Keyboard FAQ: Learning To Play...

Author: Admin   Date Posted:28 May 2014 

Are you looking to play the piano or electronic keyboard? If so, our resident lord of the keyboards Alan Payne has some hot tips on how to practice, and a look at some useful features to consider when you are ready to buy your new keyboard or digital piano. PRACTICE IN PEACE WITH HEADPHONES Most digital pianos let you plug in headphones, which can benefit both the learner and the people they live with. As well as avoiding distraction, headphones can block out noise leaving you free to concentrate on private practice. Twin headphone sockets allow students and teachers to listen closely, spotting mistakes more accurately. [caption id="attachment_2919" align="alignnone" width="534" caption="The Choice Of The Master! Alan Payne recommends the Roland RD-800 Stage Piano."]Roland RD800 Digital Stage Piano[/caption]
USE A CLICK TO DEVELOP YOUR SENSE OF RHYTHM Timing is essential to playing the piano well; it’s often an issue for beginners as they are still developing muscle and mental memory, and may need to slow down or speed up depending on the level of difficulty. Metronomes help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills and you can flick between settings and tempos on the inbuilt metronome, slow pieces down to learn and master them, or even tackle time signatures which are more advanced. RECORD AND LISTEN TO YOUR OWN PERFORMANCE Recording your performance helps analyze exactly what’s going on in your playing so you can recognise your strengths and weaknesses. The record features on digital pianos allow you to play back, perfect and pick out any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained. Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and melody, and if you have a good musical memory but struggle to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording. A digital piano allows you to transfer your performance to a computer, edit it and print out a score – the written piece of music also known as sheet music – so others can read and play it too. This is also useful if you’re interested in composition as you can quickly record ideas as they come to you. PLAY WITH DIFFERENT SOUNDS TO KEEP PRACTICE INTERESTING Digital pianos are often equipped with a huge variety of sounds – five to 10 types of piano, electric pianos from the 70s and 80s, strings, harpsichord, church and electronic organs – some even have synth sounds for even greater versatility. It’s great to be able to learn Scarlatti pieces using a convincing harpsichord sound; a change in tone can inspire you and help recapture the passion if those fingering drills are becoming tiresome. Younger children also love experimenting and mixing sounds to make learning more exciting. Flashcard-style apps help with understanding music theory while aural training apps develop abilities such as listening for particular scales or intervals. A tablet device is particularly useful here as it allows quick access to electronically stored sheet music. When linked to your digital piano, some apps display a piece of music and listen to you play, before moving to the next page when you reach the last bar. Kid’s apps include fun games to learn a song, play together or freestyle to make practicing a pleasure rather than a chore. SETTING TIME ASIDE TO PRACTICE It’s always difficult learning something new so it’s crucial to put in dedicated time and effort. Just 20 minutes piano practice a few days a week can help develop your skills and techniques. And if you’re struggling with motivation, playing with others and even making mistakes together is a great way to stay motivated. Digital pianos are packed with features that maximise your practise time, so you get more done in a shorter space of time. TAKING THE NEXT STEP Learning the piano involves dedication and discipline but master it and the rewards are endless. A digital piano can offer a variety of sounds, useful practice features to help you improve and integration with the latest apps, all without the worry of ongoing tuning and maintenance costs. CHECK OUT SOME GREAT PRODUCTS HERE.