For beginners & newcomers...
I spend a lot of my time humbly responding to the kindest of messages from appreciative seekers. More often than not, I find myself directing individuals to the same videos over and over again. As a result, I have created this article so that one may find the most beneficial videos all in one place, along with a little explanation as to what the video contains and why it is useful. This way, I need only send this article with everything presented thusly.
The videos are in order; not randomly selected. As a seeker, you are strongly recommended to take your time to watch each video in the order presented and not to move on until the contents of the previous have been absolutely internalised.
In the same way as one waters a plant every evening and enjoys its natural growth over time, do not attempt to force your own progress; simply water daily.
#1 - Patience
Relax! Calm down! It's all OK! My goodness... what's the rush for? Stop pulling on leaves to make them grow; nobody ever ran to the top of a mountain in a day.
The most common complaint is that of slow progress; that is the very reason I made this video in the first place but I didn't realise how significant a role it would end up playing.
What must be understood is that playing the piano is less about the body than it is about the mind. No amount of technical skill or knowledge can replace a calm, patient mind in the same way that no amount of water or botanical knowledge can make spring come sooner.
Learn to pace your studies and acknowledge that even ten minutes a day of targeted, Purposeful playing is much more beneficial than three hours of mindless nonsense.
#2 - Muscles and Tendons
Even if you only play the piano for fun rather than hoping to play Carnegie Hall with a two-hour Liszt recital in front of the world's press, attention must be given to the muscles in the upper arm and forearm, as well as the tendons in the fingers.
Because they are all connected, they must all be evenly strengthened and flexed. Very nimble fingers are useless attached to arms which tire quickly as much as very strong arm muscles are useless attached to fingers which have little dexterity.
Be sure to spend some time every day on at least two of the suggested exercises and do please read the description of the video which provides links to useful medical information. After all, I don't want you to hurt yourself! Remember: aching is good, pain is bad.
And yes, I do do them myself every day... sometimes twice!
#3 - Internal Piano and Major Scales
If I had a penny for every time I said "Do you know all twelve major scales?" and the answer is no, even from pianists who have played for years, I would be in a financial position to buy every subscriber a brand new piano.
Not only are major scales the absolute DNA of pianism, they have so many benefits that I wrote a whole article and recorded an almost hour-long video on 'using and abusing' them. That is not the video for this text, but it is worth reading as an aside... a kind of 3b study.
Spending time physically at the piano is one thing but what must be understood is that your fingers can only do what the mind can imagine them doing and the fingers cannot do what the mind cannot imagine them doing. This is simply a physiological fact and applies to any skill involving body movements.
You would do exceptionally well to spend a lot of time developing your internal piano because you then have a piano with you at all times for sight-reading practice, major scale solidification, chord building and piece memorisation. If you're only able to get to a piano for an hour a day, no fear; you have your internal piano with you every waking hour. Use it.
#4 - Naming Chords and Emotional Connections
Whatever style of piano you wish to play the most, you will never avoid chords; they follow you everywhere. You can play them as stride piano, as arpeggios or as blocks, you can compose with them and structure songs and you can accompany a singer with them, not to mention improvise with them (or on top of them) and even extend them and substitute them!
In other words, once you know all twelve major scales, spend some time doing various exercises to reinforce the chords built from major scales. You can of course become creative in the way you practise them such as going through various chords types and going around the circle of fourths and/or fifths, changing tempo or even composing little melodies with the notes they contain... don't find this boring at all!
Knowing chord types and being able to identify/play them immediately in all twelve keys is one thing but knowing the 'feeling' of a chord type is equally as important. Why does a b9 sound sweet and cuddly and a #9 sound hard and bluesy but the regular 9 sound longing? Find adjectives which describe each chord type for greater musical sensitivity.
#5 - Find Your Natural Limits
... and continually raise them when the time is naturally right.
All the above videos, plus those that I have hyperlinked in the text as bonuses, which contain a technical study rather than just a philosophy must be executed within your current abilities. If you play something too fast, a piece or technical exercises, you will become frustrated and give up. This connects a little to the Patience video.
Finding your natural limit results in a more joyful experience at the piano. Simply get a metronome (online or a real one) and find the speed at which you can naturally execute the particular exercise or musical phrase. As you become able to play it correctly, say, ten times in a row with your eyes closed, increase the speed of the metronome by 10bpm. And repeat. And repeat... ... ... until a metronome is no longer required.
Eventually, over weeks and months of doing this patiently, you will find your abilities to be far and beyond what you ever imagined possible within such a short amount of time.
Of course, the above is just the beginning. Do also note that I have a very popular and successful playlist entitled How to Become a Pianist in Ten Lessons, as well as one with much shorter videos called Ten Minutes @ The Piano. I naturally encourage you to also view my other videos at your guise to further supplement your studies, as well as of course following my FB page (via the left) to get updates of new videos and articles. Do also consider my eBooks
Feel free to ask me anything or to share your story and perhaps consider sharing this article with anybody you feel would benefit from it.
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