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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. 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! 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 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. Piano growth occurs primarily from the cumulative time spent practicing, even if this is sporadic. But you really only have ten months of actual growth. You cannot rush it.

When you take it up again, you may have a short period of review but you will pretty much be back to where you had left off and then you will progress from that point. Reality: Professionals incorporate the fingering into their ability to read music. In order to do this, one must be keenly aware of the fingers to be used on a passage. It is not necessary to read the actual name of each note. Simply read the first note of a sequence and then relatively move to each note from there, by using adjacent fingers.

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This skill is developed from honoring the fingering printed, implied and personalized. Beginners who assume that fingering is just for beginners will NEVER develop the very professional security and speed that professionals have because the very thing that is needed will have been skipped!

Reality: Professional studio musicians write in the score. They are paid to get it right the first time, because time is money. They do everything they can to make it clear for themselves, including making notes in the score. This could be adding fingering, putting note-names in, circling tricky passages, enlarging time signatures, darkening repeat bars, etc.

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This is so misguided! Of course it is useful to learn how to sight-read. In fact, you should be using Super Sight Reading Secrets if you are very serious about improving your sight-reading. This means that you should use consistent fingering so the muscle memory has a chance to set in.

FAQs : Harmony Road

If you write every note in, or every finger in, it becomes too cluttered and it loses its value. Also, use pencil, never pen, in case you want to make changes to your notations. It absolutely mystifies me why the average piano teacher indoctrinates students into not looking at their hands. For example, it is very hard to develop the muscular memory, and therefore the ability to play fast, when your eyes are always glued to the page.

Otherwise, to look ahead is virtually impossible. This is because when you look at a note on the score, you then need to look down to your hands in order to play it. This will happen with each note read! By looking back to the score for THIS note, after having looked down at your hands, you will never get lost. Reality: For the small percentage of people for whom this may be true, there is a much higher percentage of people who end up permanently pulling away from music!

BABY SHARK (Piano Tutorial Lesson)

These are people who, as a result, overcompensated by having NO music in their life at all! These broken souls need a lot of encouragement and healing and love. They can definitely become confident musicians in the long run, but it is very hard work at that point, because the trauma often cuts so deeply into their consciousness. If I detect that a child does not like the piano, then I will inform the parents that I cannot be his or her teacher, because I do not want to perpetuate such a cycle. Reality: The very steps that bring you to a certain level of mastery are the ones that will help to maintain that level of mastery.

Most people assume that practicing hands separately is a temporary step towards the goal of playing hands together. This is because only when you practice hands separately can you really focus on certain nuances that would be obscured if you were spreading your focus between two hands. The better hands are mastered separately, the more reliable and proficient it will be when you then bring hands back together.

You could be over-stressing the muscles. You could be at a wrong height, wrong distance, wrong angle, wrong pressure, etc. There are so many things to consider regarding piano technique. Experiencing pain is a warning that you must STOP immediately and find another way. Pain is your clue that you are on the way to developing carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis or other injuries. Reality: Great pianists come in all shapes and sizes.

There is no preference for long slender fingers.

In fact, if there were a preference, it would be tapered fingers. These are fingers that are thick and muscular at the point where they connect to the hand, but become thinner towards the tips. This allows the fingers to have strength yet can also easily fit between the black notes, when necessary. Reality: Start now. But there are other types of improvisation.

Therefore they are NOT mental. I find that it is valuable to allow yourself to develop these alternative methods of self-expression concurrently while you are studying theory. This is because they will create an intimacy or connection to the keyboard that you ultimately will want. For example, if you studied theory for eight years, you might STILL feel a veil between your fingers and the keyboard.

Knowing theory alone will not make you a better improvisor. You also need courage, spontaneity, and freedom to express what you hear in your head instantly. How will you develop this intimacy with the piano?

Why the Over Under Method Works

Playing your feelings and tuning-in to something bigger than you, without judgment, a little bit every day, is a wonderful way to develop this comfort level. Eventually, when you do know all the theory you desire, your fingers will be at liberty to execute every musical whim. Reality: This dictum from the Hanon finger exercise books and other old-fashioned technique carry-overs causes more problems than anything else.


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When you train the fingers to raise higher than necessary, you are training them to travel a greater distance than necessary. This seriously slows down your potential speed and creates much more tension in the playing than necessary. Reality: Start your practice session with the most difficult activity, while your mind is freshest. Generally, the most mentally taxing aspect of studying piano is learning new repertiore.

The assumption that we need to warm up the hands before we work on our pieces is truly misguided. When you first sit at the piano, you are the most alert.