How Can I Learn to Understand Music & Piano Playing?

The graceful flourishes of a well-played piano masterpiece are sounds that many people would love to create. From trained professionals to child prodigies, a brilliantly played piano can steal the show. But great lessons are costly and involve scheduling time away from your busy life. So how do you learn how to play the piano or deepen your knowledge of the instrument?

Piano workbooks can provide a solid foundation in theory, an effective practice routine, and piano classics in one package. If you don’t have the time or money for lessons, consider buying a few piano workbooks.

The obvious advantages of piano workbooks are the ability to set your own pace and practice at your convenience. Just sit down at the bench after dinner, crack open the book, and hear your playing improve.

The only downside is that you must develop self-motivation to flourish when studying from piano workbooks. Like any great discipline, you must develop some kind of regimen to progress. With a teacher, you’ll always have someone keeping track of how well you’re doing. By studying from a workbook, you’ll have to keep an eye on your own progress.

Piano workbooks range from those that focus on the basics to those that provide a comprehensive explanation of musical theory. The best offer a good amount of theory, exercise and musical notation. Whatever type of study you are seeking, there are certainly several piano workbooks available that suit your needs.

Some piano workbooks may be a look and listen experience. They may come with CDs that let you hear the examples listed in the book. This is great for the unsure learner who may need more than just text to explain a concept. It’s also wonderful for hearing how an exercise is supposed to be played or how a particular piece is intended to sound.

Many books give examples of practice methods. Be sure to follow their instructions so that you don’t overexert your hand muscles, especially if you are a beginner or trying advanced techniques. Warm-up your hands with simple and light playing for a little while before going into an extended run across the keyboard.

Workbooks also contain essential piano pieces that combine theory and technique into music. The pieces provided range from simple pop songs to classical standards that will put your skills to the test. Piano workbooks often include biographical information on the composers of each piece so that you can learn the history of the instrument.

Besides simply playing, a deep understanding of the piano and pieces composed for it provides an appreciation for musical history.

Piano workbooks can offer an extensive training course to anyone willing to invest the time. Since they’re often compiled by a company, they contain more information than any one person can offer. Though a book can’t make you practice, they can be a benefit to dedicated students. So when you decide to fancy yourself a pianist and set out to master the works of Franz Liszt, consider the tutelage that piano workbooks can offer.

Dobro Lessons – Music Theory + Playing by Ear = Super Musician!

Here are 3 things I recommend you memorize.

1.    All the notes of the dobro or specific instrument
2.    All the Key Signatures
3.    All the Chords and Chord Tones for each key

Question: Why do this?

Answer: To gain a more complete understanding of your instrument, and to know where you are at all times and to know why what you are playing may sound good and why it may sound not so good.

Question: Is there an easier way? Can I get around not knowing any music theory and not knowing where any of the notes on my instrument are located?

Answer: I have found if you do not want to learn any music theory one can still play and in fact get quit good. Tons of great players have done it, and this is what I think ones options are if they want to get really good, but do not want to learn any music theory.

No Music Theory Option 1:

(I highly recommend doing this “In addition” to also understanding music theory)

To simply transcribe tons and tons and tons of songs, solos, rhythm playing, song forms, etc…so many that you can use the memory of those solos to dictate what you should play when you hear it in the context of a song. Your memory of all the songs and solos that you’ve learned and transcribed will trigger a muscle memory with your fingers and mind, and it will be like you are speaking with your instrument. Simply reacting to what you hear like you would if you were carrying on a conversation with someone. You will see all the patterns, and scales, and key signatures more as shapes that you equate to things that you’ve learned from solos, songs, and other musicians. You will have a working knowledge of the theory, but will not know why any of it works. You just know it does.

This is actually a great way of learning, and this way combined with an understanding of music theory can dramatically improve your playing and improvising in a much quicker way than just theory alone, or just transcribing alone.

Wtih theory you can take one thing that you transcribe and play it in other keys. Know how to change it around and play it over other chords. Basically multiplying everything that you already know.

No Music Theory Option 2:

(I do not recommend doing this)

The slowest way of improving….Not transcribing solos and simply to use trial and error or “noodling” around, fishing for the right note, not having a clue why anything you play sounds good or bad.

Getting Started:

The Keys:

The Sharp Keys:

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

G MAJOR – G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G

D MAJOR – D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

A MAJOR – A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

E MAJOR – E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

B MAJOR – B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B

F# MAJOR – F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, E#, F#

C# MAJOR – C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B#, C#

The Flat Keys

C MAJOR – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

F MAJOR – F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F

Bb MAJOR – Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb

Eb MAJOR – Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb

Ab MAJOR – Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab

Db MAJOR – Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db

Gb MAJOR – Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb

Cb MAJOR – Cb, Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb

To Start Memorizing the Chords and Chord Tones Just Use these simple rules:

1) Chords are built in 3rds – Root, 3rd, 5th. Start with your root, skip a note, then you’ve got your third, skip a note, then you’ve got your fifth.

2) If you do that in a major key you end up with this pattern, harmonizing over each note of the scale: (examples are in the Key of G major)

1. = MAJOR ex. GBD
2. = minor ex. ACE
3. = minor ex. BDF#
4. = MAJOR ex. CEG
5. = MAJOR ex. DF#A
6. = minor ex. EGB
7. = diminished ex. F#AC

* NOTE:

To memorize anything quickly, simply use NOTE CARDS, and make out a set for your Key Signatures, a set for your Chords per Key, and a set for your chord tones per key.

Carry them around with you and when you are waiting in line or just don’t have anything to do. Pull them out and start memorizing them. In a month or so you will see dramatic improvements.

The Quickest Way to Learn Music, Keyboard Playing and More

There is so much you can learn as an adult. Make no mistake, the quickest way to learn music, keyboard playing or alike is to have a great instructor. The surprise to some is that the instructor can be online and the results are even better. Long story short, you can learn everything you want and have always wanted to learn by finding a program that teaches you the most effective way possible. After years of music lessons I can tell you that in person classes are not the most effective or most productive. You can do much more and PianoForAll can help you if you are interested in learning at home.

You are going to practice and play at home, so it makes sense to learn music, keyboard playing and other skill sets at home. I rave about PianoForAll because of the order in which people are taught. You don’t learn one note at a time and then a week later put three of them together. Instead you work book by book, they are interactive to make it even better, and each book has a theme or focus.

The first book and the first lesson allow you to make melodies that people will recognize and mistake for years of experience as opposed to a few hours of practice. You don’t have to take my word for it and you probably won’t but you can take the word of many others before you who will gladly attest, individually, that this method is the best. Don’t delay any longer; how long have you been wanting to do this? I have a feeling you came here hoping there was a way you could learn music, keyboard playing or piano playing rather, and be able to do it online. Now that you know it’s possible, all you have to do is follow through, so do not stop now.