Category Archives: Music

Tips to easy practice the guitar

The guitar is a great instrument. It’s fairly portable, relatively inexpensive, easy enough to learn the basics – and you can take your playing as far as you want. Lots of people – from kids to grandparents – learn the guitar every day. And if you’re one of them, here are ten things you need to know.

On a recent Open Mic we asked the question, “What advice would you offer someone considering learning the guitar?” Lots of you answered, and your main points are included in this article alongside my own thoughts. And please feel free to add even more advice in the comments. Thousands of learners will appreciate it.

1. Practice!

This might seem obvious, but it never stopped anyone giving this advice when I started learning.

I started learning music when I was 20 – keyboard first, then guitar later. I was keen and enthusiastic, and constantly asked every musician I met for advice about the best and fastest way to learn. Every person gave me just one word of advice: “Practice!” It drove me crazy as hell – I wanted more – but it was good advice.

A big part of learning to play the guitar (and any instrument) is finger memory – motor skills. Your fingers need to know what to do without your brain needing to tell them. And that comes just one way – practice.

How much do you need to practice? I still stand by the advice I was given at the time: half an hour a day, or an hour a day if your really serious about learning. And the daily part is important – practice every day. One three hour session a week just isn’t going to cut it. Remember we are trying to develop finger memory, and that comes by regular, constant practice.

Most of you agree. Here is the advice you gave in the Open Mic:

  • “Practice, practice, practice. There’s no substitute for actually playing music.” (vladh)
  • “Practice practice practice.” (lisote)
  • “Be prepared for hard work, playing the guitar is hard at first and requires patience, determination and above all time. If you are prepared to practice half an hour a day you will start to get results within a month or two and you will be playing your favourite songs which is when the fun really begins.” (Jon)
  • “Persistence. To begin with your fingers won’t like it & it can be frustrating, but with regular practice (said countless times, 10/20mins a day is better than a 4hour practice once a week) it will suddenly click & feel very natural, almost so that you’ll find it hard remembering what it was like in the beginning.” (Simon)

2. Find a Way to Stay MotivatedLearning to play the guitar won’t be easy. To begin with you will sound terrible and feel totally uncoordinated. Your finger tips will suffer daily pain until you develop callouses. After countless hours of practice you will feel like you are not getting anywhere. Although your family may encourage you on the first day, their words may not be so complimentary after a week or so of daily practice. (Actually, it’s better to practice where you won’t annoy anyone if you can manage it.)

You feel good about learning the guitar now, but what can you do to keep that motivation when for a month or two if you feel like you’re wasting your time?

You might want to set small short-term goals that won’t take so long to accomplish. You might want to visualize yourself onstage playing with a band. You might want to reward yourself somehow after each practice. You might want to find a guitar buddy who is also learning, and cry on one another’s shoulder. You might want to remind yourself that most people find learning very difficult to begin with. However you do it, maintaining motivation is essential, or you might just give up.

Here are your comments from the Open Mic:

  • “Don’t let anyone dishearten you. If they’re a musician they’re being an ar**hole because they would have gone through the same thing and if they’re not a musician then your doing something they probably wish they were. Although you should find that most people will encourage you, everyone loves to be serenaded or when you kick out a song they can bellow out to.” (Simon)
  • “Don’t be put off if things don’t sound right at first.” (Chris Blizzard)

3. Learn the Basic Skills the Right Way

Playing guitar involves a combination of basic skills. Take time to learn those skills, and learn them properly.

Some people have a very narrow musical education. Toby Pitman told me about one of his students who impressed the class with an amazing lead guitar solo. Toby then asked him to play a G chord, and the guy stared back blankly. A guy I went to uni with impressed me with a classical piece. I assumed he was an amazing player until he told me that was all he could play.

So make sure you learn all of the basic skills. Get a book or teacher or online course to make sure. Learn notes and learn chords. Learn rhythm and learn lead. Learn strumming and learn picking. And don’t be in so much of a hurry that you skip lessons.

And learn those skills properly. Be fussy. You will sound terrible to begin with, but don’t be satisfied with it! Work at it until you sound better. When you play a chord, check every string to make sure it sounds clearly, and one of your fingers aren’t leaning on it giving it a muted sound. Make sure you use the correct fingers when playing chords and playing scales. Make sure the way you hold the guitar, the angle of the guitar, your right-hand grip and left-hand wrist action are correct.

This isn’t to say that there is one and only one way to do everything – personal preference and comfort certainly come into it – but that you shouldn’t be satisfied with being sloppy, and that you should be concerned to do things in the most efficient and effective way. Remember you are learning motor skills, and if you teach your fingers a bad habit, it will be very difficult to break.

Here is some advice from the Open Mic:

  • “Two things – learn the notes, chords and fingerings in general. That’s not too much fun, though (for me).” (Zach)
  • “Learn Rock Grip now. It will make your life easier.” (thomasfedb) Another commenter and I are not sure what Rock Grip is. Would someone please explain in the comments? But Thomas points out that learning the correct grip earlier rather than later is better.
  • “Learn chords – it’ll sound like a song sooner than if you concentrate on notes and scales exclusively.” (Todd Cumpston)

4.Play in Time

My 14 year old son has just started learning the guitar. Youtube is his teacher, and he spends most of his time learning chords and putting them together. But I can hear something he can’t – often when he is changing chords there is a slight pause. Without realising, he is stopping his rhythm to get his fingering right.

While I’m glad he cares about correct fingering, learning to play in time is also important. Play regularly with a metronome. Playing along with a CD or other person is also helpful. Practice playing slow, and practice playing fast. If you don’t have a metronome, use the free one over at www.metronomeonline.com.

A few of you commented about metronomes on the Open Mic:

  • “Whatever you are going to play, play it with a metronome.” (Omar)
  • “Practice practice practice and of course, as Omar said, with metronome.” (losote)

6.Learn to Listen

Listening is a highly under-rated skill. More than just about anything else it will help you become a great player.

Listen to others playing, both live and on albums. What sort of guitar are they playing? Are they strumming, picking, or playing single notes? What sort of tone are they achieving, and how?

Carefully listen to yourself as you practice. Can you hear when you do something wrong? Is your guitar out of tune? Are all of the strings sounding clearly? Do the notes and chords you are playing sound even? How can you improve your tone?

And listening is most important once you are playing in a band. What are the other instruments playing? What can you play to compliment them? Should you play more or less to fit in with the sound of the band? What rhythm are the drums and other guitars playing? What can you play to enhance the groove?

Here is some advice about listening from the Open Mic:

  • “Learn to *listen* to music. Learn to recognize intervals, learn to recognize how different chords sound and what feeling they carry. Try to imitate your favorite recordings to train your ear. This will greatly improve your playing and musical feel, and will give you five steps ahead when learning any instrument.” (wwwald)
  • “Learn songs by ear. It’s great to be able to read music, but learning to deconstruct what you’re hearing and play it without any tablature or sheet music is a great way to develop critical listening skills, build repertoire, learn a range of techniques, and develop your ability to quickly digest and apply new material (for example, when learning repertoire of a band). What’s more, it’s fun!” (Glynn)

6.Learn Some Music Theory

When I was at school a lot of kids complained about math. “How am I going to use this in the real world?” they asked. I loved math and didn’t understand the question.

Music theory is the same. Some love it and some hate it. But it always helps to know some. Especially when you can see how it improves your playing.

Consider learning some sort of music notation. Every guitarist should be able to read a chord chart. And the Internet is full of guitar tabs, so you may want to learn how to read it, especially if you’d like to learn riffs and melodies.

You should know the note names of each string. It is worth learning the notes for each fret along each string. You might want to learn scales and how chords work.

Guitarists have varying feelings about music theory, and this came out in the Open Mic:

  • “Be able to sight read SHEET music (tabs are useless in a recording environment) . Understand chord charts. and metronome metronome metronome! Also, don’t get caught up in playing leads. Become a strong rhythm player first. You wouldn’t believe how many people I have recorded that can’t play simple upstroke patterns or lack the understanding of basic time signatures.” (Deems)
  • “I’m afraid I’ve got to disagree with this. Maybe sight reading sheet music will help you if you want to eventually become a session player, but most people DON’T become session players. Play what you want to play, the way you want to play it. BUT remember that sheet music does offer more than tab ever will, so it is worth learning. You may have found that from recording people, I’ve found whilst teaching people bass, that they don’t want to sit and learn how to site read, it puts them off. better to let them tell you a song they want to play, you listen and figure out techniques required, teach them those, and then teach them the song. then pick another song, teach new techniques required for the song, teach them the song…” (Chris Blizzard)
  • “Don’t learn theory in isolation. Whatever you learn – a new scale, chord, the name of an interval you like the sound of, a technique like bends or hammer-ons – apply it to something musical. There is value in simply repeating exercises, scales, etc., but to get these things into your vocabulary, do it in a musically meaningful way: improvise some melodies with a scale, play a riff you already know and add in those hammer-ons, etc. Again, this is fun!” (Glynn)

Play the Guitar with Good Technique

Lear how to play the guitar

I taught myself how to play guitar and I’ll admit this resulted in learning some very bad habits that are proving difficult to shake off. I didn’t have awesome apps like Uberchord to guide me. The common problem with novice guitar players is impatience — those how-to books and websites insist that you to take things slowly, focus on the basics and get things right from the start, whereas you want to begin shredding solos and be leaping from a stack of Marshalls with every power chord within… oh, a few weeks would be nice.

If you watch any of the best players in the world, regardless of whether they play classical tunes or heavy rock, they all have one thing in common — good technique, meaning they’re properly applying all those basic requirements for playing great guitar. Have a look at someone like John Petrucci (Dream Theater). Sure, on first impressions he’s going to frighten the hell out of your grandmother, but check out his left hand as he performs. Those blistering solos and chord progressions are achieved with what seems effortless ease and minimal movement, all because Petrucci mastered how to play the guitar with good technique from the start. Good technique, in the final analysis, is the proven best and most proficient way to play, putting your hands and fingers in the right place at the right time.

Here are my best 10 tips for learning how to play the guitar with good technique. Some of them are kind of obvious, while others are the result of long experience. I hope they help. By the way, let’s assume you’re right-handed player. Lefties can make the obvious adjustment.

1. Avoid The Left-Hand Death Grip

When you first start playing, straight away you’ll discover that pressing the strings against the fret board
is hard work, hurts your fingers and makes your wrist ache. The natural way to combat this is by hooking your thumb over the top of the fret board to get leverage, which inadvertently causes you to press the strings more with the flat pad of your finger (where your fingerprint is) rather than the actual fingertip.

This is sometimes called the “death grip”, because you do end up with a fairly fierce grip on your neck and it restricts the reach of your fingers. The proper technique is to have your thumb on the back of the guitar’s neck. This forces your hand to use the fingertips, which is far better and more accurate when it comes to playing just the notes you want without accidentally muting adjacent strings. The trouble is — it feels kind of weird and difficult at first, and your wrist will lack strength. Stick with it and you’ll appreciate the benefits further down the track. Remember, thumb on the back of the neck.

2. Rehearse Standing Up And Sitting Down

Okay, things are hard enough as it is without expecting you to waltz around the room while you’re playing. The important thing is, if you’re going to take this dream all the way, one day you’ll be standing up in front of crowd. Playing with your guitar slung across your shoulder is a very different posture to sitting down.

On a chair, you tend to hunch over and try to see what your hands are doing (another bad habit you want to avoid). Then, when you’re standing up, everything changes. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find it much harder to see your left hand, for a start. Make sure you have a good guitar strap, adjust it to a comfortable length (forget slinging it down around your knees — looks cool, but it’s a crap playing position) and regularly practice playing while you’re standing up.

3. No Need For Speed

Don’t ever bother trying to learn how to play fast. Really, don’t do it. Good technique is about accurate fingering and hitting the right notes every time, especially when it comes to scales and playing tricky bar chords. Concentrate on precise fingering. The truth is, learn to play properly andspeed will happen all by itself. The biggest obstacle to fast playing is poor technique. Learn good technique and fast fingering will be a chucked-in-for-free bonus. Always take your time and play slowly. Use Uberchord Guitar App, it is a free app that listens to you while you practice guitar and corrects when you play wrong.
4. Always Use Correct Fingering

Over the centuries of guitar playing the experts have long figured out the best way to play certain chords and scales, meaning which fingers should be playing certain notes on the fret board.

Occasionally, you might discover an easier way of playing these — you’re a musical genius and never knew it. Don’t be tempted. Correct fingering isn’t just about playing that chord or scale properly. Adding variations is considered too, such as sevenths and ninths, and your custom style of fingering a chord might prove that those variations can’t be played (yep, this is one of the things I learned the hard way). Pay careful attention to the correct fingering of a chord and your hand’s position on the fret board for scales. Uberchord will show you exactly how to do it.

Piano Tips On Lesson Just At Home

Piano lesson myths are so ingrained into our culture and our consciousness that it almost seems silly to counter them. But on close examination, even the most “obvious” beliefs about piano study and piano practice are not only wrong, they are damaging to the individual who is bound by their chains. This material is an attempt to help pianists of all levels be liberated from such mental constraints, attitudes and assumptions regarding piano lessons, so that they might truly reach their goals.

“My teacher will drop me if I make a lot of mistakes.”

Reality: Most teachers enjoy teaching and are inspired when they see someone who really tries and is diligent with their practice. In fact, good teachers PREFER to witness your mistakes so they can help you not only fix the problem, but learn how to avoid the problem in the future. This could be in the realms of practicing suggestions, fingering, hand position, eye movements and more. If you have latent mistakes that you somehow are able to hide for the lesson, the teacher may not be able to help you fix these hidden problems, which means that they may appear later when you are performing. Also, fear of making mistakes tends to distract you from the music and will actually CAUSE the very mistakes you were trying to avoid! So, never be afraid to make mistakes for your teacher.

“I have to study classical music before I can play pop or jazz.”

Reality: If a student’s ultimate goal is to play popular music, or even to do it with classical on an equal footing, this idea that you must study classical music first is incorrect. In fact, even if one’s goal is to focus strictly on classical literature, there is great value in studying popular chord technique and improvisation. The best way to study music theory is through POPULAR music! This is because chords are presented in a straightforward manner, as chord symbols, without even having to read music! (These are sometimes called “guitar chords” and are printed above the music staff.) Theory knowledge can make you a better performer, a better sight-reader, a better memorizer, a better interpreter and a better overall musician! And, of course, these attributes are applicable to playing classical music. The easiest way to start a path towards music theory is to study popular music, with a teacher who knows how to explain chord-reading (not notation). So, one could study classical first and then popular, but considering that these are different skills that take time to master, why not do them concurrently? To avoid popular music till classical music is mastered will make it much harder to learn music theory and in turn to derive the benefits of this knowledge.

“Children learn faster than adults.”

Realty: There is no difference. From my own personal experience of teaching both children and adults since 1975, this idea that a child’s brain is more receptive is incorrect. What may be true is that the child is less encumbered by the busy-ness of life and tends to have less mental clutter. This state results in a naturally-better focusing ability which creates the illusion that the child may be able to absorb new material faster than the adult. However, what the child often doesn’t have is desire. The adult really wants to study piano. And this great desire creates the same type of focus that is needed for quick learning. In fact, adults who have this intention, often from wanting to make up “for lost time,” often learn faster than children! The adult who is just a dabbler who doesn’t have the great desire is a typical hectic, frazzled adult. This type of adult is the adult who will tend to learn slower — not because they don’t practice enough, but because their energy is so distracted. Another cause of distraction is self-judgement and stress and impatience that is associated with learning. Adults have had their lifetimes to become familiar with music so they know how it is “supposed” to sound, whereas children usually have never heard the piece they are learning. As a result, adults do tend to become easily frustrated by comparing their current ability to play a piece with the way they know it should sound — and THIS comparison can cause enough stress and anxiety that the adult student will often lose interest or stop playing altogether. So adult students need to take caution about this unnecessary temptation to think they “should” sound like a professional pianist after only playing for three weeks. The adult student must learn to embrace his or her current ability with grace and appreciation. From this point improvement will occur.

“Since I didn’t begin studying piano as a child it I’ll never be able to play well as an adult.”

Reality: It’s never too late. Early neural stimulation as a child DOES help with musical intelligence as an adult, but it need not be from the piano. For example, kids who are great at sports or gymnastics or dance are often the best at piano, when they eventually try it. That’s not a surprise to most people. But what is a surprise is that adults show the same parallel! An adult who had been athletic as a child will find it easier to learn piano as an adult, because the advanced neurological stimulation lasts one’s whole life. It is simply a new application. If you’re had a nurturing, stimulating environment as a child, you will definitely have an advantage when you begin piano studies as an adult. If you had limited exposure to physical experiences as a child, this would tend to make it more difficult to learn the piano whether you are a child or an adult.

“I should study finger technique before playing actual music.”

Reality: Is physical technique and accuracy more important than interpretation and expression? No. Does physical technique and accuracy take more time to master than interpretation and expression? No. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, but both require a lot of time. The best way to develop interpretation and expression is through the repertoire. In some countries, it is common to have a student just do drills for 5 years before they are allowed to play any music. Then the student is allowed to play repertoire. It’s no surprise that these performers play accurately and fast, with very little expression. The best thing to do is to study music along with finger technique. Ideally, the difficulty of the technique level should always be slightly ahead of the requirements of the repertoire.

“I must practice every day.”

Reality: Taking two or three guilt-free days off from practicing each week will help you progress faster than if you practiced everyday! Think body building. People who work out or who lift weights are always told to rest the day after a workout. Why? Because the workout tears down the muscle tissue and the day off is when it is rejuvenated and built up stronger than before. Our brains are similar to this. The rest periods are when your brain assimilates your effort. Also, the reason it must be guilt-free is so that you get the complete benefit of the day of rest. If you intend to practice seven days a week and you miss a day, you will be inclined to be stressed about it during the inadvertent day off. So instead of relaxing from the piano on that day, you are more stressed. In fact, with this more typical approach, you may be inclined to practice more the next day with the hopes of “making up” for the missed day. This approach never works. You can’t cram the piano. All you will get is more and more errors and more and more frustrated because your poor brain is never given a rest it desperately needs. For best results, just practice only 4 days a week. This allows you to plan-in 3 days a week of guilt-free rest. (These days do not have to be in a row.) This is realistic and supportive because things often come up for us in our busy lives anyway. By making 4 days a week 100% of the requirement, if you do more, you feel great.

“Long sessions of practice time are best.”

Reality: Shorter times are optimal. After about 15 minutes of an activity, the average person becomes mentally fatigued. Short bursts of concentration repeated frequently are much more effective than one long session. So, even if you only have 10 minutes, DO IT. Do another 10 minutes later in the day or the next day. By the end of the week, you might have 16 micro practice sessions, yet only practiced on 4 days. This is highly efficient. Instead, if you have the goal of practicing an hour or practicing a half hour, another day goes by with ZERO practice. Why is this? Because our life gets so busy and that half hour or hour just doesn’t materialize. The result is that you miss practicing ALTOGETHER. If you could sneak in five minutes here or 10 minutes there, you would miraculously accrue that half hour or hour that you had intended to practice! In fact, even if you had the luxury of sitting for six hours at the piano and didn’t have other typical competing issues that life brings, it would STILL be preferable to break up your practice into smaller segments. Also, do not practice if you are tired, angry, distracted, or in a hurry or you will “learn-in” these feelings. On a professional level, if you find yourself seated at the piano for an extended period of time, you can still observe these principles by rotating the activity while still remaining at the piano. For example, you can spend 20 minutes learning a new passage of one piece. Then switch to practicing some finger technique. This way, your mind is resting while your fingers are getting a workout. Then GO BACK to the same passage and you will be mentally refreshed. Then work on a section of a different piece. Then do a little sight-reading. Then back to the first piece. And so on. Keep it in rotation.

Easy tips to play piano

1.Take A break

You never want practicing to become a chore, though it can start to feel that way sometimes. Learning an instrument takes persistence and dedication, and practice can become frustrating when things don’t come as easily as you’d like. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, do something else for a few hours, or even the day. Taking a break will help relieve your stress and frustration, and make you more refreshed and confident for the next practice session.

2. Play Music You Enjoy

The key to improving is regular practice. But if you’re feeling unmotivated because you don’t love the music you’re playing, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick with it. By adding a few of your favorite tunes to your routine, you’ll be more excited to practice the piano. Even if these tunes don’t challenge your skills that much, it’s always beneficial to get your fingers on the keys, so make it more fun for yourself!

3. Learn Your Theory

Though it can seem boring at first, learning the fundamentals of music theory will make playing the piano a lot more fun as you progress. This foundational knowledge will allow you to play more freely as your skills improve, and give you the ability to play a wider, more varied repertoire. Learn the basics of theory, including key signatures, note values, chords, rests, the grand staff, etc. Test yourself regularly—make sure you can identify the difference between a quarter note and an eighth note, a G and a D on the grand staff and piano, and a major chord and a minor chord. You can pick up a basic music theory book for self-guided learning, or take some private lessons for more hands-on education.

Use these helpful acronyms to remember the notes of the grand staff, starting at the bottom of each staff and going up:

  • Bass clef lines: Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always
  • Bass clef spaces: All Cows Eat Grass
  • Treble clef lines: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge
  • Treble clef spaces: F A C E

4.Work on Scales

Scales help engrain your knowledge of the 12 key signatures. When you play scales as part of your regular routine, you’ll learn which notes are sharp or flat within each key, and your hands will become more familiar with the piano at the same time. Take your time, and don’t worry too much about learning all the scales and playing them perfectly right away. To build your accuracy, it’s a good idea to start slowly and gradually increase your speed, as we talk about in the next tip.

5. Take It Slow

It’s important to start out at a slow tempo when learning scales and new pieces of music. Firstly, you want to learn the music the right way, with the correct notes and rhythms. If you rush through the music, skipping notes and missing rhythms, it’ll be harder to come back later and fix your engrained mistakes. Secondly, you want to acquire the muscle memory and technique required to play the piece well. If you learn something in a sloppy, rushed manner, you won’t gain the technical ability to play it properly, and you’ll probably develop bad habits that will be difficult to overcome later.

Simple and easy way to play piano

Everybody is under intense time pressure these days, and musicians are no exception. In reply to the many requests about efficient piano practice, here are some expert tips that can help you make the most of your practice time.

  1. Get organized. Practicing the piano efficiently is really about how to organize oneself to get the best results from the effort expended. It’s essential to be very clear about our daily practice objectives. Many students find that writing a daily practice plan helps them to focus on their most important practice tasks and gives them a feeling of accomplishment as they complete each one. Teachers can write plans for beginning students so that they know exactly what to focus on at home.
  2. Focus on one task at a time. Discipline yourself to complete each practice goal before moving on to the next. In the long run, you’ll save enormous time by completing the day’s work on your Mozart sonata before studying Debussy, rather than bouncing back and forth between them at whim. While you might not get that new Chopin etude note-perfect and up to tempo today, you can indeed ‘finish’ a given passage with musical polish at a slow tempo. Indeed, Sviatoslav Richter’s way of building his enormous repertoire was to finish each line of music before moving on to the next.
  3. Only practice with full concentration! In his autobiography, Daniel Barenboim cites this as a fundamental rule for practicing. If your practicing does not demand enormous reserves of concentration, then you’re not practicing properly. Five minutes of concentrated practice is far more valuable than five hours of moving your fingers while your mind wanders. The mind must be active at all times, since it is first and foremost the mind that must play the piano.
  4. Always warm up first! Properly warmed-up hands will allow you to accomplish the physical tasks demanded by difficult repertoire with greater ease and with fewer errors. I find that scales and arpeggios make for the best warm-up.
  5. Practice slowly. It is a known psycho-physiological fact that the brain cannot absorb musical information in detail when playing fast. It is therefore essential to work slowly and carefully at all times. Never try to force speed, as such attempts are harmful both to the memory and to acquiring velocity.
  6. Don’t allow yourself the ‘luxury’ of mistakes. Mistakes cost far too much time to repair and only create uncertainty, whereas your practice ought to build security. Remember, your performance is a direct result of how you practice, and efficient piano practice means playing correctly. If you start making mistakes, it means either that you’re going too fast to learn the music or that your brain is tired. If that’s the case, it’s best to take a break and do something—anything—else.
  7. Practice only short passages. The brain absorbs musical information much more readily when it is not overwhelmed by quantity. Each day, practice just one passage, and practice it extremely carefully and thoroughly. This makes for far more efficient piano practice in the long run.
  8. Schedule your practice sessions. As useful as this tip may be, it must be subsidiary to the rule of only practicing when the mind can best concentrate. For many people, this is first thing in the morning. Not only is the mind fresh, but you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment having started your day by completing a major task, not to mention an emotionally rewarding one.
  9. Keep a practice journal. A practice journal is a log of your practice sessions, including what you practice and for how long. It can be a notebook or even a spreadsheet. At the end of each practice session, write down exactly which pieces you studied and the number of minutes spent on each one. I’ve discovered that timing myself forces the mind to focus, and the clock doesn’t lie. At the end of the week, month and year you can discover how much time you spent on each piece, which can help you when planning your repertoire and performances in the future.
  10. Study away from the piano. Some of the most efficient piano practice can be accomplished without a piano. Analyze the piece, listen mentally, hear each voice in your inner ear, sing each line, discover thematic relations and harmonic subtleties. It is always amazing to me how many music students simply learn notes without ever really knowing the piece or its compositional strategy. Instead, be sure to make mental study and analysis an integral part of your piano practice.

Piano is the great idea for enjoying your day

Many people who want to learn to play the piano are put off by the idea of spending long, boring hours learning music notes. If you are serious about learning to play the piano, the first thing you will need to do is put those negative thoughts behind and start with an open mind. It does take time and yes, you have to learn the music notes, but it does not have to be boring, and it certainly does not have to take forever before you learn to play on your own. Follow these seven steps carefully, and you’ll be playing your first songs independently in a very short time.

Step 1: Getting Familiar with Your Notes

Picture of Getting Familiar with Your Notes

Music notes may seem strange now, but so did the letters of the alphabet when you first encountered them as a child. Your curiosity and the constant use of the written and spoken language around you have furnished your ability to read and not be scared of written words when you see them. The same will happen for music notes. They are the ABC of music, and with constant practice you will learn to sight read them just like you are sight reading this information now. Here goes:

Let’s start you off with the popular show tune from “The Sound of Music” – Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. You know it –right? Sing it out loud. Music notes are marked by the letters A B C D E F G. The show tune will be used to help you get the pitch of the notes as well as to learn the keys.

Look at music notes on the grand staff below.

That note in the center of the staff is Middle C. Position yourself in the middle of your piano, and let’s find Middle C and learn the piano keys.

Tip: The notes on the Treble Clef (top) are the higher pitch notes and those on the Bass Clef (bottom) are the lower pitch. The treble clef notes (higher notes) match up with the keys going to the right of Middle C and are often played with the right hand unless the music piece requires otherwise.