How To Structure Your Piano Practice in 7 Easy Steps

Experienced pianists will agree – the quality of your piano practice determines the quality of your performance.

Each practice session counts, and every time you sit down at a piano, you’re developing habits and skills that will last.

It’s very easy to sit down at the piano and just play without much strategic thought about a schedule.  From time to time there is nothing wrong with this!

Piano practice

Yet, you will thank yourself if you incorporate a structured practice regimen. It will ensure that you are working on parts of your playing that need attention.

Step 1: Rid yourself from distractions

The mind is the key tool used to play the piano! A few minutes of concentrated practice is much more valuable than a 30 minute practice full of distractions. Put your phone on silent and out of sight, and make sure you won’t be getting interrupted.

Step 2: Warm Up

Just as athletes need to warm up before a game, pianists need to warm up before practicing too! Start with some chords and arpeggios to get your mind and fingers ready.

Step 3: Practice slowly, and acknowledge mistakes

It’s essential to work carefully and slowly while learning to play a new piece. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed, and if you make a mistake be sure to review it rather than glossing over it. The last thing you want is forthose mistakes to become muscle memory – which take much longer to fix!

Step 4: Practice short passages

This is an important trick when you are learning a new piece! Studies have shown that the brain takes in musical information better when it isn’t overwhelmed by quantity. Practicing one passage extremely carefully and thoroughly be more beneficial once the pieces start to come together.

Step 5: Keep a journal

Be sure to write down what pieces your practice, and for how long. If you are working with a piano teacher, they will appreciate being able to see exactly what you worked on. Even if you don’t see a piano teacher, a journal will help you remember what you have practiced, and how to plan out the rest of your practice schedule. You can even keep notes about what you struggled with that session, or if you overcame any obstacles!

Step 6: Go back

Save some time at the end of your practice session to go back and revisit old pieces. Not only will this fine-tune your skills, but also it will ensure that you have a strong repertoire of pieces. Being able to work on pieces you love will make you look forward to practicing every day!

Step 7: Enjoy Yourself!

Remember that you are playing – So immerse yourself in the music, and have fun!

 

Organ vs. Piano: Which is the better choice for you?

If you are someone who is considering adding a keyboard instrument to your home, have you considered whether you should get an organ or a piano?  Many people can’t tell the difference between the two! They both have keyboards, so they must be the same, right?

Not true! In fact, although they require a similar technique, the organ is about as different from the piano as a drum is from a clarinet.  This is important because many people who take up the piano wonder how to transfer the skills they to the organ.  Keep reading to learn about the key differences between the two, and which will better suit your hobbies and aspirations!

Sound

Did you know that the piano is classified as a percussion instrument, and the organ is actually classified as a woodwind instrument?

When you strike a piano key, a small hammer hits a string, which produces the sound you hear. The player has to continue striking keys to continue the sound. Much attention has to be paid to the dynamics since the sound dies away quickly.

A look inside of a piano at the small hammers and strings

A look inside of a piano at the small hammers and strings

Yet, when you strike an organ key, an electrical circuit is completed- the key being pressed does not physically strike anything.  The keys are tuned to specific frequencies, and when the circuit is completed, the sound can be held for an indefinite amount of time – in other words, the sound continues as long as the key is being held down!  However, this also means that much more attention has to be paid to releasing the notes

Another difference is the number of sounds each instrument can generate. A piano sounds like just that- a piano!

An organ on the other hand is a bit more versatile; it can be altered to sounds like a variety of different instruments. This is because the organ also different “ranks” (or voices), which can be used for a variety of effects. The hands and the feet- on the keyboards manuals as well as the pedals control these ranks.  Each rank in an organ can be combined with the others to produce sounds of a variety woodwind and reed instruments.

An organ has different levels of keys, as well as many pedals

An organ has different levels of keys, as well as many pedals

Role

The role of the two instruments when used as accompaniments is different as well.  The piano works well as a leading instrument- the power of percussion instruments comes from the first strike.  The piano can also produce rhythms and melodies much faster than an organ, making it an excellent introduction piece. Likewise, it is also a good tool for guiding the melody.  An organ is capable of filling a larger space with sound, and supporting a large congregation, for example, in singing. It achieves its power during the sustainment of the notes.  A primary function of an organ is to fill in sounds and provide the supporting chords.

 Skill

Each instrument calls for a different set of manual dexterity and music theory skills.  Although both instruments are keyboard driven there are many differences between them when it comes to playing. Organ players must learn to play bass notes on a pedaled keyboard while controlling a volume pedal as well. Piano players must learn complex chords and fingerings.

The general verdict is that if you want to play the organ, it’s a good idea to learn basic keyboard skills on the piano first.

This is because a student with a solid background in piano will be able to better focus on the issues unique to the organ.  Pianists who are at a relatively experienced level should consider trying to find an organ they could play! Developing skills on the organ will give a pianist a new perspective on playing keyboard instruments; therefore, it will indirectly influence their piano skills as well!

Evola Music can help you find the perfect piano or organ for you or your family.

The organ, from its baroque origins to today’s contemporary marvels, is unmatched in its versatility and tonal variety.   If you are already skilled on the piano, an organ may be exactly what you are looking for! Evola Music has the right organ for your needs, whether it’s for church or home. Or, if you’re searching for the perfect upright piano, baby grand, or concert grand piano, you’ll find it at Evola. We sell a variety of digital, player, and acoustic pianos- new and pre-owned! If you are looking to begin your practice and start off with lessons, we offer those as well.  We have a variety of classes for all experience levels and age ranges. Contact your local Evola Music, or visit our website for more details!

Evola Music's Lowrey Organ Program

Evola Music’s Lowrey Organ Program

 

Why Your Child Should Study Music this Summer

Music lessons are not only fun, but educational and a great way to spend your summer.

Music lessons are not only fun, but educational and a great way to spend your summer.

There are many things to do with your kids this summer – why not make it fun and educational?

Have you heard of the benefits that musical education has on children’s development? Children thrive on music. It’s one of the best vehicles for learning in early childhood development. Early exposure to music enhances important parts of your child’s development- cognitively, creatively, emotionally, socially, physically, and aesthetically! Here are just a few of the ways that music classes can benefit your child:

  1. Musical training helps to continue brain development- Studies indicate that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain that processes language.
  2. Musical knowledge also improves spatial intelligence. This kind of intelligence is used to determine various elements that should go together, i.e. solving advanced mathematics problems or being able to pack a book-bag.
  3. Those who study the arts tend to be able to think creatively and problem solve better than students who have not been exposed to the arts.
  4. Students of music learn craftsmanship and discipline as they study how details are put together to create a finished product.
  5. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. The challenge to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development is an important part of how children express themselves. Additionally, self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression

Kindermusik is a music program designed specially for children aged 0-7. Evola Music features Kindermusik classes all summer at our Canton location! Not only will children learn music- this program also has numerous aspects that will jump-start brain development all while teaching crucial skills. Here are our top reasons to choose Kindermusik for your child’s musical education:

  1. Music, movement, stories, instruments, dancing, and creative play – your child will enjoy a stimulating class experience that fosters early learning, provides an outlet for activity, and inspires a love for music.
  2. Kindermusik fits your child perfectly with age-appropriate activities that enhance your child’s development.
  3. Summer Kindermusik classes give your child the security of a comfortable, predictable routine. You’ll both benefit from such a special activity to look forward to during the summer.
  4. It’s more than just a weekly class. With Kindermusik, you also receive home materials that allow you to extend the class experience and the benefits of music into your every day family life.
  5. A child’s love of learning doesn’t have an off switch . . . and that’s why Kindermusik is there for you, even in the summer!

Summer time is the perfect time to try something new at Kindermusik – a Family Class, a new curriculum level, a new schedule – or just to try Kindermusik out for the first time. Contact Evola Music Canton to register for classes.

 

Preparing for Your First Lesson

Whether you’re enrolling your youngest child, yourself, or your grandmother in music lessons (you’re never too old to learn to music, trust us), there are some things you should know about your first music lesson. Your first lesson, no matter the instrument or setting, is exciting. Even if you’re registered for a group lesson versus a private lesson, you should come prepared to learn a lot and have tons of fun. Here are some great tips on how to prepare for your first lesson so you get the most out of it.

  • Bring Questions! Teachers love questions, and they love students who ask them. Plus, any music teacher is happy to have a reason to talk more about their instrument. Brainstorm a list of questions and make sure to jot them down to give to your teacher either before or after your lesson.
  • Speaking of bringing items to your lesson, make sure you have everything, including your instrument (unless you’re starting piano lessons)! Contact your teacher if you should bring your instrument, sheet music or just yourself on the first day.
  • Communicate your goals and expectations with your teacher. That way your lessons will be as effective as possible!

If your child is starting music lessons for the first time, consider some of these tips before their first lesson.

  • Make sure your child knows their alphabet from A to G and back again. These letters make up the musical alphabet, and if your child understands that order of letters you’re ahead of the music lesson game.
  • Set up a practice area for your child somewhere in the house beforehand. Let them get comfortable with their instrument before their first lesson as well. Once they realize music can be integrated and easily practiced in everyday life, they’ll be more willing to practice every day. On that same note, make sure their practice space is not lonely or isolated. Hiding a practice space communicates that music is separate from everyday life.
  • Set aside time to discover new and exciting things about music with your child. After all, music is fun to make as well as listen to, both for you and your child!

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of ideas on how to prepare for your first music lesson, but it is a great start. Contact your local Evola Music if you have any questions about music, and Play On!

Music lessons are a wonderful, educational addition to anyone's life, but you have to come prepared!

Music lessons are a wonderful, educational addition to anyone’s life, but you have to come prepared!