for pianists

What makes the piano special? Click here for some background.

This mnemonic blends the  21 notes of the bass and treble clefs into a single story each word giving you the letter and helping you find its position on the keyboard.

This is an beginners arrangement of America from West Side Story . It illustrates how the time signature 6/8 can easily change from 2×3 into 3×2. The teasing dialogue in the song is shown as a dialogue between right and left hand. To get in the mood watch this amazing YouTube clip.

Click here for an arrangement of the Chanuka song Maoz Tsur for beginner’s piano. The left hand is simple but melodic.

It takes a while to learn all 24 major and minor triads on the piano. They can be quite confusing . Some triads have a white major third and a black minor third, then for some its the opposite, For some both major and minor thirds are white. Click here for a guide to your journey.

Every major scale has its relative minor, e.g C major and A minor, called relative because they use the same 7 notes, but they can squabble throughout a piece, each one trying to get the last word in. So I call them the “Jealous Cousins”. To get to know them play their triad in the left and one octave in the right:

Even the cousins have cousins. Perhaps you might like to meet them all. It that wets your appetite for learning The Jealous Cousins in all the keys give them a click.

Playing scales which need different fingering for each hand can present difficulties for the learner. Click here to print off charts that place the 24 major and minor scales  in three groups according to the pattern created between the fingering of both hands.

Every key signature offers you 7 notes. Out of those 7, only 2 notes usual get to win the battle for supremacy, the major tonic and the minor tonic, do and la. That can’t be fair. Don’t any of the other 5 notes get to be tonic? Sometimes they do, each creating their own atmosphere. Check out Scales, Modes and Chords by Key Signature for Piano. Click on the title for a link to

The front cover shows Miles Davis jamming in the Dorian mode with Renaissance angels. See the art and design page.

The back cover has a parade of modes that you can line up to any note on the piano keyboard to get transpositions of the modes and a map of the regions of ancient Greece that they borrow their names from.

Here’s an outline of the ground covered.

It’s not easy to read piano music. You need to solve four puzzles before you can be sure you’re playing the correct note.

Are you reading treble or bass?

Can you count up and down the clef without getting lost?

Is there any key signature to remember?

Is there any accidental to remember?

Sight reading on piano with its two clefs and frequent chords is more difficult than many other instruments. Try to do a bit every day. Choose something short and enjoyable and slightly challenging. Get the time signature turning over in your mind and then allow your tempo to be a little bit flexible (a touch of rubato) so you can concentrate on dynamics and bringing out the story of the piece so that it sounds highly expressive. As the actors say – ham it up a bitso they can’t tell whether you’re overcome with emotion of need a bit more time to figure out the next chord. Also challenge yourself with different printing styles so that so that you are not surprised by a new look.

A gap in the market? What a fiddle setting up a keyboard! Has anyone tried making a keyboard with built-in fold-down legs? The legs on the right side could include a damper pedal.

%d bloggers like this: