Learning to play an instrument is a skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you learn to play piano music then you will master a hobby that you can enjoy alone or with friends and family in all kinds of situations. It offers opportunities to open up a variety of other musical experiences.
Music and the Health Issues!
To begin to learn the piano is a challenge but, once begun, is a hobby that can be returned to at any time. It gives complete freedom to express yourself in another medium whenever you wish. Playing the piano is a relaxing way to unwind after a busy day at work or a diversion if you are feeling depressed or lonely. It has the effect of lightening your mood.
Once you have learned to read music and play the piano you may find you are more interested in other forms of music. You might find you wish to attend classical or pop concerts or operas. You will begin to understand the form of the composition. Once you begin to learn about structure of pieces then you should begin to appreciate the music that will accompany productions such as ballets. Learning to play the piano will open up a whole new approach to everything musical.
There are two distinct ways to learn to play the piano. The traditional method is to choose a piano teacher who will teach you for half an hour or an hour and gradually build up your ability to play simple pieces of music. Eventually you can progress to more complicated pieces. You will be able to enter for examinations if you wish. It is important to choose the right teacher, though. If you are taking up music in later life, then a teacher who will be sensitive to your learning speed, will be ideal. A youngster will be able to learn much more quickly.
The second method is to take a piano learning package on-line. These are computer based courses that integrate theory with visual and audible exercises. Very early on in the course you will learn to play simple songs or tunes. You may find that this method of learning may be more enjoyable. There are DVD’s, audio CD’s and workbooks for this method. There could be less emphasis on learning to play scales which is a good discipline but can be tedious.
If you choose a traditional approach, you will obviously have to start with the basics. First, an understanding of the piano layout is needed. Learning about the black and white keys and the names of these individual keys is crucial. There are twelve keys of music. To begin, you will learn to play a piece of music in the key of C, which has no sharps and flats. Playing a piece in the key of C means that it is the tonal center or home base. All notes will gravitate to that note.
Knowledge of basic notation is required. An understanding of the notes like crotchets and quavers is required. Also timing or rhythm is introduced so that you will know how long a note needs to be held for.
Piano chords are one of the basic building blocks of music. A chord is made up of at least two notes that are played together. Triads are three notes played at the same time. These chords will transform the piece of music into major or minor keys.
Later you will be introduced to pieces with one sharp or one flat and then more sharps and flats as your ability increases. This is called the key signature. It appears immediately after the clef signs on the stave of five lines.
Technique is concerned with how a player executes the piece of music. It is all about performance and interpretation. To improve technique to play a physically demanding performance regular exercises for the fingers are needed to improve both flexibility and strength.
If you have chosen to have regular lessons then you have to practice between the lessons, otherwise you will be wasting your money. Ideally, you need to own a piano or small keyboard. There are plenty of outlets to buy second hand so it is not necessary to pay a lot of money. You may find on line sites have some to purchase.
Once you have a keyboard, set aside some time to practice. Try to practice several times a day, if possible, in short periods of time. If you are out working, then a short amount of time each evening is important. Of course, you may have other commitments but try to do it regularly, particularly when you are just beginning. Later on, when you are more proficient, you can be more flexible.
You can have fun choosing sheet music. If light classical is your preference you will find plenty of choice. Alternatively, you may like the modern pop tunes. If you have a teenage family they may encourage you to master these songs so they can join in the singing. It is not easy to concentrate on your playing whilst others are singing, though. However, it is a lot of fun.
Once you have mastered the skill you could play improvised pieces. This means that you can make music as you perform it. If you have reached this stage, then you will have already become aware of different note arrangements that will work well. So you can adapt your own pieces to suit your style or mood. Of course, this is a challenging task to aspire to but, with dedication, is not out of your reach.
If you can play the piano you will always be in demand for a variety of social occasions, especially around Christmas time when you can accompany your family singing carols. Many care and retirement homes welcome a pianist to entertain for an hour or so. The music is a great way to cheer up the elderly and distract them from their ailments for a short time. It also gives a real sense of purpose and satisfaction to the piano player. So, take the plunge and learn to play piano music. You will love it and you can study it at the Department of Music at the University of San Diego!