piano


In-Home Piano Lessons (The Guidelines)

In-home piano lessons are very convenient for busy parents who can catch up on their work while listening to their child learn the piano. The challenge is to create a comfortable and productive environment for the student to have the best piano experience. Here are some guidelines of optimal in-home piano lessons.

The Piano

The piano should be an upright acoustic piano, grand piano, or a weighted piano keyboard with a sustain pedal. The weighted keys portion of the keyboard is important as it is integral to teaching the student the correct finger strength required to play the piano. Otherwise, they may find the grand piano at the recital to be unfamiliar!

The piano/keyboard should be tuned (at least once a year), and have the ability to create dynamics (a range of soft sounds to loud sounds).

There should be no unnecessary paperwork, books or decorations on top of the piano, as it is a distraction to the student and teacher.

The Lesson Area

For optimal results, please vacate the lesson area to give the student and teacher privacy. Parents of young students are welcomed to watch, but should refrain from commentary unless it is a special circumstance. The lesson area should be free of toys, or other possible distractions. An uncluttered setting allows the student to focus on the piano.

If the piano bench is large enough for both the student and the teacher, there is no need for an extra chair. If the piano bench is small, please provide a chair that is on the similar height as the piano bench.  EN Music Studio recommends a nearby table for composition exercises.

The Student

For optimal results, please dress the student as if they are heading to a studio to take lessons. This helps the student visualize that they are at a lesson, not being entertained at home.

If necessary, the student should eat before the lesson, and not during.

Siblings who are also taking piano lessons should vacate the area to minimize distractions.

 

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Making it Sound Good: A Review of Robert Kelly’s Piano Tone Production

Hi Everyone,

Today, we are doing a review on an article by Robert Kelly “Piano Tone Production

When we’re beginning to learn piano, it can sometimes be a struggle to make what we play sound like what we want and expect to hear.  In an era of instant gratification through technology and apps, the longer process of learning an instrument can seem daunting,  especially to the younger generations.

Piano Tone Production

Making something simple, or something complex, sound great on the instrument you have is as much about science as it is about technique.  Robert Kelly has some great advice about how to make a piano sound good.  It all boils down to some simple concepts:
1.  Understanding where the energy in your body comes from when you’re striking the piano keys.
2.  Understanding the mechanics of the piano and how that energy is transferred from your body to the instrument.
3.  Knowing how your body’s position relative to the piano impacts the transfer of energy between you and it.
4.  Knowing the piece you’re playing and being practiced enough not to overplay or underplay the instrument you have.
Overall. Kelly drives home the fact that the piano is infact an intrument, and not a device to type on. Far often, I notice piano students approaching the piano keys as if they are buttons to be pressed. When the keys are approached music that way, we can only expect a flat range of sounds. When we approach the piano in the way Kelly describes it, then we are able to access an almost limitless range of sounds. Not only does the piano have 88 keys, the way we approach the keys can deliver different levels of volume, sensitivity, and combination of notes.
There’s very little that’s more rewarding than being able to match the sounds that come out of the piano to the creativity inspired by your mind.  Have fun, practice lots, and share your music!
EN Music Studio
Piano Tone Production: A Guide for the Student Pianist

Halloween Month

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Halloween

This Halloween, students of EN Music Studio will be taking on the challenge of improvising creepy and spooky music. What musical tools are used? Let’s use an example to discuss.

Immediately, in the first 10 seconds, we hear an instrument playing in a minor mode, which lets the audience know that this is not a happy song. The constant background sets the atmosphere, while more complex rhythms layered on top add excitement and action. Notice too how the instruments switch between a higher octave to a lower octave. How does that make you feel? Not only does this effect add contrast, it also adds an element of wonder and surprise.

At the 1:40 mark, the music slows down and our ears automatically pick up this change of tempo. Slower tempos add more of an emotional edge, and may convey sadness, and loneliness. Here, a single haunting melody plays over a repeated minor accompaniment. The effect is undeniable; while it is not scary, our ears understand that something is brooding.

At 3:36, the music changes again. This particular tune uses tempo drastically to change the mood. The first half uses a quick adventurous tempo, and the second half slows down dramatically for a final statement. What does this make you think of? Does it tell you a story?

The notes I’ve mentioned are simply small parts of what makes music sound haunting or scary. As always, music is about the larger picture, and every little detail adds to the overall feeling.

Happy Halloween!

 

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