Quickly and Easily Learn Piano for Beginners

If you’re learning to play the piano, or if already took some piano classes, there are some tips that may help you. Whenever you feel a little discouraged because you’re not evolving fast enough, or if you want to gain more confidence when you’re playing, make sure to check the following list:

Take a break:

When you decided you wanted to learn how to play a piano, you never thought it could be so hard. It’s not hard; you just need a break.

You need to understand that learning the piano takes a lot of practice and a lot of dedication. And this is how a break may just well be what you need. Just take a couple of hours or even a day away from your piano. You’ll notice that it will help you release all your frustration and stress, and when you go back to play again, you’ll feel much more refreshed and confident.

Play music you like:

One of the things that makes most people drop their piano classes is that they just don’t like the music they’re playing. You enjoy playing the piano; you just don’t like the music you’re playing. So, why not change it? Even if the music you like doesn’t dare your skills, it doesn’t matter. You’re playing piano because you love to do so. You’re having fun.

Learn the theory:

When you first think about learning piano, you simply assume that you’re going to sit on the bench and that you’ll start playing immediately. However, and although you might actually sit on the bench and try to play for a while, if you’re serious about learning the piano, you need to learn some of the theory as well. It may seem boring – especially when you look at the piano right beside you -, but it can really help you improve your skills. By learning some theory, you’ll then be able to play more freely and play a more wide repertoire.

Work on scales:

In order to learn the 12 key signatures, scales can help you. So, you need to practice scales and make it as a part of your daily routine. This will allow you to become more and more familiar with the piano as well.

Don’t make it a point to learn all the scales and start playing them perfectly immediately. Instead, you should take the time to improve your accuracy.

Take it slow:

Take the time to internalize all the steps when you’re learning the piano. The first thing you need to do is to learn the music, with all the rhythms and the right notes. And only then you need to develop your technique and muscle memory to play the music well.

If you rush things instead of taking some time to learn, you’ll end up missing some important points that will translate in later bad habits.

Express yourself:

Music should act as a way you have to express your emotions. And this is why the best musicians have their own ways to feel the music. And when they do feel it, they share this same feeling with whoever is listening. Much more important that playing the entire music without missing a note is to play it with the heart.

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Music Composition Software

There are heaps of music composition software and programs on the market, but which should you use? Perhaps you’re a music composer who wants to move into digital music making or maybe you’re just beginning your music composition journey. Whatever your goals, this article will be of interest to you.

Notation Programs VS DAWs

Notation programs are software used to create sheet music. You would need to know how to read and write music to use it. DAWs or Digital Audio Workstations are stronger for producing professional sounding audio. The amount of sounds libraries, virtual instruments and effects are endless. DAWs have more powerful ways to manipulate notes and sounds than Notation programs.

How do I decide which type of program to choose?

Generally, if you want to create great sounding audio, use a DAW. Alternatively, if you want to compose for live instruments, an orchestra, choir and won’t need to record your tracks in a studio, plus you’re game in music notation, choose a notation program.

Best Notation Programs for Music Composition

Finale

Finale is the cream of the crop in music notation programs and is used professionally by sheet music creators. The printed music at your local music store would most likely be made using Finale. The learning curve is a little high though, with tons of features. It may be too complicated for beginners but you can try Finale Notepad first which is a free, easier version to use.

Sibelius

The main competitor to Finale, Sibelius is great for all types of composers. Finale targets the traditionalists, and Sibelius the more general audience. Maybe too bold of a statement, but Sibelius tends to be popular with media composers such as film and video game music composers. The interface is very easy to learn and use, and is more beginner-friendly.

MuseScore

MuseScore is the best free notation program out there. It has a lot of features and is considered equal to the full blown programs such as Finale and Sibelius. A little hard to learn for the beginner, but will greatly pay off considering this is a free program with full capabilities.

Best DAWs for Music Composition

The following DAWs made the list because they are best at music composition. Pro Tools may be the industry standard for music production, but composition is the focus of this article.

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro is a favourite for music composers of film, games, TV and media, along with EDM music producers. Some hardstyle artists swear by it for its special plugins. Logic Pro is extremely versatile, has great MIDI manipulation capabilities and you can compose, edit, mix and master your track entirely in this program. This is an Apple-only product, so only Mac users will be able to use it.

FL Studio

FL Studio is a popular DAW for composers, and easy for beginners to use. It’s best feature is the piano roll, which is very intuitive and powerful. Its pitfalls include audio editing and recording. If you’re only working with MIDI, this is a good choice as well.

Cubase

Cubase is great for Windows users who want Logic Pro but don’t have a Mac. It’s a great all rounder like Logic and using MIDI and audio is easy. It has a few advanced features that Logic doesn’t have such as rendering-in place and its VCA faders.

Digital Performer

A more conservative option but having a loyal fan base, Digital Performer is a favourite among film composers around the world. The newest versions have widened its offerings and now include a Hybrid Synthesizer and guitar plugins.

Whether you’re DAW-inclined or more for Notation software, for the modern composer, DAW is the way to go. But why not have the best of both worlds? Many composers now use DAWs to create and produce the track, and Notation programs to produce professional sheet music. Whichever you decide, they are just tools to get the job done. Your mind is the ultimate music composition machine!

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Choosing the Right Music Teacher

music lessonThe best way to learn an instrument is to find a music teacher. In fact the best way to learn anything in life is to find a tutor of your chosen subject and to take on the task head on – to learn from actually doing.

People say that you learn from your mistakes – partly true due to the fact you end up knowing what NOT to do. But I believe there is a key point missed here – at least you are actually DOING something.

A teacher is someone to show you the path, the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. At the end of the day they know what they are doing and talking about – you probably don’t – and it’s because of this, the fact that you put all of your trust into your teacher, that you should be very careful about ensuring the one you choose is up for the job.

Here is some advice on choosing your teacher and what to look out for.

Advice 1 – Previous Experience.

It is essential that your teacher has experience in two specific areas – performing music and teaching music. It is important that your music teacher is actually a musician – the best example I can give is this – imagine that instead of learning an instrument you want to learn how to scuba dive. Would you let yourself be taught by someone who has studied diving from a book but who has never actually been under the water?

If your teacher shows that he has performed music it gives you some guarantee that they are of a high enough standard musically – chances are they wouldn’t have been hired if they couldn’t play their instrument.

The second is teaching experience. After discussing how it is important for your teacher to have actually been, or still is involved in music it is also important that the have experience in teaching music. Teaching is a completely different art to performing. Most musicians tell me that they learn more through teaching than they do from any other source – when you teach you instantly reveal your own weak points.

The opposite of this is true as well actually – how many times have you heard someone who recently passed their driving test say you don’t learn how to drive until your out on the road on your own – after your lessons and test (This carries over to a future article – Why performing is critical to your progress as a musician.)

So – make sure your teacher is both a musician and a teacher.

Advice 2 – Attitude and Personality.

It is fairly common for people to ask for character references – estate agents, employers – most people looking to hire someone – this is also true for finding a music teacher as at the end of the day you are hiring them to teach you.

Learning is much easier in a friendly environment – did you ever notice that the teachers at school that had a laugh and were fun often taught you the most each lesson? In human nature it is common to be stubborn and resilient and it is a teacher’s personality and character that helps connect with you, therefore making the experience enjoyable and thus increasing the productivity of your lessons.

It is not generally going to be possible to get a character reference from a teacher but try and use your first lesson as a trial – Get to know your teacher a bit and get a general feel for the lesson – if you have fun and enjoyed every minute then you’ve probably found a teacher with a good teaching attitude rather than if it was drab and boring.

If you can try and talk to some of your prospective teachers regular students. See if they enjoy their lessons and what the overall comments are about the quality and attitude of the teacher.

Advice 3 – Teacher Flexibility

Again this covers more than one topic – flexibility as a musician, and as a teacher.

In the long term you will eventually begin expanding your musicality. For example – woodwind players generally begin learning one instrument, maybe the clarinet or saxophone. Eventually, and if they want to pursue music, they will begin learning other woodwind instruments as it is common for, say for instance a saxophone player, to play clarinet, flute and even through to oboe and bassoon.

Because of this you are going to want a teacher that can provide this in the long term. After months and years of lessons with your teacher you won’t want to find that in order to progress further you need to find a new instructor and have to create the bond that you would have developed with your current teacher all over again.

Positive things to look out for are:

o If your teacher still has lessons and practices (even the most professional musicians still have lessons – see the beginning of my article – Practicing music – what to do outside of your private music lessons to see how it is impossible to learn and master every aspect of music)

o If your teacher teaches more than one instrument (however be wary of teachers that teach, for instance, trumpet and flute. Whilst musicians do end up playing completely irrelevant instruments they generally will stick to teaching their primary instrument.)

o If your teacher is still an active musician – this is a gray area because where it is easy to assume that your teacher, not an active musician maybe is not good enough to perform music and therefore teaches music, it is possible that your teacher prefers teaching than performing. The benefit if they are still an active musician is again they will be learning constantly and they will still be an active teacher during this period.

The other flexibility to look out for is their organisation in regards to lessons. It is positively advised that regular lessons – or regular anything – is good for you. Regular exercise keeps you healthy, regular sleep keeps you alert and regular lessons help improve your musical playing.

If your teacher will constantly phone up to re-arrange your lesson, often misses lessons or is often late for your lesson it will have a negative effect on you. Psychologically the fact that you haven’t got into a routine with your lessons and the fact that you keep getting let down will make you less enthusiastic towards your music lessons.

So find a teacher that offers many years of tuition rather than a limited number of months, and someone who will keep regular dates and who holds his promises of this dates and times.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article will give you some food for thought if you decide to find a music teacher and just remember that unless you are enjoying and learning your instrument – maybe you need a new teacher.

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