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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 Online Piano Course.

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…

Jul 21 14

“What exercises should I be practicing?”

by Bruce Siegel

Darshan, a new subscriber to Play & Sing in the early stages of learning to play the piano, wants to know whether he should be practicing Hanon exercises, and if not, which exercises I recommend.

It’s a great question, and I thought my answer might be helpful to others too. So here’s what I said. read more…

Jul 21 14

Sorry about that!

by Bruce Siegel

If you subscribe to this blog (not my course) and occasionally receive emails containing old posts, please accept my apologies. I would never bombard readers with stuff they’ve already read, but WordPress itself (or maybe some other system or software I use) apparently has no guilt about such annoying behavior.

I promise to get to the bottom of this. But in the meantime, please ignore emails about old posts!

Thanks,
Bruce

Dec 11 13

Update: Where to Get Free Chord Sheets

by Bruce Siegel

For years, I’ve been telling my online students about Wikifonia.org. 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: Ultimate-Guitar.com. 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.

Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

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.

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 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 that enthusiasm 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 Wikifonia.org 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…

Mar 12 12

Axis of Awesome’s 4-Chord Songs

by Bruce Siegel

If you’re a student of my online course, you know that it teaches you, step by step, to accompany your own singing. We began with songs that use only three chords, and in my most recent tutorial, Accompaniment Styles for 50 Great Songs, we added a fourth. read more…

Mar 11 12

New 2-part Tutorial: Accompaniment Styles for 50 Great Songs

by Bruce Siegel

I’m excited about my latest videos. Rather than focus on just one song, they help you play a huge variety of songs both slow and fast, including pop, rock, folk, blues, Broadway–you name it. read more…

Oct 31 11

Improvising and the Pattern Play Series

by Bruce Siegel

Do you want to learn to improvise? Do you need help in teaching improvisation to others?

If the answer is yes to either question, you may be interested in the Pattern Play series of books by Akiko and Forrest Kinney, read more…