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On-screen Flash piano for you to play right now!

Don’t have a piano?  Want to try something out anyway?  Check out this Flash implementation of a piano keyboard.  You can play it either with your keyboard keys or your mouse – great fun!

Remember to turn up your speakers…


Yes, I know this is just a bit of fun – you’ll need a proper piano or keyboard to really learn to play.  But you can certainly start to learn your notes on this, as well as just mess around for a bit!  Experimentation often  helps with piano learning, too.

What other piano resources would you like me to find or create for you?

Video: How to play ‘Happy Birthday’

Here’s an important one – the ‘Happy Birthday’ tune.  Learn to play this and you’ll come in useful once a year to all your friends!  As well as making it easy to play, I’ve set it in an easy-to-sing key – to avoid all those screeches when people sing along as you play!

What other tunes would you like to be able to play?

Video: How to play the ‘Top Cat’ theme tune

A new video for you today – the theme tune from the cartoon series ‘Top Cat’ – one of my childhood favourites:

Let me know how you get on with it, and feel free to suggest any simple tunes for future videos!

Printable piano key guides

If you’re still learning the names of the notes on your piano, here’s a printable guide I made for you.  Many thanks to my good friend Sandie Barker who gave me the idea.  The note names are clear and you also have the treble clef and bass clef notes to help you:

piano key overlays

piano key overlays

Simply download the file here, print out onto paper or card and trim the two sections as shown. They will fit nicely behind the keys of most pianos and full-size keyboards.  Put them in the centre of your piano and make sure you line up the pattern of black keys correctly, as shown in the picture.

I think these are a much better alternative to putting stickers on the keys of your beloved instrument.  I would strongly recommend that you don’t put stickers on the keys of your piano or keyboard, even if the instructions say ‘easy to remove’ or ‘won’t leave marks’.  I have seen keys ruined by them!  These overlays can be removed and replaced whenever you need them.

One word of advice – use these key guides only for as long as you need them.  Get to know your notes and then remove them when you can!

Video: how to play the Flintstones theme tune

Here’s the next video in my step-by-step series, this time it’s the Flintstones!  Follow the notes carefully, and pay particular attention to using the same finger numbers that I use.

Have fun – and get in touch if you need any help or if you have any suggestions to improve the videos.

5 reasons NOT to learn the piano!









“I’d love to be able to play the piano”
“I wish I’d learnt to play when I was younger”
“It must be great just to be able to sit down and play”
“I never got round to learning the piano, but I should have”

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

I come across so many people who wish they could play, and yet so few that actually do anything about it.  Have you ever wondered why you really didn’t learn to play the piano?  Perhaps you’re using one or more of these regular excuses: Continue reading

Video: how to play the EastEnders theme tune

When people ask me what I do and I tell them I teach piano, they often tell me about a tune they can play. If there’s a piano or keyboard nearby, I always encourage them to show me and make sure I praise their efforts. It’s amazing how many people, despite never taking piano lessons, have taken the time to learn at least something on the piano.  It’s usually fairly simple and almost always involves only one hand, but nevertheless people take great pleasure in being able to play a piece, however short or easy.

I think that’s brilliant.  I dislike the elitism that sometimes surrounds pianists and piano lessons.  Musical instruments are there to be enjoyed, and you can do this without the need to take lessons or spend hours trying to teach yourself something difficult or figure out how to read music.

So I thought I’d start putting up some easy, step-by-step videos to help anyone to start playing tunes. There’s no music to read, you just follow the patterns I show you and hopefully you will pick up a few tunes.  If you don’t have a piano or keyboard, just download a free piano app onto your iPad or whatever.

The first video (below) is for the EastEnders theme tune.  Give it a try, and tell me how you get on.  I’ll try to use any feedback to improve future videos.


Free piano sheet music

In case you haven’t found it yet, here’s a great website for downloading and printing free sheet music for piano: MakingMusicFun.  I visit it from time to time to supplement the teaching books I use, particularly when a pupil needs more practice at the current level before progressing to the next page or section.

They have a good selection of scores from beginner to intermediate.  Although the music is organised into levels, there is no actual piece-by-piece progression so I wouldn’t recommend using it in place of a progressive course.  If you want to learn to play the piano and make steady progress in a clear and logical manner, I would recommend something like the Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course. But the Making Music Fun website is a very useful additional resource.

Take a look –  what do you think?

Do you tip your music teacher?

On a recent coach holiday, I was surprised to find the passengers collecting to ‘tip’ the driver.  I have been driven and entertained by some excellent drivers, but this chap certainly wasn’t one of them.  It got me thinking – why do we tip some people and not others?  For instance, I almost always tip good service in a restaurant, but I’ve never tipped the minister for a good service at church.  I have been known to tip friendly and helpful taxi drivers but I can’t recall tipping the staff at my local music shop, despite the fact that their service is absolutely second to none!

Are there rules for tipping and service charges?  Does it have anything to do with whether people deserve it or not?  Or do we just all follow a pattern established goodness-knows-when by goodness-knows-who?  It seems reasonable to me that we should tip people who go ‘above and beyond’ the job.  Not just because it’s the ‘done thing’?

Does your piano (or other instrumental) teacher fall into that category? Do they arrange exam dates and payments for you outside of the hours you pay them for?  Do they try to accommodate your changing needs when you decide last-minute to go on holiday or send your child on a school trip?  Do they find extra sheet music, worksheets and resources for pupils when they get stuck?  Do they smile when you cancel your lesson at the eleventh hour, despite the fact that they just took a hit to their income?

I hope I do some of those things, if not all.  I hope your teacher does, too. And if he/she does, how about showing your appreciation from time to time?  Christmas?  Easter?  Holiday time?

Teacher tipping – what do you think?  I like the sound of it.  But then I would, wouldn’t I?

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