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Oct 4 11

The Top Three Myths About Learning to Play the Piano

by Bruce Siegel


I keep this old post up top because, as one of the commenters says, it looks at the BIG picture of how we learn to play. You’ll find practical tips here as well as exercises, resources, and the philosophy behind the DoctorKeys piano courses.

Whether you’ve been playing the piano for years or are just getting started, what you think you know may be holding you back.

Here are the common fallacies we’ll debunk:

• It all starts with learning to read music.
• It’s all about the fingers.
• Practicing means playing a piece over and over.

read more…

Mar 5 15

Three New Tutorials

by Bruce Siegel

Subscribers to Pop Piano Accompaniment will be pleased to know that I just uploaded three new lessons to the course — you can preview them here.

I’m particularly thrilled to be offering the one called “Voice Leading: How to Connect Chords Beautifully While Bringing Variety to Your Playing.” As I say in the video: read more…

Jan 27 15

Do you struggle with chord inversions?

by Bruce Siegel

A DoctorKeys subscriber just emailed me a question that’s so important, I’ve decided to post our exchange. Here’s the question:

It takes me too long to invert chords when I am trying to play songs. For example, if I was playing the root position of C chord and wanted to progress to the closest inversion of G chord, I have to think for a while to know that it is “B D G”. Also, once the chord is inverted, I get lost. (like, “what is this chord that I’m playing right now?”) Do I just have to practice the transition over and over or is there a better way?

And here’s my response:

Great question! Two things in particular can help. read more…

Dec 16 14

How to Play Adele’s Someone Like You and Other 4-Chord Songs

by Bruce Siegel

Here’s your chance to master one of the most beautiful progressions in all of music. In the key of C, that would be the C, G, A minor, and F chords, in that order.

The songs you’ll learn to play (at least in part) include Someone Like You, No One, She Will Be Loved, You’re Beautiful, With or Without You, read more…

Nov 10 14

What Do These Crazy Dudes Have To Do With My Latest Piano Course?

by Bruce Siegel

If you haven’t yet seen this highly entertaining video, do yourself a favor and watch it now. In it, Axis of Awesome shows how you can play big chunks of many of the greatest pop hits using the same four chords.

Now as it happens, my new course, Pop Piano Accompaniment, opens with two tutorials based on the same premise. read more…

Nov 10 14

Pop Piano Accompaniment Goes Live

by Bruce Siegel

Just a quick note to let you know that the first four lessons of my newest course are now online. They pick up from where Play & Sing leaves off.

Read more about the new course here.

Jul 21 14

“Should I be practicing exercises?”

by Bruce Siegel

That’s the question that Darshan, a new subscriber to Play & Sing, asked me recently. He’s a beginner who was particularly curious about the often-recommended exercises published in 1900 by Charles-Louis Hanon.

I thought my answer might be helpful to others, too, so here’s what I said. read more…

Dec 11 13

Update: Where to Get Free Chord Sheets

by Bruce Siegel

For years, I’ve been telling my online students about It’s been a great place to get free chord sheets for your favorite songs.

Well, Wikifonia has been unavailable for weeks, so it may be discontinued.

The good news is that there’s now an even better source for free chord charts: It has everything Wikifonia did. (Except that melodies are not written out–but you don’t need that to play an accompaniment.) And Ultimate-Guitar has a much bigger selection of songs than Wikifonia did. Like Wikifonia, Ultimate-Guitar will also transpose (change keys) for you.

To the best of my understanding, Ultimate-Guitar is now fully legal, meaning it has some sort of arrangement with the publishers, and composers get paid for their efforts. So I now have no qualms whatsoever about recommending it.


Apr 22 13

New Tutorial: How to Use the Sustain Pedal on the Piano or Keyboard

by Bruce Siegel

If you haven’t begun to use the pedal yet, you’re in for a thrill when you hear what a huge difference it can make in your playing. And if you are using it but without really knowing what you’re doing, I’ll show you how to get the most out of this essential tool.

I’m talking about the sustain pedal, or damper pedal. On an acoustic piano, it’s the one on the right. On a keyboard, it’s a separate device that sits on the floor and attaches to the instrument via a cable. read more…

Jan 22 13

Two New Piano Tutorials

by Bruce Siegel

Just a brief note to let you know I just put up two new lessons. “A Quick-Start Guide to the Piano: Playing Your First Piece” fits near the beginning of the Play & Sing course, and a tutorial on John Lennon’s Imagine goes at the end. You can find out more about these lessons by going to the complete course list.


Sep 17 12

Dance While You Play! (Rhythm’s in your body, not your head)

by Bruce Siegel

Today’s my first day back from vacation, and I want to share with you something that just happened.

I haven’t been playing the piano recently because I know how important it is, sometimes, to get away from my musical pursuits. And this morning, when I sat down to play, I couldn’t regain the excitement I usually feel.

And then I remembered the secret I keep forgetting and re-discovering: read more…

Sep 17 12

Chord Study: What’s really important?

by Bruce Siegel

A recent visitor to DoctorKeys asked me why my course doesn’t get into more complex chords like 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. (1/26/15 Update: My newest course, Pop Piano Accompaniment, does indeed teach 9th chords.)

It’s because our focus so far has been on building a strong foundation, on helping you to grasp simple chords in a truly practical way, before moving on to more advanced harmonies.

As a teacher, I’ve learned over the years that students can often build the most complicated chords without knowing how to actually use even the simplest, including: read more…

Jul 10 12

New Tutorial: Piano Technique–A Whole-Body Approach

by Bruce Siegel

Finally, it’s online, and I think you’ll find it helpful. The lesson is perfect for beginners, but also for more advanced students who know there’s more to piano technique than what you do with your fingers.

Here’s the video for Part 1. You can read more about it here.

Jul 10 12

Sheet music for Prelude in C now available

by Bruce Siegel

Some of you have asked about the sheet music for the piece I play at the start of Piano Technique: A Whole-Body Approach. Well, with just a few clicks, you can now instantly download and print out a beautifully edited and fingered score of it, and be playing it within minutes. Watch me play Prelude, and/or purchase it here.

May 10 12

My online students are animals!

by Bruce Siegel

No–I’m not badmouthing anyone. I’m just stating a fact.

You see, there’s a website that allows me to gain certain information about DoctorKeys users. Because when I see a pattern of frequent visits, I sometimes can’t resist typing in the internet address to see what part of the world all that love is coming from. read more…

Mar 23 12

Free Chord Charts and Where to Get Them

by Bruce Siegel

As you may know, I’ve been talking up as a great place to go for free lead sheets. Wiifonia will even transpose songs into your key, and give you beautiful files, ready to print. Well, I just found another free online source. Each has its pros and cons. read more…