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Remember: - You can pause, stop, and replay any of these video lessons at any stage.
Take as long as you need to complete each lesson before proceeding to the next one. If an individual lesson proves problematic, drop me a line explaining why in as much detail as possible, and move on - you can always come back to the piece at a later stage.
I recommend setting the video window to full-screen, and if you are using a laptop, placing it on top of your piano lid or keyboard - (a) to correspond with the piano keys below, and (b) for easy and immediate access during actual practice. This way, it is virtually like having a piano teacher next to you in a traditional face-to-face music lesson.
Best wishes, and please don't be shy to ask questions if you are unclear on any aspect of what is shown.
I'd also love to hear any suggestions you may have for additional lesson content - or anything else!
Thank you and Good Luck,
Remember to play with the SIDE of the thumb, not the TOP. Shake out stiff or cramped fingers and try to maintain a light relaxed hand on the piano keyboard.
If you experience any physical pain, you are probably overdoing it, and should take a break until such pain, usually minor, subsides. Any persistent pain should be referred to your physician.
Do not be alarmed or frustrated if you should find finger number 4 on either hand involuntarily pulling down adjacent finger numbers 3 or 5 at any stage. This is quite normal, and will stop in time as you practice and each finger gains complete independence of movement.
As these initial lessons progress, you will find that they follow a systematic pattern or ordered sequence of events - First we learn the song using our finger numbers only, and then we learn the song again learning/using the note names as a reinforcement aid.
This way, we are only concentrating on ONE thing at a time - either the note names, or the finger numbers. One reinforces the other - This is at the heart of this Fast Track approach.
This 'one thing at a time' method also allows you to focus on keeping your hands in position. As long as each finger is positioned on the correct note - remembering to take one note per finger - you will achieve success in a very short space of time.
Each piece is played at performance speed as a guide to how the piece should sound once practiced and mastered satisfactorily. You can also attempt to play along with this guide performance if you like.
Ode To Joy - Pt 1 of 3. by Ludwig van Beethoven - 3:39 - Middle C Position
Right Hand Only
Who hasn't heard of Beethoven? This piece 'Ode To Joy' is one of his best known and loved worldwide. The distinctive melody - based around the first five notes of the Major scale - is said to have taken him 30 years to compose and complete to his satisfaction. Beethoven was already old, in ill-health, and profoundly deaf, when his piece - a song of celebration - was first performed publicly.
Section Two: Note names and Finger numbers for all pieces in this section, as either an on-screen viewable or downloadable file in Pdf document format.
Twinkle Twinkle - 4:36 - Middle C position - Both Hands
Welcome to the Both Hands together session of lessons.
We are introducing the Left hand and Both hands together simultaneously, and beginning this section with the same piece we used to close the previous section.
What may be interesting to note is that a piece of music can be played in multiple different positions on the keyboard - known as "KEYS" - For example, we have the key of 'C' Major, but we also have the keys of 'A' Major, 'D' Major and so on... Indeed, there is a different Major key for every one of the 12 different individual white and black notes on the piano.
Can you think of any reason why we might want to learn a piece in different keys? - Answer at the bottom of the lesson.
Answer: - Well, one reason we may want to learn a song in different keys would be to suit the vocal range of different singers, depending on whether they are male or female, with a soprano, alto, tenor or bass range. Another good reason could be to suit the tunings of other instruments in an ensemble or band, - a good example of this would be Brass sections.
Happy Birthday - 2:00 - Middle C Position - Both hands together.
I hope that hasn't confused you too much! All becomes clearer the more Scales you learn and practice.
Now that we have covered C Major in Contrary Motion, I would recommend beginning all future practice with this scale as a finger warm-up exercise - Much in the same way athletes employ warm-up exercises before a race
Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe one of this piece's many claims to fame is that it was the first piece of music ever played by an IBM computer.
By the way - WELL DONE!!! You have now completed the entire Both Hands in Middle C position section of the course.
Onwards and upwards....
Section Three: Note names and Finger numbers for all pieces in this section, as either an on-screen viewable or downloadable file in Pdf document format.
This Old Man - 2:14 - Middle C Position - Both hands together
This piece revisits note 'A' in the Right hand, which we first encountered in 'Twinkle Twinkle'.
However, this time, we move our entire right hand position UP or RIGHT on the piano by one white key, so that out thumb is now on note 'D' rather than Middle 'C'. If you have forgotten note 'A', perhaps now is a good time to revisit the 'Twinkle Twinkle' right hand only lesson.
The second transitional new technique introduced in this piece is actually playing notes TOGETHER at the same time, in both the Right and Left hands. So far, we have alternated between playing a right hand note followed by a left hand note, or vice versa. This is the first piece to play notes in both hands simultaneously.
When we play two or more notes at the same time, the resulting combination of notes is known as a CHORD. We will be learning more about chords later in the course. A chord often contains a MELODIC note (the singing line, the actual 'tune' note - usually but not always the TOP note of the chord in the right hand) and HARMONIC notes. The function of harmonic notes is to support the melody, to 'flesh out' the music. In popular music terms, think of the MELODY as the Lead Singer of a band, and the HARMONY as the backing band/music.
Although we can play songs as pure MELODY (indeed, we have been doing this so far in the lessons), they will always take on new life and a fuller canvas of musical color and sound when we add HARMONY.
Please take as much time as necessary with this lesson, especially playing fingers 2 and 4 at the same time in the left hand. You may initially find other fingers sympathetically depressing adjacent keys.
Good luck with this. If you encounter any problems, please message me.
Section Four: Note names and Finger numbers for all pieces in this section, as either an on-screen viewable or downloadable file in Pdf document format.
Remember to pause, stop, and/or replay any section of the video until you have mastered these new Left hand chords (groups of notes together).
Top Tip: Practice the left hand combinations of fingers 5,3 and 1; also 5, 2, and 1 AWAY from the piano at any time by pressing/tapping the tips of these fingers on any flat surface to hand - tabletop, arm of chair, etc.
This part two lesson is a direct follow-on from the 'Ode To Joy' (part one) lesson, and assumes you have already mastered the previous lesson, and the right hand played on it's own.
The lesson begins with a refresher look at the right hand melody again.
We are then briefly introduced to RHYTHM. When listening to music, we should notice that not all notes are sounded or held for equal lengths of time, or durations. Some notes are longer or shorter than others. In order to hold notes for the correct amount of time when practicing a piece of music, it is necessary to count the beats. The most popular count, or TIME SIGNATURE, in music is 4 beats to a bar - also known as COMMON TIME.
'Ode To Joy' is an example of a piece of music written in COMMON TIME, or 4/4 time. We count 4 beats to every bar, which means we count out loud when practicing - 1,2,3,4 | 1,2,3,4 | 1,2,3,4 and so on. Each vertical line '|' is known as a BAR LINE and separates one BAR from the next.
Listen to any piece of popular music. Can you hear the drum beat? For 95% of these songs, you should be able to count 1,2,3,4 repeatedly to the beat of the song. Most Rock, Dance, and Pop songs are written in 4/4 time. Reggae songs and Waltzes are typically written in 3/4 time, which would be THREE beats counted to each bar.
The first beat of a bar in most music is emphasized or ACCENTED, played slightly louder than the remaining beats of the bar. See if you can hear this accented beat in your favorite songs - try counting ONE, two, three, four | ONE, two three, four... or ONE, two, three | ONE, two, three ... See which fits best!
Although you will be able to play every piece on this course accurately by following my 'play through' examples - Eventually you will learn to count the rhythm of the pieces yourself. Please consider the Rhythm part of this lesson as an optional extra at this stage if you currently find it too difficult to follow.
I wanted to introduce the concept of RHYTHM to you as it is fundamental to all music.
This third and final lesson for 'Ode To Joy' teaches an alternate and more advanced Left hand than in Lesson parts one and two. It also assumes you have mastered both lessons one and two already.
The first half of the piece plays an identical Left Hand as shown in the Part Two lesson.
At 0:38 of the video, we are introduced to two NEW developments in this course - playing BLACK KEYS for the first time - and - CROSSING OVER and UNDER our fingers.
The Black keys are nothing mysterious, you play them exactly as you would the White keys. However, I recommend SLIDING your finger/hand up the key as far as possible, (towards the piano lid), thus maximizing good key contact (maximum surface area), and ensuring your finger does not slip off to either side onto a white key.
If you have ever played the game of crossing your fingers or/and toes as a child to visually cement or reinforce keeping a promise to your friends, you already know how to CROSS OVER as it applies to the piano. Quite literally, you cross one finger OVER the top of the other. In this example, finger 2 crosses over the thumb (currently on note 'G') to play the Middle Black note in the group of 3.
What happens next is that the Thumb will have to slightly CROSS UNDER the 2nd finger (now on the middle Black key), to play the very next White note, which is 'A'. If you remember back to 'Twinkle Twinkle' and 'Away In A Manger', we have already played 'A' by changing position on the Right Hand.
You then drop your Middle finger on the Left Hand to play the BOTTOM black note in the group of 3, followed by Finger 2 now playing the note 'G' (which had previously been played by the Thumb).
If you are persistent with this section, you will have no difficulty mastering the final section where you descend from Middle C, via Finger 2 playing the TOP Black note in the group of 3, to the little finger playing note 'E' by stretching down ONE white note only. (You have already learned how to stretch UP one white note in the Right hand - now it is the Left hand's turn!)
Good luck with this one - Be patient!
We have already mastered 'Skip to my Lou' in the C Major hand position, now we will learn it in the 'F' Major key position.
This piece introduces the word FLAT. 'Flat' is one of three commonly used words in music collectively known as 'Accidentals' when 'accidentally' used to change the quality of a white key/note on the piano.
The other two words are NATURAL and SHARP. Let's take them each in turn. In this piece, we are asked to play the 'B' flat note - What happens next? - Well, instead of playing the White note 'B'; we play the BLACK note immediately BELOW 'B'.
KEY POINT: There is a popular misconception (even amongst seasoned musicians) that FLATS and SHARPS are the Black keys on the piano. This is NOT necessarily true.
(At the end of this lesson, if you have listened and read carefully, please find and play 'B' sharp, and 'F' flat. NOTE: Please don't message me to say there are no such notes!!)
I want you to think of traffic lights - Three colors signifying specific actions - RED = Stop, ORANGE/AMBER = Get Ready, GREEN = Go (in the UK anyhow - amend to local colors if necessary).
FLAT, NATURAL, and SHARP are just like these three traffic light directions in music - Flat just means to go down ONE note, to the immediate note BELOW the written note (either Black or White) - Natural means to always return to and play the White note, - and Sharp means to go UP by one note, to the immediate note ABOVE the written note. (either Black or White).
Summary: FLAT - Go down or left by one note (can be either Black or White); NATURAL - Stay where you are (play the white actual note); SHARP - Go up or right by one note(can be either Black or White)
Some examples - F Sharp is the Bottom, or first, black note in the group of 3. A Flat is the MIDDLE black note in the group of 3. G Sharp is ALSO the middle black note in the group of 3! - Remember, these are DIRECTIONS to DO SOMETHING, not actual notes! So, F sharp and G flat are the same note, E flat and D sharp are the same note - and just to confuse you if you have always thought of Sharps and Flats as BLACK keys only - the note 'B' and C Flat are the same note, as are E Sharp and 'F'.
The Flat sign looks very similar to the lower-case letter 'b' in written music.
The sharp sign looks as follows - # (same as the hash tag key)
The natural sign is a letter 'L' joined to an inverted 'L' - or the number '7' joined to an inverted '7'. See if you can find a natural sign in any sheet music you may have - or search for "the natural sign in written music" on Google.
Ode To Joy - 9:55 - Complete Lesson - A combination of parts 1, 2, and 3 as previously taught.
This is a comprehensive revisionary lesson, allowing you to practice the instructional material of all 3 parts of 'Ode To Joy' without the necessity of having to search for, and hop back and forward between separate videos.
This lesson shows two alternate versions, or ways of playing the Left hand - one based on Middle C position, and the other based around the Low C position. See which you prefer!
'Jingle Bells' Part 2 also introduces some F Sharp notes on the Left hand ( Do you remember the term 'Sharp' from the 'Skip to my Lou' in 'F' position lesson?)
Fantastic work! Award yourself 10 out of 10. You have now completed the transitional stage from beginner to early intermediate pianist. There has been a great deal of new material to take in, process, and remember in this section; and now might be a good time to revise what you have learned so far before moving on to 'Fur Elise' in the next section.
See you there!
Poor Beethoven! This piece was originally named Fur Therese - but Beethoven's handwriting was so bad that his publisher misread the name as "Elise" and the rest is history. I wonder how he explained that one away to the lady in question?
As our first lesson piece in the Intermediate section of the course, this one is a timeless gem, and the overall favorite piece of many music listeners and performers alike.
Take care and time with the constantly changing hand positions - Aim to eventually change position smoothly and without breaks in the flow of the music. I suggest practicing the Left hand separately for this purpose.
Also note that you can be moving the Left hand to it's new position, anticipating coming in with the right hand again; AS the right hand is playing phrases of notes unaccompanied by the left hand.
Another instantly recognizable timeless classic. This piece is in 3/4 time, counting three beats to a bar, and should be performed with very relaxed fingers - Imagine caressing silk.
In order to sustain notes, depress the furthest RIGHT pedal on your piano - This is known as the Sostenuto (or sustaining) Pedal. NOTE: Not the LOUD pedal, as some people think!
Depress the pedal along with the Left hand bass notes on count one, and keep this pedal depressed until count 3 - Lift off just after the left hand releases the top chordal notes following count three. Repeat this for every bar.
If you find your touch to be a shade heavy on the keys for this piece; try holding down the LEFT pedal, - or Una Corda pedal - for the duration of the piece. This will soften the overall tone by shifting the entire keyboard slightly to the right - thus diminishing the impact of the felt hammers striking the piano strings.
If you have experience of driving automobiles you have an advantage - use the piano pedals in much the same manner - Don't JUMP on the brakes or accelerator - just apply gentle pressure until you hear the notes sustaining, or notice the keyboard shift to the right (for the Una Corda pedal) - Keep the heel of each foot on the ground and gently depress each pedal as needed with the ball of each foot. Release the pedals in the same way - steadily firm movements - not jerky, hard, or abrupt. Experiment with the 'Biting' point of each pedal in much the same way as using automobile pedals for a hill start.
If you have not yet learned to drive an automobile - you are still at an advantage - By the time you come to do so, you will already have extensive experience of using pedals with both feet!
A 1000 Miles by Vanessa Carlton - Key of C Major - Right Hand Only. Note range is Middle C to next higher C note - One octave.
Vanessa Carlton's - "A Thousand Miles" Part 2.
This lecture will enable you to learn first the left hand, and then both hands together.
This is the first of two different lesson versions for this second part of "A Thousand Miles".
This is the second version of Part Two of 'A Thousand Miles' - Showing you how to play the left hand, and then both hands together. Feedback very much welcomed on which version you prefer!
A beautiful simple Right hand melody combined with a looping 4 chord finger pattern and sequence in the Left hand.
Left hand Chords in detail:- 'E' minor Root position notes (from bottom to top): E-G-B-E, played with fingers 5-4-2-1 (same fingering shown for all Left hand chords). 'G' Major 2nd inversion notes: D-G-B-D; 'B' minor 1st inversion notes: D-F#(sharp)-B-D; 'D' major Root position notes: D-F#-A-D.
Chord qualities explained - Root position, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion:
You will have heard me using these terms throughout the 'Amelie' video. When we play a Chord beginning on the KEY, or ROOT note of the scale, we say the Chord is in 'Root' position.
For example, the chord of 'C' major has three separate notes: C,E, and G. If we play the chord from bottom to top beginning on note 'C' - it is in ROOT position i.e. C-E-G-(C).
However, if we begin the chord from bottom to top beginning on note 'E', we would say it is a 1st (First) inversion chord: E-G-C-(E).
Likewise, if we begin the chord on note 'G' instead, we would say the chord is a 2nd(second) inversion chord shape: G-C-E-(G). Just to say, the notes in brackets are for a four note chord, whereas excluding the fourth note would give us a TRIAD, or three note chord.
If you are still unclear on this, please revisit the 'Let It Be' lecture for further clarification on Chords.
Try playing the following chords in the right hand, using fingers 1,2,3,5 (or whatever is most comfortable). If you find the four note chord too difficult to play at this stage, just play the TRIAD, (or first three notes), using fingers 1,3, and 5.
E minor: Root position (EGBE) 1st inversion (GBEG) 2nd inversion (BEGB)
G Major: Root position (GBDG) 1st inversion (BDGB) 2nd inversion (DGBD)
B minor: Root position (BDF#B) 1st inversion (DF#BD) 2nd inversion (F#BDF#)
D Major: Root position (DF#AD) 1st inversion (F#ADF#) 2nd inversion (F#ADF#)
You may also have noticed that I have named the Major chords with a capital letter 'M', and the minor chords with a lowercase letter 'm'. This is standard practice for naming chords.
This video shows you the entire Introduction section to Evanescence's atmospheric and ethereal worldwide hit 'Good Enough'.
New material: DIMINISHED Chord of 'E'. Diminished chords are often employed by songwriters and composers to introduce dramatic moments of suspense, or tension, to their music and songs.
A diminished chord is basically a minor chord that has been made minor again - a DOUBLE minor chord if you like. For example - 'C' Major chord has the notes - C,E, and G.
C minor chord has the notes - C, Eflat (b) and G.
C diminished ( or 'dim' for short) has the notes - C, Eb, and Gb (flat)
In 'Good Enough', the Edim chord comprises the following notes - E, G, Bb, Db, E.
Chords - An Introduction to Triads and Four note Chords in the Right Hand
'Let It Be' by The Beatles - A song example
A comprehensive introductory lecture on Chords - beginning with 3 note chords (Triads), expanding to 4 note chords, and ending with elaborate chordal sharing via hand crossovers. "Let It Be" by the Beatles employed as a case study.
Chords 101 - How to form any Major, Minor, Diminished, or Augmented Triad (three note chord) by counting only to 3 or 4.
Even if you have never practiced a scale in your life, or know absolutely no musical theory whatsoever, this lesson will show you an easy foolproof way of forming any common Root position chord, in all 12 possible keys, by counting either 3 or 4 note intervals.
An 'interval' has a similar meaning to an 'intermission' in a performance - it's the space between things - in this case, between chordal notes on the piano.
An interval of 4 notes - such as from 'C' to 'E' is known as a Major third. (Counting up from 'C' )
An interval of 3 notes ' such as from 'E' to 'G' is known as a minor third. (Counting up from 'E')
By learning how to count intervals of only 3 or 4 notes, you will have learned how to form every chord in the four main chordal 'families' - Major (symbol 'M'), minor ('m), Diminished ('dim' or 'o') and Augmented ('Aug' or '+').
Major +4+3 Minor +3+4 Diminished +3+3+3(+3.....) Augmented +4+4 (+4....)
This lesson explains the meaning of Root Position, First, Second and Third Inversion Chords.
What a Major Scale is, and how to form one from scratch - Using Steps and Half-Steps (Tones and Semitones).
Major Scale Formula (Works for all of the 12 possible piano keys):
'R' = Root, or Key, or starting note. (Named note for Major Scale. e.g. 'C' Major starts on 'C' as Root note)
Interval counting: R +2+2+1+2+2+2+1
(T)ones and (S)emitones: R,T,T,S,T,T,T,S
(S)teps and (H)alf-steps: R,S,S,H,S,S,S,H
Meeting the 'In-Laws': The Relative minor scale - (Keeping it in the family).
Same notes, just born on a different date (start on a different key on the piano).
C Major: C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C
A minor: A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A
Minor scales have to learn to know their place in the 'family' scheme of things - Major scales get a capital 'M', whilst 'junior' minors get a lowercase 'm'. Isn't that always the way with being 'junior'(minor)?
Sharp (symbol '#') - UP a single note (Half step or Semitone) - to the RIGHT on the piano - Black OR White note
Flat (symbol 'b') - DOWN a single note (Half step or Semitone) - to the LEFT on the piano - Black OR White note
Natural - Stay where you are, do not pass 'Go, do not collect 200. Seriously - just play the actual WHITE note - A natural sign in music cancels out a sharp or flat sign.
An 'Accidental' only lasts for one measure - or bar - in written music. Unlike a "key signature" - which lasts for the entire piece, or until a notified key change.
Harmonic minors SHARP(#) the 7th note of the scale - Both in the ascending (going 'up' left to right note pattern) and descending (right to left coming back 'down') note pattern.
How to always remember the 'harmonic' note?
Top Tip: The Harmonic (sharp# 7th) note is ALWAYS one letter (note name) alphabetically BELOW the actual scale name.
For example: A harmonic minor will have a G sharp. D harmonic minor has a C sharp. E harmonic minor has D as the sharp 7th note, and so on.
The Melodic minor scale adds Sharp (#) 6th and 7th notes on the ASCENT (way up) only. These notes revert to the original minor scale notes on the descent.
Therefore, a melodic minor scale will always have different ascending and descending note patterns. (It may be helpful to practice these two patterns separately at first).
Pachelbel's Canon in D major - Both Hands together color coded arrangement made with Synthesia piano software. All notes named on screen, shown on piano keyboard, and with optional piano score shown also.
The 'Minuet in G' attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, and taken from 'The Anna Magdalena Notebook'.
A Minuet was an elegant graceful dance. in two parts. Each part is usually repeated in performance.
Page d'Album (or) Album Leaf L.133 by Claude Debussy.
A Both Hands together color coded arrangement for piano and keyboards; made with Synthesia piano software.
Ed Sheeran's global hit 'Thinking Out Loud' arranged for Solo Piano on Synthesia software. Right and Left hands are color coded for your convenience.
Root Beer Rag by Billy Joel. Key of C Major. An excellent introduction to the 'Piano Man's' repertoire in this swinging bluesy number, set at a cracking pace. Intermediate standard.
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