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famous piano players

10 Wacky Facts About the World’s Most Famous Piano Players [Infographic]

If you’re learning how to play piano, chances are you’ve come across the works of famous piano players, such as Rachmaninov, Beethoven, and Chopin.

But do you know anything about these famous pianists?

Sure these famous piano players wrote and performed some of the most well-known classical music pieces, but their personal lives are equally just as colorful.

For example, did you know that Rachmaninov had enormous hands? Or that Beethoven went deaf at the age of 25?

Check out the infographic below to learn some more interesting facts about the world’s most famous pianists from different eras.

famous piano players

 

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10 Wacky Facts About the World’s Most Famous Piano Players

1. Sergei Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov is described by many as a brilliant pianist, conductor, and composer.

It’s no wonder Rachmaninov was such a talented piano player, as it’s rumored that he had enormous hands that could span 12 piano keys.

2. Ludwig van Beethoven

Virtuoso pianist and talented composer, Beethoven composed dozens of famous concertos that have withstood the test of time.

He was known for improvising, but at the early age of 25 he lost his hearing, which caused him to hear constant buzzing.

3. Franz Liszt

19th century Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist, Liszt was known for his intense performances.

Much like the Beatles, Liszt had thousands of devoted fans who would turn hysterical during his performances.

4. Frédéric Chopin

One of the most celebrated pianists, Chopin has contributed many significant works.

Those who saw Chopin perform were extraordinary lucky, as the legendary pianist only gave 30 public performances during his entire lifetime.

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Who doesn’t think of classical music when they hear the name “Mozart”? While he might have been known for his musicality, Mozart was also famous for his toilet humor.

6. Franz Schubert

While Schubert had a short career, he made an astounding contribution to classical music, having written more than 20,000 bars of music.

Standing at a mere five foot one, Schubert was given the nickname “Schwammerl,” which means little mushroom.

7. Arthur Rubinstein

With remarkable technique and musical logic, Rubinstein was beloved all over the world.

He had the reputation of being a grand storyteller, and was also fluent in eight languages, including English, Polish, Russian, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

8. Glenn Gould

Known for his interpretations of Bach, Gould lived a very eccentric life. He was a hypochondriac with obsessive personality traits.

For example, he wore gloves and an overcoat no matter the temperature. He also insisted on performing on the same chair throughout his entire career.

9. Vladimir Horowitz

Considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Horowitz was best known for his performance of works during the Romantic era.

Horowitz’s father believed in his talent so much that he changed his age on his certificate so that he wouldn’t be enlisted in military service.

10. Claudio Arrau

Known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Arrau was a child prodigy. In fact, he could read music before he could read words.

These are just a few interesting facts about the world’s most famous piano players. Now that you know some piano trivia, share your new knowledge with your friends or piano teacher.

Did we miss any fun facts about your favorite famous piano players? Tell us in the comment sections below!

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True or False? Top 7 Piano Myths…Busted!

MO - True or False Top 7 Piano Myths Busted

There are a lot of myths about learning how to play the piano. In this week’s guest post, our friends from OnlinePianist.com dispel the seven most common myths about playing the piano… 

One way to understand how valuable or how popular something is to our society is to understand the fallacies and myths surrounding it.

Quite often, the more famous something is the more stories and pseudo-intellectual facts there happens to be about it.

The piano it seems is not immune to these elaborate false truths. In fact, there are bucket loads of myths.

We have come up with the 7 most famous myths surrounding the piano… and have officially busted them all!

Myth 1: “Children learn faster than adults.”

Not so fast, young grasshopper.

This one sounds like a doozy, except that it’s not true–at least not true enough. You see, according to scientific research, there is actually no discernible difference in terms of learning the piano between children and adults.

So no more excuses saying you “didn’t learn it when you were young so it’s too late now.” What may be true is that a child is less burdened by the stresses of life and thus tends to have less mental clutter.

As a result, when you can finally get them to sit down for more than two minutes without fidgeting, they can more easily focus their ability on learning music. This creates the illusion that children absorb new material faster than adults.

However, unlike adults, children often lack desire and motivation to play, treating piano playing as a chore rather than a pleasure. Thus, it’s this difference in attitude that makes all the difference between adults and kids.

Myth 2: “Long sessions of practice time are best.”

Must. Practice. Piano. And. Not. Move.

We have no idea who started this rumor. Perhaps it was mother goose who just wanted a breather. Probably not. In any case, we all have experienced some degree of psychataxia–or in common-folk language, a disordered mental state with confusion and inability to concentrate–while playing the piano.

The reason is that after about 15 minutes of an activity, the average person becomes mentally fatigued. Therefore, it is actually advisable, contrary to popular belief, to practice for shorter lengths of time rather than a never-ending marathon.

Short bursts of concentration repeated frequently are much more effective and produce optimal results rather than one long session. So, even if you only have 10 minutes to learn piano online, DO IT.

Myth 3: “I should never write in the sheet music.”

Uh…most of the time notes are good.

We understand that many centuries ago, paper was a rare commodity in the form of papyrus. However, we’re quite sure this myth came about long after paper became widely used.

Perhaps it was for the sake of the environment in order to get everyone to use the same piece of paper? Perhaps not. While writing on sheet music may make it look messy, as long as it’s intended for you, you should do what helps you learn best.

After all,  it’s better to have some cranky old lady frowning at your scribbled notes, than to forget the proper fingering at the time of a recital.

Plus, the notes will help drill the information into your brain faster, meaning that you won’t even be needing the doodled notes for very long anyway.

Check out “7 Piano Myths . . . Busted” to read the remaining four myths. 

Guest Post Author: OnlinePianist
OnlinePianist is the only animated online piano tutorial. Here you can find the biggest collection of free piano lessons. The site includes free piano sheet music and notes, piano chords table, lyrics and hundreds of piano songs.

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[Quiz] What Piano Style Are You?

Whether you’ve just started taking piano lessons or you’re simply thinking about it, chances are you’re curious about the different piano styles out there.

From jazz to classical to pop, there are tons of different piano styles that you can learn. It all depends on what music you’re particularly drawn to.

Your bubbly personality, for example, might be best suited for pop piano. Or perhaps you’re an old soul who’s more into jazz.

Whatever your personality, there’s a piano style out there that’s perfect for you. To help you determine what piano style is best for you, take the fun quiz below.

What piano style did you get? Get started on mastering your piano style by working with an experienced piano teacher.

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piano jokes

50 of the Best Piano Jokes, Quotes, and Puns

piano jokes

Pianos have been a musical staple for centuries. The piano inspires more than just musical sounds; it also makes for a great punch line.

Below are 50 of the best piano jokes, puns, and quotes of all time. Share this list with fellow pianists or your piano teacher.

While we admit some of these piano jokes are a little “out there,” they’re sure to put a smile on your face.

Let the laughs begin…

Best Piano Jokes

Everybody loves a good piano joke! Next time you meet with your piano teacher, start by telling him or her one of these clever piano jokes and see if he or she can’t guess the right answer.

Have you heard about the musician who leaves a message for his wife? Answer: Gone Chopin, have Liszt, Bach in a Minuet.

Why are pianists fingers like lightning? Answer: They rarely strike the same place twice.

The audience at a piano recital was appalled when a telephone rang just off stage. Without missing a note, the soloist glanced toward the wings and called, “If that’s my agent, tell him I’m working!”

What do you call a goat that plays the piano? Answer: Billy Joel.

B flat, E flat, and G flat walk into a bar. The bartender stopped them and said, “We don’t serve minors.”

piano jokes

What do you call a snowman that plays the piano? Answer: Melton John

piano joke

What’s one of the hazards of being a pianist? Answer: People drop money in your drink.

piano jokes

What happens when you play Beethoven backwards? Answer: He decomposes.

piano jokes

What do you get if you enroll in a liberal arts program and the only subject you do well in is music? Answer: A natural major

Funniest Piano Puns

There are a ton of piano puns to go around. Below are a few of our favorite piano puns. Share these with your musical friends and have a laugh.

What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft? Answer: A-flat minor.

Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright? Answer: Because it makes a much bigger boom when pushed off a cliff.

Why did the two pianists have a good marriage. Answer: Because they were always in a chord.

Old pianists never die, they just adagio away.

To climb to the top of a tall piano, you must scale it.

Piano is not my forte.

Don’t date a piano technician, he’ll just string you along

Gimme’ a fifth of Beethoven on the Rachs.

Inspirational Piano Quotes

Need some inspiration to get you through a tough performance or practice session? Below are some inspirational (and humorous) piano quotes that will help keep you motivated.

“Piano: A cumbersome piece of furniture found in many homes, where playing it ensures the early departure of unwanted guests.” – David W. Barber

“The piano ain’t got no wrong notes.” – Thelonious Monk

“Everybody told me this ‘girl on the piano’ thing was never going to work.” – Tori Amos

“The piano has been drinking, not me”. – Tom Waits

“When she started to play, Steinway came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.” – Bob Hope talking about Phyllis Diller’s playing

piano jokes

“Life is like a piano. White keys are happy moments and black keys are sad moments. But remember, both keys are played together to give sweet music.” -Unknown

piano jokes

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts-such is the duty of the artist.”- Robert Schumann

piano jokes

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; toplay without passion is inexcusable.”- Beethoven

While difficult at times, learning how to play the piano should be fun. Lighten up the mood with one of these hilarious piano jokes, puns, or quotes.

Did we leave out any of your favorite piano jokes, pun, or quotes? Share them with us in the comments below!

Looking for more music fun? Check out these violin jokes, riddles and puns!

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5 Games for Teaching Kids Piano

Games That Make Piano Learning For Kids FunPiano is considered an umbrella instrument, meaning, teaching kids to play piano helps them understand music more thoroughly, no matter what instrument they want to play later on. Even most singers first learn the basics of music theory and notation on the piano. Piano lessons at an early age lay out the basics of music-making in black and white (quite literally!). The great news is that you don’t need to know anything about playing piano to inspire your children to want to learn. Below are a handful of fun and easy games you can try out today to get them moving in the right direction. Using these homemade toys and games, you can make playing piano even more fun than sitting in front of a video game!

1. Mood Music

Kids instinctively know how to tell a story. When teaching kids piano, access this part of their young minds by asking them to think of a song to go with the mood of their favorite story. They can start by humming or singing melodies, or go straight to the piano and explore the keys! This will build their confidence in playing simple tunes and composing their own music.

2. Animals on the Keys

Most young kids enjoy learning the names of animals and the sounds they make. From the site Let’s Play Music comes a great suggestion that turns playing piano into playing with animal friends. On the octave starting with middle C, attach animal cartoons that begin with the letter corresponding to each note: Cat, Dog, Elephant, Frog, Giraffe, Ant, Bear. This makes it easier to remember which note is which. Now your child, like their elephant friend, will never forget!

3. Flash Memories

Have some fun with flashcards! For this piano game, create a set of cards covering an octave, with one piano key per card. Just write the name of the note on the back, and sketch out a visual representation of where the note is on the front. You can also make flashcards with notations, like clefs, key signatures, or tempo markings (like “andante”) for more advanced students.

4. A Keyboard for Little Feet

In the movie “Big”, Tom Hanks has to show adults how to have fun with a giant piano keyboard that he jumps on from note to note. Make your own keyboard rug out of construction paper or draw keys on an old white sheet, so they can “play” a tune with their whole bodies. Teaching kids piano concepts using physical play and allowing them to let out some steam helps them sit still later on during more concentrated lessons.

5. From A to G and Back Again

For kids who learn the alphabet through song, going backwards through a scale – G F E D C B A – can be confusing at first. But understanding these piano notes in a variety of orders is one of the main skills they will need to master for playing piano. To help them learn, use magnets or cut letters out of felt and help them rearrange the letters visually. You can also use these movable letters to lay out the notes for simple songs, like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

 

As kids progress through these games, you will learn what motivates them, as well as what areas need extra attention. In order for your child to truly excel, you may want to consider hiring a piano teacher at some point. For now, your  goal should be getting them get comfortable and eager to learn more. Teaching kids piano can be the most fun you have together as a family with these simple games that make music fun from the very beginning!

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Photo by Steve Karsch

5 Fun Online Games For Learning Piano Notes

note reading games for pianoMany people later in life regret not playing an instrument. But it’s never too late to learn! Even just learning a few notes on the piano is an excellent place to start.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of making a beautiful noise come from such an elegant instrument as the piano. And the piano is one of the few instruments that requires only a little bit of learning in order to produce music.

So when you first start, remember that you don’t need to stress about mastering the whole instrument or learning to play a whole song right away. Simply learning the piano notes, even if it’s only a few, will allow you to bring this instrument to life and make you want more!

5 Online Piano Games for Note Reading

When learning is fun, it’s much easier to do! Games are a great way for both kids and adults to learn anything, including the piano. Here are a few options for online piano games that make learning piano notes easy.

1. The Piano Player

From the site FunBrain.com, this game can be played online and has four levels of difficulty. At the easiest level, you’ll be shown a note on the staff and you need to choose the correct key on the keyboard. At this level, the keys are labeled. Harder levels remove the labels and add notes beyond the basics. Though this game is geared for kids, it’s helpful for anyone and really simple to use.

2. Zebra Keys Piano Keyboard Trainer

Zebra Keys Piano Keyboard Trainer takes a different approach with its keyboard game. This program highlights a key on the keyboard, and you must choose the letter corresponding to the note. Switching between choosing the letter and choosing the key when using these different programs is a great way to really cement your knowledge.

3. Synthesia

If you don’t mind spending a little money, Synthesia is a comprehensive program that starts with the basics of learning the notes on the piano. You’ll have to download this game on your computer or get the iOS app from the App Store.

4. Piano Tutor

Piano Tutor is a quick way to give yourself a test on note recognition. You’re scored as you select the notes on the keyboard, and there’s both a visual and audio mode so you can practice hearing the notes also. If you make the wrong selection, the game will show the correct answer, which is helpful for fast learning.

5. NoteCard

NoteCard is a smaller download that has some neat features. You can test yourself on learning to recognize keys on the piano, or on learning piano notes on the staff. You’re scored for your answers and several people can use the program and save their data to their own account. There’s also a testing feature that records your results and allows you to track your progress.

Learning piano notes can be quick and easy using any one (or all) of these fun piano games online. These games are a great way to supplement private lessons and once you learn a few notes, we bet you’ll want to keep learning more. Soon, you’ll be playing chords and entire songs on your own!

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Photo by: Simon Blackley