Tag: piano (page 2 of 3)

6 great ways to get more music pupils!

About two and a half years ago I left behind my career as a primary school teacher and set out to carve a new business teaching piano and keyboard. Now I have over 40 regular weekly pupils. With teaching, lesson preparation, blog & video posts and the development of an online business (more soon!) I am once again in ‘full-time’ work – and more!

A few years ago my son was in a similar position, starting out as a music teacher. A wealthy businessman friend of ours gave him this advice: “Early to bed, early to rise, practice like hell and ADVERTISE!” Perhaps you’re teaching music privately like me, or perhaps you’re just thinking about it? I’m certainly no business expert or guru, but I’m pleased with my progress so far, so I’m sharing my advertising methods in case they can help you on your way… Continue reading

You want to learn to play…what? (YouTube to the rescue!)

On occasions I ask people, “What song or piece would you like to be able to play on the piano?” Whether it’s a pupil I have been teaching for a while, a brand new starter or even someone who has never had a music lesson in their life, they almost always have an answer.  Most people have apparently thought about it before!  But when it comes to helping them reach their goal, their answers can be quite challenging…

Sometimes it might be a well-known (possibly classical) piece that is far beyond their skill level. If so, I have check to see if there is a published simplified arrangement. Continue reading

“Sorry, I can’t make it – again!” (People who cancel their music lessons)

About 10-20% of my regular lessons in a week end up being cancelled or rearranged for one reason or another.  Often my pupils give me plenty of notice, but there are always those who wait until the eleventh hour…

people who cancel their music lessons

photo credit: photosteve101 (licence)

Quite soon after becoming a piano & keyboard teacher, I discovered that when pupils cancel a lesson at the last minute, it is almost impossible fill the slot with another pupil given such short notice.  This results in a loss of income for me, which left unchecked, can build up into a significant amount.   Continue reading

Piano: Teach Yourself Or Get A Teacher? 6 Key Questions To Help You Decide…

If you ask several piano players how they learnt to play, you’re likely to get some quite different answers.  Some will have received very formal (probably classical) tuition from a ‘proper’ piano teacher.  Others will have been taught by a parent, relative or friend.  Still others will have used a book or an online resource to teach themselves from scratch.  You will also find many who (like me) have used a combination of these methods.  So, how do you decide which is best for you?

teach yourself or get a teacher

photo credit:

Here are 6 key questions to ask yourself and some ideas to get you thinking: Continue reading

Video: How to play the “Superman” theme tune

Here’s a nice simple one that lots of people will know when you play it.  Easy, step-by-step instructions.  I’ve added the note sheet above the video for those who like things that way, too.

I’ve put a handful of these videos up now – how are you finding them?  Are you able to play the songs I teach?  Is the training too slow, too fast or about right?  Was it any help that I added the note names to this video?  Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

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.

 

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