whether it be learning a scale, learning what the notes on the staff mean and represent, or just learning technique- that's 7 things a week, 30 things in a month- 365 things a year. And years it will take. A good practice session should include a warm up, time spent on technique- usually 10% of your practice time should be used to work on technique. If you like to improvise, I'd say split your practice time into 3 equal parts... This one component of learning the piano is critical to your growth- technique. It not only prepares your fingers to take on a heavy load when practicing for long periods of time, but it builds strengh, flexibilty, dexterity, independence, power within the hands, and control. Different excercizes do the same things for each finger, and what technical work you do on a given day works the corresponding fingers that technique calls for. This is a science, a daily routine, that needs to be well organized if you are serious about the piano or would enjoy knowing you are going in the right direction. Organization is the second skill you will need to acquire. There are 3 levels of organization.
The first level: you have to know where your music is at all times- whether it be taped together or in a book... you should keep everything organized. A good idea is to get a 3 ring notebook from Wall Mart or staples and organize the music that way. Or, if it's in a music book, a pad with the page number and what book it's in would do the trick. Another thing to keep in mind when first starting out on the piano is this.... Never begin playing unless you are warmed up... so this means practicing your scales slowly, going from the top of the keyboard and working your way down. After all that, you are ready to take on any peice of music, just as long as it's on your level of playing. If you are a complete beginner, and you don't know where to go. i have a friend who just developed a complete beginner's course. It's a great, great way to get started, and if you'd like more information, message me and i can help you
connect with her. So let's go over what we learned so far. Rome wasn't built in a day. Most important of all the secrets. Don't rush your progress of learning a new instrument. TAKE. YOUR. TIME. and enjoy every minute on your piano and remember, there are so many more secrets that if you apply them, your victory dance will be closer than you think.
The second level: prepare to be sitting for long periods of time. If you think you are going to spend 5-10 minutes on the piano bench- unless you don't have a lot of time during that particular day, then either change your perception of what makes you stand out from the crowd, or rethink the whole idea! No, I'm kidding. Just know you are going to be spending at least 20 minutes to a half hour practicing. And with that in mind, you should be able to manage a good practice session and add some fire on your seat.
The third level.... Get READY. Oh man, this is going to be a showstopper! Make sure your piano is tuned at least once a year. That's it. Those are- in a nutshell- pretty much all you need to know in order to start with lessons, or learning on your own.
Onto step 2...
Secret Number 2
The second secret is simply this. What ever you practice, you become good at. Meaning, if you practice because you feel like you are 'forced' to practice or think you will get good by skipping your 'practice sessions', you are shortchanging your success at the piano. Not only are you getting used to not playing every day, but you are also getting used to that and will most likely want to revisit that feeling time and time again. When I was a kid, nobody had to tell me or force me to practice. If I was bored, I'd practice. If i was in a good mood, I'd practice. If there was a moment I felt like doing nothing, I'd practice. Do you know why? Because everything you practice will become second nature to you. After a while of getting those notes into your muscle memory, parts of that song you are working, on or even the whole song- depending on how lengthy it is, will start to come by itself- or as we all know it as- memorized. Memorization is such a difficult thing if you do not practice. Unless you are born with this talent or are just very good at it, then you will have no problem. But even the best of the best find it difficult to memorize unless a lot of time is spent on that song. I have a hard time memorizing songs, but the shortcut I'm trying to give you is to spend at least 25% your practice time on memerizing peices. Without this, your winning streak comes to a HAULT! So keep this in mind when you are about to sit down to practice....make sure to spend at least 10 minutes of it on memerizing. Split the other 20 minutes- like I said- on either learning scales or learning a new chord. Another factor to consider whenever you start a new peice is.... always take parts of the song you have the most trouble with and spend a little more time with those sections. It's always better to begin a new peice by taking it apart and figuring out what sections are going to need the most work. Playing piano requires a lot of concentration, and believe me, you don't want to waste it on things you already know. So besides taking apart the song, knowing what parts are easier than others is another strategy you can use to simplify things. By simplify I mean focus less on those parts and just give your undivided attention to the trouble spots.
Secret Number 3
The third secret is not to waste your practice time on songs you really aren't into. It's that simple. If you don't like the music you are playing, get rid of it. Find something you are going to enjoy playing. If you are playing classical as I did all my life, and you are ready to move on to something else.... figure out what style fits you, and go and learn that style. I'll give you a few awesome styles that won't only make you sound good, but will get you at the front of the line..... and believe me, your audience would appreciate these genres 10 times more than classical! RAGTIME is the most exciting of styles, if you can learn to play this, then you already beat out most of the piano players on EARTH. You will become a GOD. trust me, ok? Other styles that are so cool to learn are blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and whatever you like. But ragtime, OMG, is my all time favorite. Again though, if you are into improvising, that's another great way to get introduced into the band scene, or if you enjoy performing for people, a good idea wouold be to invest in a good keyboard and maybe playing at a restaurant a few nights a week. Well, happy practicing and good luck in your endeavors and post a video of you playing so we can comment on it!
Secret Number 5
Here's the fifth secret. So easy. JUST DO IT. Oftentimes, when we first take up the piano, our automatic response is always, more times than not, to talk ourselves out of it. By giving yourself time to think about it, it will always end in a question in your mind-and it might go something like this- "can I really learn a piece like that? I mean I just started- maybe I should wait..."or"well, I got a lot of things to do today, maybe another time..." and NEVER getting to it, Rather than this, have a can do attitude, IGNITE that fire, and let it ROAR!!. THIS is your chance. Learn that song! If you go in there with your mind set on getting it done, then it will be that much easier to learn a song from beginning to end and not having to stop halfway through it. Don't let the storm pass by, for if you take it head on, you can come out victorious, on top, and eventually... BECOME the storm. No matter how big the song, no matter how many notes, take it head on and show it who's gonna win. And again, if you are a beginner piano player, this encouragement is exactly what you need to get started.
Secret Number 4
The 4th secret is to become familiar with the scales on the staff: major AND minor. If you don't know them, I would take a couple more minutes during your practice time to learn them because- very simply- different songs are written in different keys. A great place to start is with notematch. Or if you want to learn on your own, there are a plethera of examples and learning material all over the internet. But if you want to take it a step further... A friend of mine created a site that has exactly what a beginner needs to learn and it explains what it does. So if you want to go that route, you can go to notematchofficial.com and check it out. It does cost some money, but not too much. What it does is teach you the scales in such an easy- to- understand way and brings you from where you are- probably not knowing ANYTHING- up to being able to sight read and knowing the basics. It's an awesome tool to help you become a beginner pianist. As soon as you get going with that, you will be so happy to be able to sit down and play a few beginner songs.…but like I said up above, the other alternitive is to scour the internet and simply learn on your own...
Ladies and gentlemen, what these 5 secrets hold are the key to your success. If you follow them, I promise you that you will have a better understanding on how to practice with purpose, and a few extra tricks that I laid out. The way to get closer to your goal is to have the know-how when it comes to practice, because that alone, is where most of your learning will come from. That still small candle light buried on the inside will be roaring with flames, and you will learn exactly what to do in situations when you get fed up with it and get down and out about yourself. I urge you to read through these blogs, practice with them, memorize them, and you will make unimaginable gains in your practice, and the tips you will find inside can help you in other areas as well. It's my hope and wish that you learn some tools I suggest, so you too can apply these techniques to your life and put your own twist on it. NOW, without further adue, let's get started.