Practicing scales and arpeggios, especially with regards to a pianist’s ability to play pretty much any genre of music, cannot be over emphasized. Many pianists agree with me that including scales and arpeggios in your daily practice routine is the most efficient way to hone and transform both your technical and expressive skills to a higher level of mastery. Not only that, but when you practice scales and arpeggios on a regular basis, it also improves your hearing, pitch recognition, knowledge of musical theory, musical patterns and your understanding of tonalities and harmony.
The best way to go about practicing scales and arpeggios is to first start out by learning and practicing (with separate hands) both the major and the minor scales (in the treble and bass clef). Then, after you are able to play all of the scales (without making mistakes) with both of your hands together, you can move on to learning and playing all of the arpeggios.
For those of you who might not be familiar with scales and arpeggios, here is a brief description of these two technical exercises.
Practicing and playing scales and arpeggios is also a great form of mental training. It improves your ability to concentrate and focus on any particular task at hand and it also increases your self awareness. To help you out with learning along the way, I have included a list of the Major scales and the relative Minor scales (along with the correct fingering notation).
Here is a list of arpeggios to play in all Major and Minor keys as well (Start out with exercise number 41). Numbers 21 through 40 are part of Hanon’s Virtuoso Exercises which will help you to build finger independence and strength. Number 39 includes the 12 Major and Minor scales in two octaves.
It is very important to always practice and learn how to play your scales and arpeggios by starting out at a very slow pace (especially in the beginning). If you are a beginner with no prior knowledge of scales and arpeggios, it is best to start out by learning to play one or two scales, like C Major and G Major before learning any of the other scales. As luck would have it, the fingering pattern is the same for the C, G, D, A and the E Major scales. Here are some additional good reasons for practicing this way:
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to learning practically any and everything. This recommendation is also of utmost importance when it comes to practicing scales and arpeggios. With consistent and careful practicing of scales and arpeggios, not only will you end up becoming a much more proficient piano player, but you will also be able to add much more expressiveness, personal emotions and selective dynamics to help further enhance your musical performances.
Below is a video of the concert pianist, Robert Estrin, from Living Pianos, explaining why practicing scales and arpeggios are so important.
Whenever you sing, not only are you making a joyful, beautiful sound, releasing negativity and having a positive experience (at least we sure hope so!), you're also improving your health, well being, personal confidence and self esteem by giving your body a complete overall workout. Singing is also a lot less expensive than therapy and it is definitely a lot more fun than strenuously working out at the local gym. It is also one of the things in life where feeling better is pretty much a guaranteed result. Here are some reasons why singing is so beneficial for you.
Being able to sing with good vocal technique goes a great deal further than just the basics to include both physical, mental and vocal warm-ups, breathing exercises, proper nutrition, adequate rest and emotional commitment. An experienced voice teacher will be able to explore the aspects of correct posture, abdominal and chest development, tone production and breath control to help you develop and improve your singing voice.
You can effectively learn how to sing with proper vocal technique and sight read music at Infinity Music Studio.
"It’s Never Too Late to Start and You Deserve It!"
A few years of musical training during childhood can benefit your brain for decades. Neuroscientists have demonstrated that learning to play a musical instrument or sing leads to beneficial changes within a child’s brain that make it more likely they will reach their full cognitive and academic potential.
Music making has been scientifically proven to: exercise the brain, inspire creativity, increase productivity, fight memory loss, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, stave off depression, enhance cognitive development in children, build confidence, and create social connections and bonds. Thank a music teacher and parents that give their child the gift of a lifetime… MUSIC.
The Royal Conservatory of Music has compiled an in depth article of the most recent neuroscience research proving that music education is a powerful tool for attaining children’s full intellectual, social and creative potential. “The Benefits of Music Education: An Overview of Current Neuroscience Research” highlights studies offering compelling insights into the potent, long-term value children gain through music training.
To read the article “The Benefits of Music Education,” see below.
To view a high-resolution infographic that concisely summarizes "The Benefits of Music Education, "see below.
Be sure to also watch the TED-Ed video on how playing an instrument benefits your brain.
Infographic and Article Credits: http://www.rcmusic.ca/resources
Are you aware that music makes you smarter? There is plenty of evidence showing that learning to play a musical instrument or developing an appreciation for music has many positive effects on a person's brain function and their intelligence. Children that take private music lessons achieve and maintain higher grade-point averages, and even senior citizens who play instruments or take them up later in life maintain brain function that is noticeably better than their non-musical peers. Research suggests that being exposed to music can positively impact a child's reading age, IQ, and brain development. Adults also benefit from learning to play an instrument thanks to enhanced alertness and increased activity that has a positive effect on memory as well as enhancing the general experience of daily life.
It has also been shown that playing a musical instrument generates beneficial effects in the anatomy and function of the brain. Growing evidence suggests that musicians' brains are functionally and structurally distinguishable from the brains of non-musicians. Not only that, but do you know that music has a wide array of positive impacts on your health? Studies show that music has a profound effect on your mood levels and emotions, and also on how you think and your general intelligence. The music you listen to can also have a profound effect on your test scores and your ability to quickly process information. And if you’ve ever played an instrument, studies show that you’re already ahead of the curve. Playing an instrument is a great way to test out your creative thinking and push your brain to process information in a new way. The following infographic below takes a look at the notion that whether you’re listening or playing, a little music can go a long way.
Infographic Credit: Joe Brown and the rest of his development team http://www.encoremusiclessons.com/lessons/
Do you know that if you have a "can-do" attitude, that you can change many things for the better? Your attitude can actually change the quality of your life, your health, your happiness, and how you react to the rigors of every day stress. Independent studies have shown that positive-minded people who adopt a "can-do" versus a "can’t do" attitude receive many benefits; they recover faster after having undergone a surgical procedure, experience less pain and downtime, are able to learn and grasp new ideas and information quicker and more efficiently, perform better in the workplace, their children are happier and better behaved, and they also have better family relationships as a whole. Parents who raise children to have a positive, "can do" attitude have less trouble and their children end up having more stability later on throughout the rest of adult life. Their children also receive high scholastic grades in school, associate with others in a more positive manner, and have stronger immune systems to help ward off illness as a result of having a "can-do" attitude.
As you can clearly see, there are multiple ways that a "can-do" attitude can positively affect people. The only requirement is that a "can-do" attitude must consciously and willingly come from within your own self, so that no matter what obstacles you may happen to come up against, you always believe in yourself and are able to accomplish anything that you set your mind to. Here is a list of several things that you can do to help adopt a "can-do" attitude:
Not only that, but a "can-do" attitude can be very contagious. You can pass on your "can-do" attitude simply by being positive, cheerful and upbeat around someone else who is not so positive. A "can-do" attitude can make a positive and beneficial difference in overcoming difficult learning hurdles that you might encounter, help you to be accepted into the college of your choice, help you to receive a job promotion or help to overcome practically anything that comes your way. This also positively affects everything that you think about, say and do. The best thing of all is that a "can-do" attitude is absolutely free; it does not cost anything to have and you can hold onto it for as long as you desire. In other words, a "can-do" attitude can ultimately make you the person that you want to be. So always remember to start out with a "can-do" attitude today and every day thereafter. You just might be pleasantly surprised to discover what a big difference it makes and how much you really can accomplish. Please be sure to watch the inspirational video above of the young man playing the piano. He provides positive proof that any hindrance can be overcome by simply having a "can-do" attitude.
The book “The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness” is a comprehensive guide for aspiring musicians. It covers pretty much everything you will need to do in order to become a serious musician and performer. This resourceful book is chock full of invaluable advice, information and secrets from musical professionals and teachers.
The book’s author, Gerald Klickstein, does an excellent job of describing in precise detail how to become successful by practicing effectively and productively, step by step. It is very important to apply each chapter during actual practice, such as making practice logs or writing down practice goals for each session, and so forth. The practice section of his book is extremely helpful for scheduling, managing and improving the quality of musical practice.
In The Musician's Way, veteran guitarist, performer and educator Gerald Klickstein combines the latest research with his 30 years of professional experience to provide aspiring musicians with a roadmap to artistic excellence. Part I of the book, Artful Practice, describes strategies to interpret and memorize compositions, fuel motivation, collaborate, and more.
Part II of The Musician’s Way, Fearless Performance, lifts the lid on the hidden causes of nervousness and stage fright by showing how musicians can effectively overcome their personal fears and anxiety to become confident performers.
Part III, Lifelong Creativity, surveys tactics to prevent music-related injuries and equips musicians to tap their own innate creativity. Written in a conversational style, The Musician's Way presents an inclusive system for all instrumentalists and vocalists to advance their musical abilities and succeed as performing artists.
Even though Mr. Klickstein is a renowned classical guitarist, "The Musician's Way" is a book that will benefit any musician. He touches upon musical aspects that are crucial for all musical performers, from pianists to lead guitarists, from violinists to drummers to vocalists. Regardless of what instrument you play or how long you've been playing, singing or what level of musician you consider yourself to be, you will find a tremendous amount of beneficial information in this book. I have been a performing musician for as long as I can remember and highly recommend this book for all of the aspiring musicians out there!
If you are serious about becoming a successful musician, you can purchase a copy of “The Musician’s Way” at your local bookstore, or order it online through amazon.com. You can also keep up with additional information, the latest updates, advice and useful tips from Gerald Klickstein by going to his Musician’s Way Website.
While many parents feel that enrolling children in sports is a good way to condition their children (both physically and socially), an increasing amount of parents are now realizing that enrolling them in music classes brings many benefits to their children. Learning how to read and play music fosters personal growth and successful achievement. It inspires children to become more accepting of challenge and in the process, improves their overall self-enthusiasm, self-discipline, self-esteem and self-confidence.
The number one, most popular instrument for taking music lessons is still the piano. One of the many reasons for this is because a piano’s tone is appealing to just about anyone. The sound of a piano in the house is pleasant, and, unlike stringed and wind instruments, is never off-key. The tone of a piano is “transparent,” that is, it is less disruptive to other goings-on at home; quite different than the honk of a clarinet, the repetitive banging sound of a drum set or the blaring tone of a brass instrument. Pianos are extremely versatile and can play any style of music, from classical, jazz, blues, rock and roll, pop, contemporary to whatever style of music one prefers.
The piano, in many ways, is music. The notes on the piano are laid out visually and in alphabetical order. Everything about learning music just makes more sense than on any other instrument, where the musical notes are laid out in a series of exact fingerings. Pianos are very unique instruments capable of playing melodies, chords and accompaniment (background parts) at the same time. Playing or practicing alone yields a complete song, not just one part. And, of course, you can sing along and develop your voice while playing the piano. The bottom line is: pianists tend to comprehend music much better.
Playing the piano helps kids develop coordination, specifically, hand-eye coordination. Kids will learn how to use both their hands in completely different ways at the same time, and their eyes will learn how to read two completely different lines of music simultaneously. Hand and eye coordination helps sharpen the nervous system and will keep their brains developing even throughout adulthood.
Concentration will also improve in young children's minds, because not only do they have to learn different musical pieces, but they will have to memorize songs as well. Their brains will also have to learn how to sight read (which can be very challenging in the beginning), how to recognize chords, and how to use the foot pedals. Going hand in hand with concentration is discipline, because it takes both discipline and concentration to master a piece of music.
Playing the piano will also boost your child's self-esteem. Every performance they give will be the culmination of hours of diligent work, and their music recital is equivalent to a sports championship. The thought of giving a personal recital can be quite nerve-wracking, but like most things "worth it", the adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment at the end makes the whole process worthwhile. If children stick with piano lessons, and continue to move ever higher on the difficulty ladder, their recitals will take on even greater significance, as it can lead to a life-long career in professional music.
Not only that, but learning how to play music makes you smarter. Music is mathematical in scope. Children process more math while playing a single song than many of their friends do in a week. Decades of reputable studies show that children who study music average at least 36% higher math scores, 22% higher verbal scores, and 12% higher IQ scores. Learning to play a musical instrument like the piano can be a lot of fun. Children enjoy expressing themselves and playing music is one of the best vehicles for self-expression. Playing music is relaxing, soothing, and helps calm the mind. It also helps to relieve anger and frustration.
Once a child takes a particular likening to piano, they often times realize that there are many career opportunities for professional piano players. In fact, being an accomplished piano player is a highly respected job and can earn oneself a respectable amount of financial compensation. Not only are there numerous opportunities for professional pianist positions in symphony orchestras, but studio musicians, television musicians, soundtrack musicians, piano bars, piano lounges, high class hotels, and casinos all pay top dollar for good piano players. It just goes to show that when a person is given the gift of music and begins playing the piano in earnest, the benefits and rewards are indeed endless.
Taking piano and voice lessons is not only fun and enjoyable; it also enhances students' scholastic abilities and improves their performance in school. Scientific studies have proven that learning to play the piano increases a person's abilities in math, science and reading. One such study in particular showed that after just nine months of piano and voice lessons, participants that were tested showed a 46% increase in their IQ, which is necessary for higher brain functions (E. Glenn Schellenberg, of the University of Toronto at Mississauga and Francis Rauscher, PhD., University of Wisconsin).
Additionally, a 2009 report from the College Board indicated that students who were involved in music and arts training during their four years spent in high school scored an average of 100 points higher on the SAT test than students with little or no musical training. Read more here.
In addition to the joy and satisfaction that learning to play the piano brings, there is an undeniably strong link between playing the piano and the development of necessary skills that are required in order to be successful throughout life. Some of the benefits associated with playing the piano include developing strong concentration skills, an increase in patience, self-confidence and discipline, coordination and dedication as well as an increased ability to memorize. According to a Michigan State University research project, even adults who learned to play the piano in their later years reported that taking piano lessons on a regular basis significantly improved their outlook on life and reduced any feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression.
Any accomplished singer knows that the practice of using correct posture, along with proper breath control, when singing is of utmost importance. Correct posture and breath control should be very important to you as an aspiring singer, also. When you use correct singing posture, you will find that it is much easier for you to breathe properly, which in turn will help you to hold onto those long notes for an extended period of time as well as hitting and maintaining the proper pitch each time that you sing.
The following list explains several basic exercises that you can perform on a regular basis in order to make sure that your singing posture and your breathing is always correct:
1.) Stand Up Against A Wall – Try standing up straight with your back against a wall and your pelvis tucked in. Keep your shoulders held back, but don’t allow them to rise up. Be careful not to let your shoulders bow out or in during this exercise. Also, be sure to keep your shoulders down and level. Your head should be back against the wall, too, with your chin held parallel to the floor. Make sure that you don't lock your knees in the process, otherwise you will restrict your blood flow and have difficulty with your overall balance as a result. Keep your feet spaced slightly apart at about shoulder width. Then rise up onto your toes just barely allowing the heels of both of your feet to leave the floor. Allow one foot to move slightly in front of the other foot, then lower your heels back down to the floor. Inhale deeply and feel how much more air you are able to breathe into your lungs. You should feel not just your abdomen moving, but you should be able to feel your back move against the wall a little bit, too. If you do this exercise each time before you practice your breathing, along with your singing, you will notice it becoming practically second nature within a relatively short amount of time.
2.) Lie Flat On Your Back – Another way to make sure that your singing posture is correctly aligned is to lie flat on your back down on the floor. Try to press your lower back into the floor in an effort to straighten out your spine, then breathe in and expand your rib cage as far as you can without experiencing any discomfort. Another good idea is to try doing this exercise with a hard-cover book. Place the book in a flat position on top of your abdomen. Then slowly breathe in and watch the book rise up. Slowly breathe out and watch the book as it goes back down to its original position. You should be able to feel that you are taking more air into your lungs than you were when you were previously standing in an upright position with your back against the wall.
3.) Balance a Book On Your Head – You can also practice balancing a book on your head ( I recommend a hard-cover book for this exercise) to help you achieve a correct singing posture. You will soon discover that It is impossible for you to balance the book on top of your head if you stand in a slouched position or humped over with a poor posture. Start out by simply standing up straight. Place the book on top of your head and comfortably adjust your stance to enable you to keep the book from falling off. Keep your feet slightly apart and one foot spaced just a little bit in front of the other foot. This particular exercise, performed regularly, will enable you to stand for longer intervals of time without becoming too tired, stiff or sore. It will also help to increase your overall balance, which you will definitely need if you are going to try balancing anything. Practice this exercise by taking controlled, deep breaths, while balancing the book on your head, on a regular basis. Remember to use your abdomen and not your chest during this exercise. Once you have mastered this technique without any problems, try walking around slowly with the book balanced on top of your head, also.
Perform these exercises on a regular basis, and before you realize it, it won't be very long before you will have adopted a correct singing posture along with proper breath control, enabling you to hold those long notes for extended periods of time and sing on pitch with the extra air that you are able to inhale as a result. Correct singing posture is vital to becoming a good singer. By constantly applying correct posture and proper breath control, you will find it much easier to inhale and breathe enough air into your lungs in order to maintain the necessary consistency in your voice and pitch, along with the additional benefit of increased power and flexibility that this contributes to your overall singing as a whole.
Greetings to Everyone and A Big Welcome to Infinity Music Studio! My name is Suzanne Brittania. I have been teaching piano and voice lessons for over 40 plus years. It is my hope that you will find all the following information, along with the music videos listed within my blog, to be very interesting, helpful and inspiring all throughout your own musical journey.
The videos listed below are of famous opera stars (that I performed with extensively all throughout my earlier musical career) especially during the 1950's and 60's.
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