by Jon Broderick
Learning piano for beginners is not easy. Not just pianists, but for any musician learning a new instrument the beginning is the hardest time. Piano lessons can help big-time, but still the fingers just won’t do what the mind tells them. It takes a while for real dexterity to come along.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 26 Coronation Mozart
I should know, I have been playing guitar for over thirty years, but have just recently started working on playing piano. I haven’t taken piano lessons (who has the time?), but I hope I can work it out myself. I do have a really solid music theory background, which I think makes a big difference. I look at the piano keys and I know what they are and what to do to build chords and scales, and create beautiful music. But…the hands! They just won’t listen. So I play simple piano scales and exercises that sound boring but are useful to get my skill started.
I would like to have something to show for my efforts besides these simple patterns, and I found something today that is just thing: a showy trick that even a beginner can do to give a glimpse of what the future might be like if I keep practicing the piano.
I am a webmaster by profession and recently created a website with a friend who is a piano teacher. His name is Christopher Schlegel, and he has put some great lessons together on the site, which is called PianoTricks.com. One lesson in particular is called “Chord Arpeggiation Trick” and it is available at this url:
The lesson includes a video example, and some explanation. The lesson is totally free and available without website registration or anything like that. The great thing about this lesson, and the reason I am writing about it, is this: it takes the simple skills that I as a piano beginner have, and lets me show off a little bit but doing something the pros do: arpeggiate a chord.
Before you get scared, arpeggios are the same as chords, except in an arpeggio, the chord is played one note at a time, instead of all notes at the same time. This makes a very fluid sound, but also very consonant, because the notes flow together (they are part of the same chord “family”). This also makes it a little easier to play, since you don’t have to time all the fingers hitting at the same time (like in a normal chord).
The trick you will see in the video is that Christopher plays a simple major chord with both hands repeating the same chord up the piano octave by octave. The end result sounds like a flourishing move that expert pianists make; only it is so easy to do. Try it yourself and see. It has really made my day as a beginning piano student to try this lesson. I hope you get a lot out of it too.
Jon is webmaster for the new site http://www.pianotricks.com , and has been a webmaster for various other sites since 1998.