by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If you are curious whether this is the right space for you--consider these scenarios:
If you relate to any of the above scenarios, you are in the right place!
Why The Piano Is The Best First Musical Instrument To Learn!
Who am I and what do I know about piano?
Let me introduce who I am and what I know about the piano. In other words, why you should listen to me!
In college, I switched my piano performance degree to music composition because I loved making up music more than performing. I taught piano for years in my private piano studio, many youth facilities, and even an 11-year stint as an elementary music and chorus educator in Florida. I taught private and piano group lessons, using a mix of note-reading, ear training, and rote-playing with students ages 4-90.
I'm also a composer of piano-based music, produced a musical theater CD of my original songs, have written three short musicals, and scored half a dozen short films with piano-based orchestral music. I LOVE music!
Music loves me.
Three years after my Dad passed away, I left my 30-year piano and music education and performance career to move back to my home state of Kentucky as a caregiver for my 83-year Mom while running my online biz.
But like many busy adults, I've been SO busy with life transitions I didn't practice the piano in a while. I, myself, am a returning piano learner! I have reignited my daily piano practice routine!
That is why I KNOW the struggles of new or returning adult piano learners! I'm in the trenches with you!
Enough about me!
I am excited to have launched the New & Returning Piano Learners Facebook Group! If you want to join our supportive community, sign up here!
Piano Is The Best First Musical Instrument To Learn because it is the foundation for learning OTHER musical instruments.
Choosing piano as your first musical instrument provides a solid musical foundation and many advantages for later branching out into learning other musical instruments.
Reason #1 = The Advantage of TWO Clefs
Piano learners will master two different musical clefs to read musical notation.
The piano player will primarily use the right hand to play Treble Staff notes for the higher range.
The pianist will usually play the lower range of the Bass Staff notes with the left hand.
Being able to read the notation in both clefs becomes an advantage for learning different musical instruments.
Most musical instruments read the notes of one clef, most commonly the Bass Clef or Treble Clef. (Luckily, pianists don’t need to learn the alto, tenor, neutral clefs, or guitar tablature!)
Having already learned the notation for both Treble and Bass Clefs with piano study gives the music student an advantage when learning another new instrument.
This notation-reading skill makes things less complex for the music student when learning additional instruments.
Students learning additional instruments can also focus more on technique and musicality since the rudiments of notation-reading will already be established through piano lessons.
WOOT! One BIG point in favor of learning piano FIRST!
Who likes things to be EASIER!?
Reason #2 is about Music Theory!
Music theory bases itself on the topography of the piano keyboard. (The visual layout of the black and white keys of the piano keyboard.)
This visual point is another excellent reason for choosing piano as a first instrument. No matter what musical instrument you learn, you will use the piano keyboard as a reference when learning music theory!
Reason #3 is...
The Piano Is A Guide For All Instrument Ranges
The piano is a guide to understand the ranges of other instruments and voices!
When learning about the orchestra, or vocal ensembles, the piano also is the basis for understanding the ranges of various instruments and voices. A musical instrument range is how high or low it sounds when played.
The piano keyboard includes all the ranges of these instruments! So it’s an easy, visual guide for understanding where the sounds from all these instruments logistically fall!
Reasons #4 & #5 for Why Piano Is The Best First Musical Instrument To Learn is because...
The piano keyboard is a guide for learning chord structure and harmonic analysis.
The piano keyboard is the basis for understanding chordal structure. Chords are sounds produced when you play two or more notes simultaneously. The order of where these notes are determines different shapes or the chordal structure. Piano topography and musical notation are visual guides for teaching how chords are structured.
The piano also shows harmonic analysis as a visual guide showing how all orchestral instruments or vocal parts harmonize/play together.
Harmonic analysis is the progression and tonality (or the mood of the sound produced) of chords and how they affect the form (structural organization) of the music composition.
These concepts are a bit advanced for new and returning piano learners. But, piano study gradually includes all these more advanced musical concepts!
These five reasons are why learning the piano as your FIRST instrument is an asset to any musician, conductor, or composer!
A BONUS reason for learning piano as a first musical instrument IF you:
Having the piano as a first instrument gives you the added benefit of established, good foundational and practice habits for music learning. You can apply these powerful benefits to learning other musical instruments, singing, or composing music!
If you would like to learn more, join the New & Returning Piano Learners, click here!
WHO IS THIS supportive community for?
This is for you if you:
I host Q & A sessions with my best piano tips for group members and regular promo threads where piano teachers or piano music product creators may share books, online piano courses, or teaching studios!
JOIN NOW by clicking the button below!!
Please invite others who will benefit from this info and conversation. Feel free to share this video. Tag a friend (on Facebook) by typing her/his name in the comments below.
I look forward to joyful piano progress with you in the New & Returning Piano Learners supportive online community!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Catch my Facebook LIVE REPLAY here.
Sharing your musical journey not only boosts your confidence as a piano player but also opens new doors for connecting with others. 6 tips to show you how to boost confidence as a piano player if you struggle with stage fright.
People get nervous. I get that. And that is normal! But like ANYTHING in life that’s hard, when you face your fears, and face them frequently, you get over them. It becomes doable. More than that, it becomes rewarding. How?
When you challenge yourself to open up and share your music, you grow your courage. Allowing ourselves to share who we are and where we are with our musical learning can feel very vulnerable. Being vulnerable is real. When you openly show who you are and where you are in your process, you authentically connect with another human being.
So what better way than to share your piano playing right now?
You don’t have to go big! Let’s talk about how you can boost your confidence as a piano player by challenging yourself to share some of your music with others. Here are 6 tips that work for me and have worked for the many piano, music, and chorus students I’ve taught in my 30 years as a music educator:
1. Forget perfection - audio quality, instrument, your level. This is why I’ve already started doing LIVE videos sharing my music practice or a piano tip without having my piano audio technically set up perfectly! I want to lead you by example. That means I have to let go of my perfectionistic urge to fix all the things. Besides, perfection doesn’t reach the heart.
2. Start where you are. No excuses. So you are a beginner. Or a late bloomer. Or maybe you are just coming back to piano as a busy adult like me! Remember that sharing where you are with music right now is just a SNAPSHOT of your piano-playing journey. Think of it as the golden memory it will be LATER.
Here is a great place to use BEGINNER’S MINDSET! I went in-depth about this in my November 30th Facebook LIVE episode, where I shared how to transform your piano mistakes into beautiful music. You can check it out on the YourCreativeChord Facebook page here.
I LOVE having a beginner’s mindset about anything but especially piano learning! Think about how a baby refuses to give up learning to walk no matter how many times she falls or bashes her head! LOL. NOTHING deters a beginner’s mindset. It’s about being in the moment with 100% determination.
Start where you are. No excuses.
3. Get excited about your musical journey. Let this chance to share your music be a journal of your piano progress. Think of it as starting a new tradition with your musical growth. Let others share your experience. You may inspire someone to start something new for themselves!
4. Remember: Frequency desensitizes. Playing your music as often as possible desensitizes your nerves and lowers performance anxiety. Familiarity breeds comfort. The more familiar you get with sharing your music at any opportunity, the easier it gets!
5. Holiday Music is the perfect moment to build your confidence as a piano player! Holidays are a great chance to share the joy of music because everyone around you is in the holiday spirit.
Plus, the focus is not on YOU, but the HOLIDAY itself! The holiday season is the perfect time to bring joy to those who can’t play or need encouragement!
Think of the good you are doing for others! Even if you have to do that virtually during the pandemic--sharing music is a win-win for yourself and others.
When you work on your focus on the music itself, you decrease your anxiety. Take the focus off of yourself. Stop thinking about your piano skill or level.
Start concentrating on being the messenger of the music. The bearer of music's message. The conduit for sharing the joy of musical immersion.
6. Play anything. If you don’t know any holiday music, share what you are learning right now! People don’t care what the music selection is. They just love hearing music.
Think about any of the times you have enjoyed hearing live music and how that made you feel! It could have been a live concert, recital, singing songs or listening to someone play the guitar or harmonica around a bonfire, hearing a kids’ chorus concert, or even a singer on a commercial.
The point is that it doesn’t matter what music you decide to share. Just play anything, even if it’s a simple song or scale. The sound of music in the air brings people closer together. Make that cause!
So let’s wrap-up these 6 tips on How To Boost Your Confidence As A Piano Player:
If you follow these 6 tips to share your piano music with others, not only will you brighten the holidays for others, but you will boost your confidence!
You can grow as a piano player! The more you challenge yourself as consistently as possible, the more enjoyment you will gain and the better your piano playing skills will become!
Drop a comment to me know if these tips inspire you to share your music!
Tell me what music you will share with others soon!
If today’s piano tips are helpful to you and you’d like to learn more, I invite you to join my New & Returning Piano Learners Facebook group.
I’ll be hosting my FREE Essential Piano Basics Masterclass on January 11, 2022 inside the group.
Just click the button below to learn more!
Get what you need for successful piano learning and effective piano practice.
Join the New & Returning Piano Learners Facebook group to access my FREE Essential Piano Basics Masterclass on January 11, 2022!
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is Part 1 of a series offering my best tips on how to practice piano.
For all these scenarios, I have some useful suggestions.
Why Should You Believe I Know How To Make Piano Progress?
I’ve taught piano for more than half my life. Piano is a way that I best express myself, whether through performance or my original compositions.
I performed as a pianist (and vocalist) and owned a private piano teaching studio for 25 years. I taught group piano (Musikgarten methodology) to kids from 5 to 11, too!
If you’re interested in checking out my piano-based original music, or looking for proof to believe me when I say I know how to make piano progress, go to: JLMusicStudio.com
Or have a listen to: My Piano Performance of Clair De Lune.
Why Does Your Piano Practice Make You Feel Like A Loser?
I know from my early piano practice sessions what it feels like to be overwhelmed, or stuck, or frustrated by a particular musical challenge. I was familiar with spending chunks of fruitless time at piano, not being able to accomplish something.
I’d practice musical passages, scales, etudes, fingering, rhythmic patterns, or dynamics relentlessly and repetitively, only to hear myself play the same mistake after mistake.
I’ve had some great piano teachers, though, and one of them was quite instrumental (What? A musical pun here?) in teaching me how to make progress with learning piano. I finally learned how to practice piano effectively.
I’ve seen this dilemma from both sides. Having taught piano and music for 25+ years, I’ve met many piano students who felt overwhelmed by piano practice.
I’ve had students come to me with angst from their lack of progress with former piano teachers.
I’ve had adults come to me with feeble hopes after quitting piano lessons as a child.
I’ve had teenagers joining my studio initially complain that piano was boring and they couldn’t get any better at it.
How To Practice Piano With Confidence
I learned to practice piano effectively. My private piano students overcame issues with getting stuck or insufficient progress, too. They succeeded because the driving point I taught in each piano lesson was how to practice piano effectively.
Do You Know Where The Musical Magic Really Happens?
First, you need to know that the magic never happens in the piano lesson. You will not be illuminated musically by exposure to the brilliance of your piano teacher. Sorry, no unicorns here.
Piano improvement comes directly from the student.
You, as the piano student, or you as the parent of the piano student, are the key to continuous piano progress. The piano student has full responsibility for developing piano skills. Having that self-motivation is 90% of the musical betterment battle.
Of course, a quality piano instructor will be critically helpful as an experienced guide on your musical journey. A good piano teacher can inspire your consistent piano progress. Your piano teacher can help you avoid mistakes or break habits that stunt your piano development.
Your piano teacher can use your strengths to help you advance more dynamically, or help you polish your weaknesses into tools for improvement. But the real result is up to the piano student. Not the teacher.
If that has fully sunk into your brain, now you are ready for my piano practice tips!
Please first take a look at these blogs if you are just beginning piano:
What Do You Need To Know, Have, Or Do To Begin Piano?
What Keyboard Do I Need For Successful Piano Lessons?
How To Find A Good Piano Teacher
Necessary Steps To Achieve Your Most Effective Piano Practice
Having read through the blogs above, hopefully you’ve found a great piano teacher, have a quality instrument or a plan to upgrade to one, and have sorted out a regular practice routine that is supported by those in your home. Now you must begin to establish an effective piano practice strategy that produces progress within your regular practice sessions.
In my next blogs of this series, My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 2 & My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 3, I walk you through my effective piano practice strategy in detail.
Why You Need To Choose A Goal Relevant For Your Level
Before you begin toward your daily piano practice routine, you will need to define the goals you will concentrate on. As you read through these piano practice tips, it will become evident that your goals will change and develop as you practice. Choosing and changing goals helps keep your interest and promotes the greatest progress while practicing piano.
The most critical part that will vary from student to student, or from one practice session to the next, is choosing relevant practice goals. The goals you select depend on your level of musicianship, and will vary from beginner to advanced levels of piano skill.
Beginner to intermediate level piano students will typically have a few piano goals assigned by their piano teacher to achieve before the next piano lesson. As you advance in piano proficiency, you’ll be able to use more self-volition in selecting appropriate piano goals.
As you advance, and with the guidance from your piano teacher, you’ll learn the art of narrowing your focus to what goals are necessary for your current piano playing level.
Before you begin, you must determine your specific goals for each piano practice session. You’ll need to break your weekly goals down into smaller, digestible chunks. Either using what your piano teacher has offered, or devising your own, make a list of targeted piano practice goals you will work on during your piano practice session.
In the next blog, I will offer a few examples of relevant piano practice goals.
Checkout next steps in my effective piano practice strategy in My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 2, & My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 3.
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to join the conversation below to let me know if this blog is helpful to you, or if you have questions or suggestions!
If you’re a piano teacher, feel free to leave one of your favorite piano practice tips in the comment section!
Annnnnd...if you loved this blog don't forget to show your awesome support by Liking the link, Subscribing for more updates and adding your comment below!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Did you know that playing piano improves your wellness?
Learning piano benefits both adults and children. From physical health, to slowing the aging process, improving cognitive and problem-solving skills, to improved mood and reducing stress, research has proven the benefits of piano study no matter what age you start.
Click the video above for Tip #4 and learn how piano playing helps your hearing, thinking, and emotional well-being!
If you're interested in starting piano, checkout my new short video series for quick and easy, actionable tips--something you can use immediately to bring you closer to your goal of piano learning.
Each short video offers a nugget of valuable knowledge for you to apply toward a solid, productive musical learning experience.
My video tips summarize the useful and much more in-depth information from my ebook, "Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning!"
My ebook has answers to every question you have about starting piano.
CLICK BELOW to learn more and get ALL you need to start playing piano the right way!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I saw an online discussion where a piano teacher shared his view that practicing piano should feel like a struggle or be difficult. Though I see his point that no one will get much momentum from simply playing piano for pure enjoyment during every piano practice session, practicing piano does not need to be unenjoyable.
I know from experience that practicing piano can actually be fun, flow smoothly, and feel immensely gratifying as you make incremental musical progress.
You do not have to feel like piano practice should be difficult for you to make progress!
It is much more reasonable to know that the way you spend your piano practice leads directly (or not) to an enjoyable and fruitful experience. How to practice piano effectively is one of the most misunderstood topics for piano learners. But knowing how to practice makes all the difference in your levels of enjoyment, satisfaction, and piano progress.
You achieve these positive experiences when you approach your piano practice with clear goals and make a focused mental effort toward those goals. Reaching each of your musical goals will become an enormous boost to your positive feeling, self-esteem, and love for music learning.
Of course, making concentrated effort itself can be a constant struggle to develop and maintain. But doing so directly impacts your progress in piano practice.
Keeping the fun in piano practice depends on the goals set by you and your piano teacher and how you challenge yourself to achieve them. The specific step-by-step routes to reach each goal are where the variety of piano practice comes into play (Hee! Catch my musical pun?). There are plenty of ways to create an attitude of fun toward each piano practice goal.
You may incorporate a friendly piano competition, aiming for setting a record, making up various games, using piano or music apps for supplemental aid, and piano duets, group or masterclasses, and public performance target dates.
If you’re a beginner piano player, your piano teacher should be able to break your goals down into manageable chunks for daily piano practice. As you learn to stay focused on this kind of goal-directed piano practice, you’ll eventually be able to determine your own piano practice goals.
Typically, goal-setting in piano practice hones straight in on whatever part or aspect of the music is unknown or problematic for the piano student. Troubleshooting is one of the most effective ways to attack piano progress. And, that’s where some may interpret the difficulty of effective practicing lies.
Concentrating on learning something new or challenging takes effort. But our attitude toward making that effort is where the power of fun versus drudgery makes all the difference.
If you only play music that is simple, easy, and fun for you, your piano progress will stagnate. But you don’t have to be a martyr, either! Choose your most challenging goals to face at the start of your piano practice session (or immediately after a short warm-up). Give it your all.
At the end of your practice session, reward yourself by playing all the music you enjoy because you’ve already mastered it. If you consistently challenge the musical goals that force you to concentrate, think, and repeatedly practice, you will be surprised by your progress. Your reward repertoire at the end of each piano practice session will quickly expand.
Being able to play through a variety of musical works successfully is itself an incredible joy and accomplishment. But, to keep progressing, you must balance the rewards of playing something easy for you with your effort to challenge the next musical goal. That discipline is something that you will forge naturally over time if you choose your goals for each piano practice session and learn how to practice them effectively.
How to practice piano effectively is the main topic of my upcoming ebook, My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Effectively.
If you’re a new or returning piano learner, checkout my ebook, "Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning!"
Get my piano tips in my short video series!
Don't forget to show your awesome support by sharing/liking/retweeting the link! Subscribe for more updates!
My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 1
My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 2
My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Part 3
What Do You Need To Know, Have, Or Do To Begin Piano?
Find A Good Piano Teacher
Your Top 5 Best Tips From A Piano Teacher
What’s The Best Way For A Busy Adult To Learn Piano?
What Keyboard Do I Need For Successful Piano Lessons?
How Learning Piano Benefits Aging Adults
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
🎹 I have exciting news for piano learners or those interested in playing the piano! Check out my ebook, Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning.
I am excited my ebook is now available for purchase directly from my website! This is the perfect gift for anyone interested in piano playing!
I created this valuable resource for those who:
My ebook is a practical, down-to-earth, all-in-one resource and easy-to-read guide for anyone interested in getting started or returning to piano lessons.
Want to know if this is the right book for you, your family, or a musical friend?
Here is an excerpt from the introduction of my ebook,
“Throughout my 30-year music and piano teaching career, I have been asked the same questions repeatedly by those interested in playing the piano. Beginner to intermediate piano students asked me these same questions again and again.
Even advanced players, lacking a foundation of good practice habits, and frustrated with how to pierce through a plateau or further progress in piano, exhibited a need to learn piano practice basics. Many of these piano learners did not lack piano skills. They were stumped by repeated mistakes or by their inability to breakthrough musical barriers. They simply did not know how to practice piano effectively for consistent progress.
In my experience with private lessons, small groups, and in-classroom school music classes, all my students and their parents or guardians had the same need for answers to these questions about successful piano learning. I combined their biggest concerns and most recurring inquiries in Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning ebook.
As a pianist and composer of piano-based music, I know well the rich benefits and joy of piano playing. The issues piano learners face and their desire to get started, return to, or keep pressing on to reap the rewards of piano progress, motivates me to provide this content. I offer help for piano learners to keep breaking through to new levels of piano performance.
Though I wrote blogs on these topics, many have expressed continued interest in starting piano or more successful piano practice results. My ebook (as well as my upcoming ebook, My Best Tips On How To Practice Piano Effectively) provides answers to these persistent questions in an organized, convenient way. I hope my books are helpful to those seeking successful, consistent momentum for piano progress.
You get all the basics you need about successfully starting piano lessons. You will learn how to find a quality instrument, piano method, whether you need and how to find a good piano teacher, whether online tools for piano learning are valuable, what you need for a successful start to piano-learning, and how to maintain continued piano progress.
I hope this ebook provides the answers you seek and helps you successfully begin or continue your musical journey with enjoyable, confident, forward-moving piano advancement.”
My new ebook is the perfect gift:
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MY EBOOK:
"What a great resource for potential piano parents to have."
~-Krista Schupbach, PIANO TEACHER
"A great book that will inspire many people to take up piano lessons. It inspires me to continue playing and composing. Many people [will want] to start piano studies after reading [this] ebook. Looking forward to [the author's] next ebook."
--Alex Dawson, RETIRED PIANO TEACHER
"Excellent e-book! EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING PIANO. There is just about everything you can think in [this ebook] like a bible of what you should know. I also enjoyed previous articles and links from [YourCreativeChord.com] blog -- which only strengthens [the author] as an authority on piano. Great job!"
--Joshua Sohn, FILM & GAME COMPOSER
"Genuinely, this is a good resource and a reassuring one to someone coming at the piano with some trepidation, intimidation, or wondering, Am I too old to start?"
--Tracie Callahan, COMPOSER, MUSIC EDUCATOR
In my PIANO blogs, you'll find ways to overcome boredom, get past musical and mental blocks, explore the creative process with piano, and improve musical progress through piano teacher recommended best practices and effective piano practice tips.