Scroll down to watch the REPLAY video.
Even then, we are often more separate as players than other musicians. Wind, string, percussion, and brass players all have each other in their sections for interaction.
I chatted with music educator Jim Johnson, a member of the New and Returning Piano Learners group and leader of his Facebook group for adults learning beginning piano.
We talked about how stressful the pandemic has been for many of us. Beyond the sometimes lonely path of piano practice, life itself has been intense globally for several years.
Jim and I agreed that learning a musical instrument brings incredible wellness factors and is a powerful remedy to the stress of our world.
We also related to having started our Facebook groups to create life-to-life connections while contributing meaningfully to others during these challenging times.
Stay tuned for our in-depth conversation coming out on YourCreativeChord podcast soon.
Here is WHY I started the New and Returning Piano Learners group and want to grow it further. I like the group members —YOU— so much because you share my love for the piano. But especially because you engage with me and each other to build sincere connections.
I want to encourage each of you to get engaged in this group for new and returning piano learners. Start building relationships with the members here around our mutual piano learning journey.
The more we share our real selves and where we are with our music, the more we will inspire and motivate piano progress. Not just for ourselves but for others in the group.
Your conversations and questions open insights into my strengths and weaknesses. They shed new light on how to troubleshoot piano practice issues.
You are helping each other well beyond the invaluable piano teacher’s guidance. For those who cannot have a piano teacher at this point, your engagement, feedback, tips, and general support are crucial.
Pandemic life, the news of Russia’s war on Ukraine, gas prices—all of these events are stressful for us all.
Remember that community provides relief. Finding a sense of belonging brings relief. Your piano learning journey helps you connect with like-minded music appreciators. Our interactions open our minds to fresh inspiration for piano practice and music learning.
Another thing Jim Johnson and I agreed on wholeheartedly is that excessive emphasis on exterior credentials and spam are just clutter. These kinds of judgment and junk drain us.
You won’t find that in this piano learner group. This community and connection with new and returning piano learners bring relief, encouragement, and joy.
Because we are real here. We connect with what’s important about music.
Not flashy piano technique, famous elitist methods, teachers, or schools.
But through expressing our true selves through the piano.
Doing our best to improve our piano playing from yesterday to today, then tomorrow.
Each Tuesday from 1 pm ET, I go live as transparently as possible. I want to show you that the more you engage and share your vulnerability the deeper and more real your relationships and this community grows.
As I share my true self, struggles, and goals with you, I make sincere, truthful, mutually encouraging connections with those who engage with me. I appreciate you for that interaction.
Ask your questions.
Share what’s working in your piano learning journey.
We share in common a true love of the piano. Let’s go deeper.
Let’s get to know each other.
Join me weekly at 1 pm ET for my Tuesday Piano Tips LIVE!
If you have a question or topic you'd like me to address, let me know in the comments!
Would you like to get more piano tips from me?
You can get my latest piano tips, news of my upcoming books and courses for new and returning piano learners, plus my original piano sheet music by subscribing to my email newsletter here.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
After reading my ebook, Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning, percussionist and composer, Joshua Sohn, of Salt Lake City, Utah, said my ebook includes "everything you need to know before starting piano."
I appreciated getting this feedback from a fellow composer/musician because this is exactly what I intended with my ebook!
Through my 30-year piano teaching career, I have taught countless students who initially came to me with no clue about what is necessary for piano success. They did not know how to prepare for their lessons, much less what kind of instrument they need, or how to practice piano for developing their musical skills.
Fortunately, as their piano teacher, I guided them on all these points. My students created a healthy physical and instrumental setup, practice routine, and strategy.
The majority of my students acquired consistent musical improvement. They developed the confidence for regular performance in recitals and group classes. More importantly, they gained great confidence through understanding how to effectively practice the piano and create a healthy physical and instrumental setup. This foundation gave them tremendous joy.
Unfortunately, I have seen the initial excitement of these potential piano players fade. They developed poor piano technique, and their perpetuating hand and finger weaknesses only increased their frustration. They lacked guidance from a qualified piano instructor.
They also typically had a keyboard setup that is inadequate for their development of quality piano skills. They did not know how to practice the piano effectively.
Regrettably, some folks claim to be piano teachers, whether online or locally, but do not actually offer a solid foundation for piano beginners. The lack of a solid foundation is why many adults quit the piano too soon.
Many adults return to piano study much later in life, wishing to start again. Those adults I taught were confused about the absolute basics necessary for steady piano progress. This lack of basics is also why many young teens give up too soon, thinking they are not capable or lack musical ability. That is false.
Whether you want to try learning piano for the first time in your life, return to the piano after a long gap, or explore setting up piano lessons for your child, my new ebook has “everything you need to know before starting piano.”
My ebook covers the things any new or returning piano learner needs to consider for successfully starting piano:
My ebook, Start Piano: What You Need For Successful Learning, offers you practical guidance on what and how to take action toward getting your piano journey started successfully.
Everything in my ebook comes from my experience as a piano teacher and my journey as a professional pianist and composer of piano-based music. I put “everything you need to know before starting piano” in my ebook to take all the guesswork and mystery out of the process for you.
I wrote this ebook so that people like you can start your piano learning story with confidence. When you read my ebook, you will know how to properly get everything set up as a solid foundation of support for you to enjoy achieving success as a piano player.
GET Everything You Need For Success At Piano! 👇
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
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
These are a few things that I have done over the years as a pianist and they have worked well to improve my technique and keep dexterity and fluency in my fingers.
One of the most critical things you can do to improve your technique is practice it consistently. In other words, practice every single day. Do not miss a day. Even if you can only play for five minutes, do not miss a day.
Another critical aspect is how to practice the piano effectively. See more detail and tips on that here.
How Much Technique
If you have two hours to practice daily, start with the idea of one hour of technique practice per day. The second hour spent on actual repertoire makes sense toward decent progress. During your piano technique practice, incorporate scales, etudes and other exercises such as those found in a good Hanon exercise book.
Scales, Accents and Varying Accents
Start learning all major and minor scales in 4 octaves. Play around with the rhythm patterns of the scales. For example, try playing a scale using the rhythm pattern of straight quarter note rhythms. Then accent the first beat (quarter note) as you play all four octaves of a scale. Then play the scale again (or another scale) as you alternate the accent to the second beat, then to the third beat, then the fourth beat as you play through each scale.
Use Varied Rhythmic Patterns
Use alternating rhythms; i.e., play your scales using the rhythm pattern of a dotted eighth note followed by a 16th note. Then switch to the rhythm pattern of a 16th note followed by a dotted eighth note. Then try an eighth note followed by two 16 notes. Then reverse that to two 16th notes followed by an eighth note.
Use Varying Accents
For each of the previous rhythm patterns, place an accent on the first note of each pattern. Then alternate the accent to fall on the second note of the rhythm pattern, creating a syncopated feel. Then, accent the third note of the rhythm pattern, and so on.
Try using a triplet rhythm pattern, placing an accent on the first note of each triplet pattern. Then accent the second note, then the third note of each triplet pattern as you play a four-octave scale.
Choose some of these varying rhythm patterns for your four-octave scale practice. Use a metronome at a very slow tempo and focus on very clearly articulating each of those accented notes within the rhythmic patterns with relaxed hand placement and curved finger-tips. As you get more fluent, speed up the tempo.
Another idea is to use the above rhythms and accents at the same tempo adding dynamics. For example, start your scale at fortissimo and as you play your scale going up the keyboard, decrescendo until you are playing pianissimo at the high range of the keyboard. Then reverse those dynamics.
Or play the entire ascending scale passage fortissimo then alternate when you descend by playing the entire descending scale passage at the dynamic level of pianissimo. Change the dynamic levels to whatever you’d like, incorporating crescendo, decrescendo, piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, forte, and so on.
For more practice tips, visit my Pinterest Piano Practice Tips board.
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!
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Learning To Be Creative
Listen to my original piano music here.
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.