Anyone can learn to play the piano. I love teaching adults - they make awesome students. But all research points to age 5 as being the best age to start. This is the perfect age to capture the wonder of music and translate it into performance ability. Love this age! So many ways to make music exciting for young children.
Can very young children learn to play the piano? Of course. Just think of Mozart - touring the country giving recitals by the time he was 5. Okay, so that's not the desired course of action for all children (certainly not for mine!), and Mozart was incredibly gifted, but... to keep it relevant, yes—young children can learn to play the piano.
My philosophy for teaching the very young is sound before symbol. That is, learn to play LOUDLY and softly before learning the symbols in music that tell you how loudly or softly to play.
Is that how Mozart was taught to play piano? difficult to know for a fact, but I would bet so!
Erik Satie was a rather eccentric French composer living in the 19th century whose music much influenced Debussy. The music of Satie was a definitive break from the wide emotional swings of the music from the romantic era.
Even though it was written in the late 1880's, Satie's Gymnopedies sound fairly modern - almost as though they were written in the 21st century. Pensive tone, haunting melody. Check out Gymnopedies No.1 on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Xm7s9eGxU
Lived from 1810–1849
Born in Poland, but moved to Paris, France when he was 20.
Earned most of his money from teaching piano and selling compositions.
Chopin's health was poor - he suffered with a lung disease his entire life, which sapped his stamina. When he performed in recitals, Chopin typically chose small salons and performed for an intimate circle of guests rather than renting a concert hall. (Chopin was physically unable to play "with gusto.")
Wrote predominately for piano. Even the works that include orchestra are more like piano solos with accompaniment.
Chopin is noted for writing an extensive collection of "etudes" or studies - technical studies designed to help students master the technical aspect of playing the piano.
Chopin's etudes were unique in his time, in that not only are they technically challenging, but they are also aesthetically pleasing to the ear.
Chopin is also noted for writing nocturnes (night pieces) and for inventing the instrumental ballade (telling a story without vocalist).
Ack - the dreaded metronome! Your teacher is sure to suggest you use one. Actually, I'm not sure if anyone REALLY likes playing with a tick tick tick tick in the foreground. However, the metronome is uber-helpful, as it forces you to play in time accurately (that is, if you obey the metronome). Our ear is very forgiving when we practice. We mess up a tad in this measure, and we overlook it. Our tempo isn't steady throughout the WHOLE piece, and everyone can hear the problem ... except us. Obeying the metronome during practice will ensure perfect, even rhythm and tempo, resulting in fluid playing. Only when we discipline ourselves to this sort of practice, will our music be truly free when we take away the tick of the metronome.
Check out the following for free online metronomes
What type of music makes you sing (or dance)? Not everyone responds to the same music in the same way. Play a Beethoven sonata, and some might feel their soul lifted to heaven, while others may check the time again and again, wondering when in the world is this ever going to end, already?!!
Point being - find what music jazzes you and play it!
Disclaimer: if you are going to study music on the university level, you are going to need to learn to play all the different genres of music, not just one or two - although when you graduate, you're free to specialize in only one style if that's your preference.
Before there were pianos, there were harpsichords. Although a very interesting instrument (strings were plucked, not struck), the harpsichord had one huge fault that frustrated musicians all over the world: Very little dynamic contrast! Finally, in the early 1700's, a guy named Bartolomeo Cristofor invented a clavichord. When the keys were pressed, strings inside the instrument were struck with a miniature hammer.
This was a BREAKTHROUGH!!
For the first time, musicians could play both loud and soft on the same keyboard. Voila! Eureka! and the peasants rejoiced. (not really - but composers definitely rejoiced, and likely enough, kings rejoiced also...)
Modern pianist and composer David Lanz - began composing what was then a new type of music in the 1980's.
His music is not what strict die-hard classical musicians consider "serious classical" but it is definitely a genre in its own right. Check out his music on YouTube.
Bonus - To purchase and download scores, see:
Did you know that the famous pianist Franz Liszt was exceedingly popular back in the day? Women often swooned when attending his concerts. At the end of concerts, fans would crowd around him, fighting each other for Liszt's gloves or a handkerchief. Women asked for locks of his hair - So many women asked for Liszt's hair, that he actually obtained a dog and sent off pieces of the dog's fur when asked for yet another lock... Known as "Lisztomania," crowd behavior was a precursor to behavior at Beatles concerts, or perhaps a Justin Bieber concert of today!
Joy B: enriching lives one piano lesson at a time.