Less than a year ago, I was a young professional trying to make time for creative endeavors, including piano practice. I’d been playing piano on and off since starting lessons at age six.
How to practice piano
Decode Fast Music with This App
If you’ve ever listened to a professional recording of a piece you’ve been working on for your piano lessons—say Yuja Wang playing Schumann’s The Smuggler—you’ve probably been struck by the obvious: she plays the piece way faster than you do. She plays some passages so fast you can barely process the notes and rhythms in order to see how you should practice.
Sight Read Without Looking Down
Looking down at our hands as we play breaks the continuity of reading, prevents us from looking ahead, and undermines concentration. Yet for many piano students, even some who have played for years, it is a frequent temptation.
Tendonitis Courtesy of Mozart…Not Tennis
“It’s tendonitis,” the doctor said, cradling my left arm. “Playing a lot of tennis?”
Best Piano Apps for Adult Students
What are the best apps for adult piano students and amateur pianists?
Fitting Serious Practice Time into a Busy Life
In this video, Ricker Choi is performing an excerpt of Liszt’s Totentanz during the final round at the 2010 Berlin International Piano Amateur Competition.
Internalize Tricky Rhythms with a Tapping App
Most pianists have been tripped up by difficult rhythms at one point or another—such as counting a 16th-note rest in a Bach Invention, or trying to play triplets on one hand while maintaining eighth notes with the other.
Learn to Sight-Read with a Disappearing-Score App
Imagine you’re seated at your piano with sheet music. But as soon as you begin to play the first note in a measure, the entire measure is erased from the score. You’re forced to play what notes you remember and move on, whether you’ve made mistakes or not. This persistent score-eraser chases you until you finish the piece.
Go Paperless with Sheet Music Using the forScore App
Do you ever wish you had all of your sheet music with you constantly so you could play anything, anytime, anywhere? Or perhaps you’re studying a long piece and find turning the pages mid-phrase to be cumbersome?
Listening App Meludia Teaches Music Theory Intuitively
What strikes me first about the online music-learning app Meludia is that it doesn’t tell me precisely what to do. The six initial exercises are arranged in a circle so I’m not sure which one to start with—but the order doesn’t matter.
Understanding Tempo Rubato
For several years after I reclaimed my passion for the piano, I struggled with the concept of tempo rubato.
Piano Keys: Theory, History, and Secrets Unlocked
Piano keys are an iconic image for music throughout the world, but they represent much more than sound. While their distinct arrangement of white and black have been featured in paintings, sung about by pop singers, and reproduced on everything from napkins to neckties—these keys are not only visual reminders of a piano.
Where’s the Finish Line?
Jeremy Denk says he never plays a piece of music the same way twice. Reading that, as a longtime fan of the celebrated pianist, reminded me of an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while: At what point will I have finished learning a composition? Does the finish line come when I have played the music at a consistent tempo?
Bringing Joni Mitchell into a Chopin Nocturne
On a whim, I slipped a Joni Mitchell songbook into my tote bag along with my classical piano scores, before scrambling for my keys and rushing out the door for my session at the new music studio where I’ve been practicing once a week, since I don’t have a piano at home.
Practice Listening with Your Memory
Think of a simple song. “Happy Birthday” will do. Imagine the rhythm of the words, the bouncing melody soaring out of you as you make the birthday candles flicker. Hear the happy crowd harmonizing. Feel the music building to a rousing climax as everyone belts out “to you!” at the end.
How to Memorize Piano Music, With Help from Music Theory
This past summer, armed with 12 years of weekly lessons and two years of music theory, I achieved a goal I never thought possible—memorizing a piece of music.
Four Hands: Piano Duet Pair Anna and Dmitri Shelest
The piano duet pair Anna Shelest and Dmitri Shelest first met at the Kharkiv Special Music School in Ukraine when they were 12 years old.
Simone Dinnerstein for Piano Students of All Ages
When I joined the concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein in her home studio, I asked questions not as a classical music critic or a piano pedagogue.
My Teacher Made Me Practice… DURING My Lesson
For many years, I regarded my adult piano lessons as showtime. Of course my teacher and I worked through the material, but I saw the lesson primarily as a chance to perform work I had accomplished the week before.
How Music Theory Helps Decode the Bass Clef
Since beginning adult piano lessons a decade ago, I have tried to ignore my left hand. Fixated on the treble clef and my right hand, I viewed the bass clef as a nuisance, a mere accompaniment to the more seductive melody.
A Frog Hop to the Bach Fugue in C
What makes the contrapuntal music of Bach difficult for adult piano students?
The Language of Music
Almost everyone has struggled with at least one subject in high school. Mine was language.
A Senior Rabbi Finding Time to Practice Piano
Sometimes when seated at the piano–besotted with the harmonies, exalted by the rhythms–adult piano students relegate their careers to time-consuming day jobs. Their chief concern becomes finding time to practice piano.
How to Find a Good Piano Teacher: Making the Decision
You have assembled a short list of candidates and taken a trial lesson from each.