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14 Common Musical Terms All Piano Players Need to Know

As you’re learning how to read music on the piano, you’ll come across a lot of different words and terms that will seem like a foreign language. And that’s because… they are!

Most sheet music terms you’ll see are Italian, or have Italian roots, while others are taken from French, German, Latin, or Spanish. But don’t worry — you don’t need to learn how to speak Italian fluently to be a good piano player. There are many piano terms and symbols, but the 14 listed in the infographic below are some of the most common. If you understand these, you’ll be able to play many famous piano pieces in the way the composer intended — and become a better piano player as you continue learning!

piano terms

*Special thanks to online piano teacher Crystal B. for her help with these music term definitions!*

What other sheet music terms have you come across? Do you have any tips for memorizing them? Leave a comment with your questions and advice!

 

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How to Measure the Success of Your Child’s Piano Lessons

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Piano lessons for kids are an investment — so how do you know your investment is worthwhile? Here are some tips for checking in and making sure your child is learning piano at the right pace, courtesy of Brooklyn, NY teacher Liz T

 

If your child has recently started taking private lessons, there are certain benchmarks you can follow to assess musical progress as he or she is learning piano. Many parents are unaware of how to track and measure their child’s musical abilities. These guidelines will help you understand what level of theory comprehension and performance standards your child and his or her teacher should be striving for in the first year of piano lessons.

First Month

Students should begin learning piano by focusing on the right and the left hands, with their correlating numbers for each finger (1-5). Students should begin reading music with these numbers only. This will help train them how to read music and play the piano comfortably at the same time. Students should practice both the left and right hands, starting with 1-3, their thumbs on middle C, playing the white notes on the keyboard, and then using their 4th and 5th fingers.

Three Months

Now that your child is comfortable with identifying their fingers with numbers, they should be moving on to learning the actual note names on the staff paper. They should be familiar with the lines (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge) and spaces (FACE) in treble clef and the lines (Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always) and spaces (All Cows Eat Grass) in bass clef, to quickly identify the notes. Students will also start to interpret simple rhythms, such as half notes, whole notes, quarter notes, and so on.

Six Months

At this time students will be introduced to scales, starting with the easier scales (C, G, F). Learning these scales will also help your child become familiar with the accidentals (sharps and flats). The combination of analyzing the correct note names and rhythms will help students learn simple songs to play.

One Year

At this time, students should be comfortable with reading the notes on the page and practicing their scales. This is also a good time to introduce chords, playing multiple notes in the chord triad in the right and left hand. It may take a while for your child to learn chords, depending the size of their hands. Some students love hammering down on the piano playing chords, while others can be intimidated!

 

All students have different learning styles and paces. Depending on the age of your child, these timelines could vary. Some students may hit these target goals months before the average student is expected to comprehend these subjects, while others may need a few more weeks or months to develop their skills. I wish your student all the success, and if you want to make sure your student is on the right track in their piano lessons, find a great teacher today at TakeLessons!

LizTLiz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

 

 

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how to restore a piano

How to Tell if Your Old Piano is Worth Restoring

how to restore a pianoAre you curious about how to restore a piano that’s been sitting in your basement or storage unit unused? Was an old piano passed down to you, and you’re not quite sure how to make it playable? Here, Katy, TX music teacher Zachary A. shares his advice…

 

A piano is not only a part of the art of music, it is also a work of art itself. The machine is extremely complex and has thousands of moving parts. The piano is also one of the few instruments out there that has stood the test of time. It has a beautiful framework and a sound board supporting tremendous string tension, all concealed by a beautiful finished cabinetry. The piano is not as fragile as other instruments, but it is still subject to deterioration over time. The felt wears, strings break, wooden structures weaken and crack, and the beautiful exterior cabinet loses its finish and elegance.

So what should you do if you have an old, used piano that needs some TLC, and you’re interested in starting to play it?

When discussing how to restore a piano, experts generally use two terms, reconditioning and rebuilding.

Reconditioning

The easier of the two, reconditioning is done by cleaning, adjusting, repairing, and replacing parts when absolutely necessary. Reconditioning only focuses on the parts of the piano that are highly damaged and in high need of repair for the best or desired performance.

Rebuilding

Rebuilding, for the most part, involves a completely disassembling inspection — repairing parts that are in need of repairing, including the replacement of ALL worn, damaged, or deteriorated parts! Rebuilding focuses on the entire structure, including the sound board, bridge, pinblock, and strings, as well as the action, ivory keys, and case refinishing. Rebuilding is a total overhaul of the piano, completely restoring it to its original state, or better! Rebuilding a piano is usually most practical for high-quality instruments, where maximum performance and longevity is required.

How to Know When to Recondition or Rebuild Your Piano

Most pianos can go years without needing to be reconditioned or repaired, although the quality of the tone, touch, and outer appearance of the piano will continue to decline with age. This can be really agitating to someone trying to learn the piano. But ultimately, when regular maintenance that you perform on your piano (such as cleaning, regulating voicing, and tuning) can no longer provide a satisfactory performance, then it might be time for your piano to be reconditioned or rebuilt.

Now, whether your piano is in need of a little reconditioning or a total overhaul of rebuilding depends on its original quality, its surrounding climate, and its usage and performance requirements. One piano may need rebuilding after 20 years of use, but another may last over 50 years. Maybe the most important factor to some will be whether or not the piano has sentimental and personal value. If the instrument has historical value, this can be a key factor in deciding whether a piano should be rebuilt or repaired.

How to Restore a Piano With a Professional

The best thing that you can do is seek out a professional piano restorer — one who has the judgment, experience, and expertise to advise you when making such an expensive and important decision. Remember, when seeking out a professional, always ask for referrals and get a handful of opinions. Do not accept the first opinion of one professional and make up your mind from there!

The key decision: when are major repairs appropriate? When you are seeking out a professional, keep in mind a few important factors:

  • The overall condition of the piano. Pianos that are subject to severe fire, flood, or moving damage may not be repairable, depending on the damage to the instrument.
  • The quality, size, and type of the piano. In general, low-priced, smaller pianos of a poorer quality and design have limited potential. It might be more viable to buy a new piano of better quality and design.
  • Does the cost of repairs exceed the price of replacement? This usually depends on the quality and size of the instrument. Smaller, lower-quality pianos may exceed the replacement price, but high-quality, large pianos may only cost half of the price to replace the instrument.

These guidelines should aid you in trying to decide whether or not a piano is worth rebuilding or reconditioning. Again, always seek out advice from several professionals if you are considering rebuilding; they have the experience and expertise that will help you make your decision. Ultimately, this could help you save money in the long run, not needing to repair your piano again if it’s done right the first time.

Zachary A

Zachary A. teaches guitar lessons in Katy, TX. He is currently working on his Bachelor’s degree in music theory, and has also been playing piano for four years. Learn more about Zachary here!

 

 

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Prepping For a Piano Level Test Your Timeline for Success

Preparing for a Piano Level Test | Your Timeline for Success

Prepping For a Piano Level Test Your Timeline for SuccessWhether playing for pleasure or as a professional, there is likely to come a time when you will be faced with a piano examination, such as the ABRSM piano exam. Like any exam, preparation is key. But when the time comes, how can you make sure that everything goes according to plan?

Before the Exam

  • In the weeks leading up to your exam, this is when you will want to increase your rehearsal. Focus specifically on the pieces that you will be playing on the day. It can be easier (and more satisfying) to only go over the pieces that you find easier to play. In your piano lessons, your teacher is going to notice the pieces that you are struggling with. Don’t be afraid to tackle them head-on. Working on the toughest parts is going to make you feel more confident on the day of your test.
  • Also, do a mock version of the exam, so you know exactly what to expect and what will be required of you. The more familiar it feels, the less nervous you are likely to be on the day. Do a run-through of what will happen on the day, under exam conditions.

On the Day of the Exam

  • If you have never been to the place where your exam is being held before, leave plenty of time to make the journey. Being late and turning up flustered is going to throw your focus. Remember: early is on time and on time is late. Aim to be at least 10 minutes early. Keep the phone number of your piano teacher and the address of the exam venue handy, because no matter how much you prepare, sometimes things do happen outside of your control. If you’re likely to be late, call ahead of time.
  • Make sure that you have something to eat. A great breakfast or a healthy lunch on exam day will improve your focus. We all know that it’s difficult to concentrate if you’re hungry, so even if it’s just fruit, do try to eat something.
  • This isn’t one that many think about, but avoid wearing something that is going to hinder your playing or be a distraction during your exam. Wear something practical and comfortable — leave the loud bangles at home.

During the Exam

  • Get your instrument ready before you go in. Whether you’re at a grand piano or an upright, it is key to make sure that you are comfortable. Take time to adjust your stool if necessary and play a few scales, to get you in the zone to play at your best.
  • As you likely know what to expect by this point, take a few deep breaths and pace yourself. Try not to worry about pausing between pieces. If you would feel more comfortable doing the exam in a different order, that is usually fine as long as you ask your examiner.
  • Don’t panic if you make a mistake. You won’t be the first or the last. Carry on as best you can from it. It is never as bad as it seems at the time. If your examiner stops you during a piece, don’t be alarmed — it may be because they have heard enough to determine the mark.

If the thought of a piano exam is overwhelming, remember that it is just a chance to show off what you and your piano teacher are already sure that you know. The time goes by much faster than you would think and the examiner is rooting for you. Try to enjoy the experience. Good luck!

Need help preparing for a specific test like the ABRSM piano exam? Check out our tips here.

About the Author:
Freya is an avid pianist. Along with her love for cooking, she also deals in piano sales & write in her spare time.

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8 Great Tools Every Piano Teacher Needs On Hand

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Thinking of using your skills to teach piano to others? There are so many online tools to help you along the way! Here are some of the best piano teacher resources, as recommended by New Paltz, NY teacher Cheryl E...

 

Whether you’re in your first year teaching piano students or your 50th year, here are seven great tools and resources that every piano teacher needs to keep new students rolling in and sticking around for the long haul!

1. This worksheet bundle. Have your students learning to read music in 21 days? Um, yes please! These packets are awesome and skip the acronyms (Every Good Boy, etc., ) and get right to being able to read music. Perfect for all ages!

2. This quiz and game website. Check out this site that a music teacher created. It offers free interactive games and quizzes AND access to the software links where you can build your own to cater to your students. Very cool.

3. This metronome app. Besides using this as a standard metronome, I also use it to see how well my student gauges tempo (you can tap along with the student to find out the tempo at which they are playing). As a composer, I use this app all the time for quick references of ideas in my head.

4. This podcast for jazz piano. Paul’s voice is the bomb. I mean, he’s from London, so that helps. And he talks through his piano chops seamlessly. Great for teachers and students wanting to explore jazz.

5. YouTube on your iPad (or phone or laptop). YouTube is the place to be pulling examples from when teaching your students. Bring an iPad loaded with awesome videos of mash-ups, inspiring performances of a piece your student is working on, or alternate ways of performing a passage. Not only will you look oh-so-cool, but you’ll break up the lesson and show your student that music exists out in the world in lots of neat ways.

6. This note-reading app. This is great for your teen who won’t practice or the kid who’s glued to the iPad. It treats reading music like a game but is also sleek and simple.

7. This career coach. Oh hey, that’s me! Here’s the thing: One-on-one coaching is the most effective way to bust through career plateaus. Coaches provide two things: new ideas and accountability. If you do not get new ideas, growth is impossible. And if you don’t have someone holding you accountable, you will go back to you default ways of working, which also does not allow for growth. What is cool about my coaching is that I also work with you on your branding and marketing — your website, the content of the site, your pricing structures, and new ways to get and keep new students.

8. TakeLessons.com. I’m listed as a TakeLessons teacher, and it’s probably the best teacher tool on the internet for getting found. The easy user interface makes it easy to manage your teaching calendar, payments, and canceled lessons in addition to gathering testimonials and increasing the chance that prospective students will find you. Both parties have the security of the TakeLessons cancellation policy, so there’s no need to badger my students for payments. Very convenient!

So try some or all of these out and see how many of the great piano teacher resources you will find yourself unable to live without!

CherylECheryl is a film and TV commercial composer and singer/songwriter with multiple tours, records, and TV placements under her belt. If you turned on your television this year, you’ve definitely heard her music. She teaches piano and voice in addition to composition and arrangement in New Paltz, NY. Learn more about Cheryl here!

 

 

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tips for learning piano

3 Other Musicianship Skills You Need to be a Great Pianist

 tips for learning pianoOne of the best tips for learning piano is making sure you have a well-rounded skill set! Read on as online piano teacher Crystal B. shares her thoughts…

 

The piano is definitely a unique instrument and playing piano requires a specific skill set. However, there are some basic musicianship skills that every piano player needs.

Timing

When people think of musicians that need great timing, they typically think of the drummer. But it’s equally important for a piano player to have great timing! Many times, new piano players overlook this very critical skill and feel that it’s not as important as other elements. But good timing is one of those fundamental music skills that is extremely important no matter what instrument you play.

A large part of being a great musician is being able to play with the right “feel,” and acquiring this skill starts with timing. Being a rhythmic player becomes even more important if you are playing with other musicians, especially in the studio. In most studio settings, you will be playing to a “click track,” which basically functions like a metronome to keep everyone on the same page rhythmically. So when your music teacher is asking you to play with a metronome, just know, you are practicing a skill that you will definitely use at some point!

Theory

Knowing music theory is probably one of the most powerful tools you can have, regardless of the instrument you play. When you gain the understanding of how music works — why certain chords sound good together and why certain keys/scales have sharps and flats (the black keys) — this unlocks so much potential as to what you can accomplish as a musician. The other great thing about theory, is that it enables you to effectively communicate with musicians that play other instruments. So much about theory crosses over to every instrument, and knowing it also makes learning additional instruments much easier.

Charts

A lot of times when people think of playing by chord charts, they think of guitar players. Some piano players only play by reading notes, but I highly recommend also learning to play using charts. This will make you a more versatile player and will also help you function well in a setting where you are playing with other instruments (especially guitar players). Also, if you decide to become a session player, you will need to learn the Nashville Number System. Charts are a great way to get the basic knowledge you will need to make learning this much easier.

All of these things are useful musicianship skills which will come in handy regardless of the instrument you play. One other thing worth mentioning, I highly advise students to play with others who play different instruments any chance you get. This is one of the best tips for learning piano, because it’s a great way to become familiar with how other instruments work and what skills cross over. It’s a great learning experience and lots of fun too!

 

CrystalBCrystal B. teaches piano online. She has been teaching all ages and levels for more than 15 years. Learn more about Crystal here!

 

 

 

 

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piano practice

3 Tips To Avoid Getting Bored During Your Piano Practice

piano practicePiano practice doesn’t have to be boring! Stay motivated with these three tips from online piano teacher Crystal B...

 

Playing piano is a great joy for many people, but sometimes practicing can become repetitive and boring. Here are a few ways to enhance your piano practice time while still honing your skills and acquiring new ones!

• Practical Application

Many times the things that seem most boring when practiced alone (such as scales, theory, etc.) can be found in some of your favorite songs. If you’re getting bored with a particular topic, see if you can find a way to incorporate the new knowledge into something that you’ll enjoy playing. You may need to ask your piano instructor for help with this one; he or she can point you in the right direction and give you a song that will make learning the new skill more enjoyable.

• Diversify Your Practice Time

Instead of working on one thing during your whole piano practice time, divide your time between different things. For instance, try warming up with some technical exercises, doing some note reading, and then playing something by ear or using charts. This will help keep things interesting and will also help you become a more well-rounded musician.

• If You Feel Like Playing Something Specific, Go For It!

While it is important to practice things that aren’t always the most fun, remember, learning a new instrument should be an enjoyable and exciting experience! If you sit down to practice and you are really drawn to a particular song, play it! You can accomplish a lot and have a great time by working on a song that really inspires you — even if it’s not what you intended to practice when you first sat down to play.

Remember, the most important thing is that you keep playing, practicing, and learning new things. Have fun!

CrystalBCrystal B. teaches piano online. She has been teaching all ages and levels for more than 15 years. Learn more about Crystal here!

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Play Me, I'm Yours Austin - piano 5 - photo 07, Apr 16, 2011

10 Fun Ways to Spice Up Your Piano Playing

Play Me, I'm Yours Austin - piano 5 - photo 07, Apr 16, 2011Love to play the piano, but want to take a break from scales and Hanon exercises for a bit? Here are some ideas from New Paltz, NY teacher Cheryl E...

 

It happens to all of us: we get in ruts. Whether you’re bored with your practicing routine or your repertoire, we’ve all been there. But instead of giving up on playing the piano, take action! Here are 10 fun ways to spice up your playing.

1. Put your own spin on it! Try taking a straight song and swing it. Here’s a great example of a swinging Bach piece:

2. If you’re already playing some jazz, why not change up the melody? Write your own on top of the chords and see what you come up with. (You can do this with any style, really. Even scales.)

3. If it’s major, make it minor, and revel in its darkness.

4. Test your chops and transpose the whole song. Take it down a half step, or up a fourth, and see how the piece changes just by transposing it. Does it become lighter? More inspiring? You can discover the reason why the composer wrote it in the original key.

5. Change the tempo. I do this with my singers a lot as well. Take a piece and slow it down so that each note is held until the exact pitch is found. It’s tedious but a wonderful way to internalize the notes. The same is true for fingering for piano. Once you’ve got it super slow, try speeding the piece up as fast as you can and see how you do.

6. Play a song outside your comfort zone. Like Rachmaninoff? Try playing an arrangement of an Eminem song (like this guy). Like pop? Try Mozart, or learning “Fur Elise” so you can say “No, this is how it’s done” when your friends plonk through the first few notes at a bar.

7. Write your own piece. Even if you don’t consider yourself a composer or songwriter, take a very basic chord progression (I-IV-V-I or swap out the I of the vi. Another common pop progression is I-vi-V-IV) and see what kinds of melodies, chordal voicing, and rhythms you can come up with. You have your own taste, and no one’s going to know what you want but YOU.

8. Create a mash-up. We’ve all seen “Glee”. Mash-ups are totally in right now. Try combining two songs that have nothing in common, like “Fur Elise” and that Eminem song — OR try combining all those pop songs that have the same four chords (including the new one you just wrote!). Here’s one of “Roar” with “Eye of the Tiger”:

9. Take a piano lesson! If you aren’t already taking piano lessons, having someone give you new ideas, new exercises, and new repertoire ideas can be just the thing you need to see a new side your piano playing.

10. Get a mentor group! I tell this to all of my career coaching clients. When you have a mentor or coach, you get new ideas and accountability. Yes, your piano teacher definitely counts as this, but it also doesn’t have to be so formal. Go find other piano players in your area and create a group — like a book club except you’ll have a challenge to impress each other with fun new arrangements or something that will have you practicing, performing, and shedding light on what else is possible!

Last thing: have fun! If you’re taking yourself too seriously, take a step back and reexamine why wanted to play the piano. When you remember what you love about music, the piano, playing, and performing, then you’ll really have no problems diving back into it!

CherylECheryl is a film and TV commercial composer and singer/songwriter with multiple tours, records, and TV placements under her belt. If you turned on your television this year, you’ve definitely heard her music. She teaches piano and voice in addition to composition and arrangement in New Paltz, NY. Learn more about Cheryl here!

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Hack Your Digital Keyboard With These 5 Cool Ideas

14020649641_130ed25631_k (1)Have you recently purchased a keyboard or digital piano, and want to explore all the cool things you can do with it? Take a look at these ideas from Corona, CA teacher Milton J...

 

So, we all know this piano instrument is one of the coolest things created in the world (this is fact, not opinion). Because of that, we also understand it is a wonderfully flexible instrument in that we can use it for many different genres of music.

As we take piano lessons, it’s important to start with music theory and the classics to learn chords, melodies, and how to read all of this on sheet music. The reason this is important to learn from the onset of piano lessons is so when we get to the cool stuff mentioned below, once we migrate or supplement the piano with a digital keyboard, we have a musical understanding of what’s happening and we can recreate it at a later time.

So with that, here are some very cool things you can try on a digital keyboard — most of which can be done no matter what brand of keyboard you have, from a basic Casio to a more high-end Yamaha digital piano. Get ready to have some fun!

Drum Patterns

Rhythm is a huge component of playing any instrument. Understanding how poly-rhythmics works can go a long way in instrument reproduction on a digital keyboard. The endgame becomes what drummer The Tommy Drums demonstrates in his keyboard drum cover of Paramore’s “Misery Business” (below). This recreation is wonderful and showcases the versatility of a good digital keyboard. With steady lessons in rhythm during your piano lessons, you’ll soon be able to equate that to the recreation.

Strings and Synths

A good digital keyboard has the capability of replicating the sounds of many different instruments. One of those many instruments are of the string variety. Once you understand how inversions and improvisation functions musically, changing your keyboard settings to a synths or string instrument output can transform your eventual performance or recording. Musician MHanded showcases how he created an improvised “movie soundtrack” track using his Yamaha digital keyboard below.

Guitar

Guitar? On a digital keyboard? If you have a really good digital keyboard, recreating the sounds of the guitar is well within reach. For example, I recently played with the Yamaha Motif XS8 (one of Yahama’s pricier options) and it is quite remarkable what Yamaha has been able to accomplish using digitized sounds. Famed YouTuber and musician Ronald Jenkees demonstrated this possibility in amazing all the way back in early 2008! Sure, recreating these sounds may prove difficult on a lesser-optioned digital keyboard, but if you’ve decided you want to outfit your instrumentation with one keyboard instrument that can replicate many different instruments with incredible sound and clarity and your budget is bigger, the Yamaha Motif series is an amazing option.

Developing Left-Hand Skills to Play Pop Songs

You may have seen the wonderful videos on YouTube of pianists — such as David Sides and Ryan Jones (PianoKeyz) – playing popular songs on the piano. What may seem like a very difficult feat to accomplish is actually not that difficult. One of the underpinnings these pianists use is arpeggiations (playing a note within the chord one note at a time), in addition to playing the melodies either by ear or by sight (but mostly by ear). Developing your left hand will prove crucial in fostering your ability to play your favorite pop songs’ chord progressions across two octaves in conjunction with chord inversions for ear-pleasing bass notes.

Go to Pop Piano Class!

Sure, a masterclass on how to play pop hits seems daunting as a beginner or intermediate piano player, but as you’ve develop your ear to recognize tones and melodies from the radio to the piano, transferring that to learn more songs – maybe even mash-ups – is not too far away. World-renowned pianist and performer Chilly Gonzales teamed up with 1LIVE (Eins Live) in Germany to create a YouTube series “Pop Music Masterclass”, in which he goes over some of the last few year’s top hits reimagined on the piano. While this will take a bit of knowledge and piano independence on your part as you watch and incorporate what you’ve learned on your piano, this is a remarkable challenge that is not only attainable but also very rewarding. Here are some tutorials to check out:

And there you have it! Some cool new tricks you can try on your digital keyboard either in or in-between your piano lessons. Now don’t just sit there staring at your computer screen reading words, let’s get to playing!

MiltonJMilton J. teaches guitar, piano, singing, music recording, music theory, opera voice, songwriting, speaking voice, and acting lessons in Corona, CA. He specializes in classical, R&B, soul, pop, rock, jazz, and opera styles. Learn more about Milton here!

 

 

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Piano Recitals Aren’t Just for Kids! Here’s Why

4626496464_2196ec03bc_bMost people think of piano recitals as strictly ways for young pianists to showcase their skills for proud family members. But adults can benefit from performances and recitals, as well! Learn more in this guest post by Seattle, WA teacher Erica L...

 

The lobby of the piano hall fills with camera flashes, nervous smiles, and small sweaty hands tightly clutching music books. Parents herd their children into the auditorium. However, when scanning the room, it’s clear very few adults are preparing themselves for a performance. One or two may pace nervously, squeeze their partner’s hand, or sit silently in their chairs remembering to breathe deeply. Seemingly these adults torture themselves for nothing. But rather, these students seize the opportunity to advance their skills and confidence.

Recitals secure skills that can only be rehearsed in lessons.

Most adult students instinctively hold themselves to a higher standard because “they know better.” As an adult, mistakes create a more significant negative impact on your self-image as a pianist. And as a result, rehearsing mistake recovery for adult students remains one of top priorities of a piano teacher. Piano lessons prepare you to make particular choices during adrenaline-prone moments. Piano recitals provide you with an opportunity to secure skills such as mistake recovery in these types of high-pressure moments.

Recitals encourage the steady development and growth of a student.

It’s inevitable that the start of January brings a tidal wave of new habits and skills. However, life gets busy, and by February any changes made have come to a halt. Participating in piano recitals provides a tangible deadline to work toward. The likelihood of completing a lesson book or learning a difficult song such as “Over the Rainbow” increases dramatically if you know a performance is on the calendar.

Recitals empower and build confidence.

Participation in recitals allows you to showcase new skills and growth. For example, say you worked on maintaining a steady tempo while playing a Clementi sonatina. However, by not performing the sonatina, you miss the opportunity to hear your practice time and effort validated by an appreciative audience. With that empowerment and success, confidence builds, and you begin to advance through harder skills and pieces.

Recitals teach vulnerability.

Performance requires vulnerability. With each note, you release hours of practice and effort into the hall. The audience will evaluate and listen to the performance. However, audiences listening to piano students never heckle or throw rotten fruit. They only encourage. So what better place can you find to practice making yourself vulnerable? You’ll also find that practicing vulnerability translates to other areas of life (e.g. relationships, workplace, self).

Recitals are more than recitals.

Piano recitals benefit adult students far more than realized. The recital develops security in certain performance skills such as mistake recovery. Additionally, it supports your growth as a student by forcing you to accomplish a goal. After a successful performance, the applause from an audience builds your confidence. You become more empowered and maintain a stronger belief in your capabilities. Finally, recitals provide an opportunity for you to practice vulnerability. Like many vocations, learning to play the piano offers many skills and benefits that translate beyond the music.

Erica

Erica L. teaches piano and music theory in Seattle, WA. She received her B.A. in Piano Performance from Seattle Pacific University. Learn more about Erica here!

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