Learning to Play Piano with Disney Favorites
Posted by aquarell on April 8, 2016
For beginning musicians of any age it’s extremely important to be able to find pieces to work on that are both appropriate for your skill level and fun to play.
When you’re just starting out, this task is often difficult, as many beginning piano course books focus on simple melodies that aren’t formed around real pieces of music, or, if they are, are not very exciting pieces of music.
We think differently. We think that everything about learning music should be fun. This philosophy comes from John’s experience of quitting three instruments and almost a fourth as he moved from one disciplined instructor to the next. It wasn’t until he found a love of music by playing songs he enjoyed that he started to want to practice all those other things (scales, chords, etc)!
So, what’s the best place to start? Disney!
Why Disney Piano Music?
So why are we writing about Disney music, specifically? Well, disney songs are fun, catchy, and almost universally loved. If the student is a child then it’s a natural connection between the movies they love and the instrument they’re learning to love, and for older students disney songs have a way of bringing them back to their childhood, and if you have kids they’ll definitely love to hear you playing their favorite songs!
Not only that, but most disney songs are relatively easy to play, and come with lots of simplified arrangements that allow you to adapt the song to a wide range of skill levels, from beginning students playing their first song, up to advanced arrangements that would sound good in a concert hall.
What Songs Should I Start With?
As for what song to start with, that’s completely up to you, but I’d focus on a few popular favorites.
Frozen’s Let It Go has a lot of good arrangements, and is easily the most popular Disney song today. There are easy versions, but if you’re an intermediate student, you should be able to handle the actual version used in the film, which is always a good goal to strive for!
Another classic is Can You Feel the Love Tonight. It’s slow, making it approachable for most students, and is universally recognized and enjoyed!
Frozen – Let It Go sheet music.
The Lion King – Can You Feel The Love Tonight piano sheet music.
Greatest Hits Disney arrangements for beginning students.
Disney At The Piano arrangements for intermediate students.
Tips and Tricks for Beginning Guitarists
Posted by aquarell on January 13, 2016
When you’re just starting out with guitar, getting through some fo the basic hurdles can be quite challenging.
There are a lot of different aspects of the instrument you need to learn, and many techniques you’ll need to be proficient in before you’ll be able to play much of anything.
In this post we’ll look at a few tricks to help you get over that initial hurdle.
Learn Chords First
The first tip is to work on practicing a few basic chords first. E major, G major, C major, D major, and A minor will go a long way in terms of allowing you to play a lot of different songs, but before you try to put them all together and play a tune, work on getting the fingerings right for each chord by itself.Once you can comfortably play each chord and get the sound you want, then you can practice them together in a tune.
Forget Strumming…For Now
Another tip is related to something that routinely frustrated beginning guitarists: strumming.Learning how to strum correctly is a fine art, and one you will practice and master over a period of years, not weeks.If you’re just starting out, forget about best strumming practices. Just work on playing the chord, or maybe strumming evenly on the beat: 1-2-3-4, etc, in order to keep rhythm, or other simple strumming pattern, like the one in the video below.Don’t try to do anything to fancy. It will come with time, I promise.
Get an Online Guitar Course or a Private Teacher
Finally, it’s important that, no matter how much innate talent you might think you have, or how determined you are to teach yourself to play without any help, having a qualified teacher or course to help you will cut your learning time down significantly.If cost is an issue, opt for one of the popular online courses, like Guitar Tricks. These courses are low cost, and you can work along with a set of video lessons at your own pace, making it a great avenue for getting started.Learn more about online guitar lessons from BeginnersGuitarStudio.com.
Last but certainly not least, remember that learning guitar, or any instrument for that matter, is a lifelong process.You’re not going to become an expert player in a week or a month, and its important to pace yourself and have fun, so that you’ll have the patience and motivation you need to breakthrough those difficult early days and move on to sounding better and playing fun and interesting songs that you love.
Resources for Beginning Guitarists
Posted by aquarell on December 9, 2015
Are you trying to learn how to play the guitar but have had trouble getting started? If so, this post is for you, as we’re going to reveal a great method for getting started playing your first guitar song.
Watch this video for a quick overview, and then keep reading for access to exclusive resources and free lessons.
Step 1: Pick an Easy Song To Learn
Now that you have an overview of what the process is going to be, it’s time to choose an easy song to learn for your first attempt.
We want to point out that not everyone recommends starting with a song straight away, but we think it’s the best choice because it gets you excited about what it’s going to be possible for you to play as quickly as possible, and that will help motivate you to master some of the more technical aspects, like scale and chord fingerings.
For a classic folk tune, we recommend Wild World, by Cat Stevens. This tune only uses a couple of chords, and it’s sheer popularity makes it a great classic to pull out and show off the next time you’re hanging out with your friends. Click here for a Wild World guitar lesson from http://onlineguitartab.com.
If you want to stick to a more recent tune, Photograph by Ed Sheeran is a good choice. The chords are fairly straightforward, and it’s an easy one to sing and strum along with at the same time, making it great for a beginner. Click here for a Photograph guitar lesson.
Step 2: Identify The Main Chords
The second step to learning your new tune is to figure out the main chords of the song. Ideally, you want to pick a song that has no more than 4 or 5 chords for your first song. Limiting yourself to a small number of chords will help to make the song more approachable and ensure that you can successfully play it with just a little bit of practice.
Reference this chart to use as your base for how to finger the chords, and practice placing your fingers slowly and neatly on the corresponding frets to form the chord. Don’t worry about speed or even trying to sound like the song yet, just practice getting your fingers into the right place!
If your song includes chords that aren’t in this list, you can find a great guitar chord resource from 8notes.com.
Step 3: Practice Makes Perfect
Once you’ve got the basic chords down, all that’s left is to practice, practice, practice!
Remember that learning an instrument is not an overnight event, but a process that you will be mastering over the next several months and years! Remember to be patient and take things as slowly as you need to in order to master one thing at a time.
Then you’ll be on your way playing your tunes in no time!
The Best Classical Music for the Holidays
Posted by aquarell on November 30, 2015
It’s that time of year again. The turkey’s in the oven and we’ve broken out the winter coat.
If you haven’t started already, soon you’ll be in the mall shopping amongst a throng of red and green ornaments, and a pudgy man with a white beard.
While you’re ambling around all those department stores, you’re bound to hear a “wide variety” of the same 15 songs over and over again.
For any music fan out there, it can be difficult to make it through those endless iterations of Jingle Bells, but where else can you turn to find good holiday music?
The Classics. Here’s a few of the top Christmas songs of all time, although you’re not likely to hear them on the radio (unless you listen to NPR).
An epic 3 hour long work, Handel’s Messiah is perhaps one of the most famous pieces of classical music that’s rarely played in it’s entirety.
The work is a long chronicle celebrating the life of Christ, from the announcement of His coming through the Resurrection.
Typically played around Christmas and Easter, you’re bound to hear a few excerpts of the work sprinkled here and there, and many churches even put on a casual rendition of selection from Handel’s magnum opus.
For a more enlightened listening, try sitting down for a full length recording, and hear a side of this piece you’ve never before imagined.
Bach Christmas Oratorio
Another Christmas classic, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a piece you will probably recognize by ear, and not by name.
Far from Bach’s most famous work, it is true to his style and has a number of characteristic elements that resurface year after year in concert halls, but not in the mall or on the radio.
Last but most certainly not least is Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.
Probably the most popular and widely known ballet of all time, The Nutcracker is one of the rare classical greats that you can hear on dozens of popular albums.
What you might not know, however, is that those famous bits, which are often arranged into a short “suite” capturing the main themes, is only a fraction of splendor of this great work.
Like Messiah, The Nutcracker is several hours long, and deserves a full listen in and of itself.