Archive for December, 2007


Can You Become The Piano Player Of Your Dreams in 2008?

Monday, December 31st, 2007
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Can You Become The Piano Player Of Your Dreams in 2008?7

Piano Playing Goals To Accomplish in 2008

As you begin this new year, here are seven goals for you to accomplish within one year — 2008. Of course you can have as many goals as you want, but these 7 goals will take you a long way toward being the piano player of your dreams.

Goal #1: Learn ALL the chords. Not just a few, but ALL the chords. No, it’s not impossible once you grasp the logic of it all. All The Chords In The Whole Wide World

Goal #2: Learn to read chord symbols such as Cm7, Eb9, G7sus, and so on. They are the shorthand of music and allow you to use the written music as a map rather than a straight jacket. Play More Notes Without Reading More Notes

Goal #3: Learn to play in all 12 major keys, not just your favorite keys. Since there are 12 months in the year, you can take one key per month and really master it. For example, in January play everything in the key of C. In February play every song in the key of Db, and so on throughout the year. Learn To Think In All 12 Keys

Goal #4: Learn how to improvise a new melody over the same chords. Improvise!

Goal #5: Learn Music Theory. Until you understand what makes music tick and how it all works, you’ll just be playing notes by rote. Music Theory

Goal #6. Learn how to arrange songs using a variety of styles instead of playing every song just as it is written in sheet music. Dress Up Naked Music

Goal #7: Learn specific techniques that the pros use. Do you know how to straddle? Do you know how to create a cascading waterfall? Do you know how to create an intro to a song with just two chords? Do you know how to create suspensions? Learn at least a few of these pro techniques in 2008. Pro Secrets

If you are a beginner, or a near-beginner, be sure to take the Crash Course, since it starts at square one and over the year covers some of all these subjects, but of course not in the depth you would get by focusing on those individual subjects.

Whatever you do, I wish you a wonderful 2008. Make it the best year ever!

Blessings,

Duane

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Video on playing “Auld Lang Syne” using chord substitutions

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007
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Here’s wishing you a great ’08! Watch this short video on using chord substitutions to play “Auld Lang Syne”.

Come on over to http://www.playpiano.com/Articles/47-AuldLangSyne.htm to read the story of Auld Lang Syne.

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Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24th, 2007
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Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season, and hope your piano playing plays a big part in it. It’s so great to be able to sit down and play for groups of family and friends anytime, but particularly at Christmas when everyone is in the mood to sing along.

Thanks for all your friendships and support this past year, especially during the difficult period in the heart of the Christmas season when we had to close the studio for a week due to a death in the family and the necessary travel time connected with it.

Many of you have emailed your understanding and support, and Muriel, Bev and I deeply appreciate it.

Christmas blessings all over you!

Duane

“Piano lessons for adults who need to understand what they are playing”

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It’s not too late to learn to make your Chrismas Carols more colorful!

Monday, December 10th, 2007
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It’s only a few weeks before Christmas, but there’s still time to learn to make your Christmas Carols more interesting and colorful.

If you haven’t seen this short sample video, take a look:

That sample video was only about 9 minutes long. Imagine how much you could learn with a DVD on Christmas Carols that lasts two hours!

Come on over and take a look at:

http://www.playpiano.com/musical-courses/christmas/ChristmasCarolsAll4.html

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Für Elise: Beethoven’s Mysterious Inspiration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
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Für Elise: Beethoven’s Mysterious Inspiration

In the 21st century, the music and notes to Beethoven’s Für Elise are the object of millions of Internet searches and downloads every day. The fact that the music is so freely available for download, along with the piece’s continued popularity in the Internet age, is testament to the great emotional power and musical depth of Beethoven’s work. Für Elise is one of the most instantly recognized pieces of music from the Classical era, and it continues to work wonders in the ears and hearts of modern listeners and pianists. But what’s the story behind this composition? Before downloading the notes to Für Elise, let’s take a look at its history.

In fact, the true story behind Für Elise is shrouded in mystery, and there are many theories behind the events in Beethoven’s life that lead to the writing of the piece. What’s more, the manuscript of Für Elise was undiscovered and unpublished until 1865, nearly 40 years after the composer’s death. Because of this, obviously, Beethoven could not make any first-hand clarifications about the origins of his work, which became wildly popular almost immediately upon publication.

In reality, “Für Elise” is actually just Beethoven’s note of dedication included with the piece, whose real name is “Bagatelle in A minor.” A bagatelle is a musical form, literally translating to a “trifle,” which is usually short, light, and mellow. Meanwhile, the piece is also a Rondo, which is a form, frequently used in the Classical era, which usually follows an A B A C A structure, although there are variations. As its name suggests, the key signature of the piece is A minor, but one of the beauties of Beethoven’s composition is how he mixes in discordant notes and continuously shifts the tonal center of the music.

“Für Elise” translates from German to “For Elise,” yet Beethoven historians have never figured out who Elise was. One popular theory is that the piece was actually called “Für Therese,” and that because of Beethoven’s notoriously sloppy handwriting, the original transcriber of the piece simply copied the name wrong. When the piece was written — in 1810 — Beethoven had recently been involved in a courtship with Therese Malfatti, who eventually turned down Beethoven’s marriage proposal. This could account for some of the effusive and overwhelming emotion of the music.

Meanwhile, some historians have posited that Beethoven, his heart broken, deliberately changed the name of the piece to a non-existent woman’s name, in a subtle refutation of the woman or women who snubbed him.

Of course, Beethoven historians acknowledge that it is not possible to know about every single person with whom Beethoven had a relationship. Elise may be a short-time sweetheart who never made it into records of Beethoven. Or, the piece could have been commissioned, and Elise could be the name of someone related to the person who paid for the piece.

Ultimately, it’s not important who or what Beethoven’s Elise was, as each person who plays those famous notes can have in mind his or her own “Elise.” All that is required to play the piece is to have some deep well of emotion to put into the music. It doesn’t matter where this emotion comes from. Beethoven clearly had something that he felt strongly about, which makes this one of his most famous and evocative compositions. Most of us cannot even listen to the first, emotionally strained notes of the piece without feeling something in our own hearts.

This emotional intensity is what distinguishes Beethoven from many of his contemporaries, and it also accounts for the continued popularity of his music, both on paper and in formats that make the notes free to download. Many of us remember hearing Für Elise children and being profoundly moved even then — and maybe it even inspired us to take up the piano — just as our own children are moved by the piece. Because of its pure beauty, Für Elise should remain popular for as long as music exists.

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