Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wanted: Blog Topics

The Message Board, a staple of our web site since its inception in 1997 is no longer. It is now replaced with this blog.

There are several reasons we're doing this, but the important thing is we at encourage interactive participation from our users. The blog format will let us have this interaction while at the same time we can eliminate much of the irrelevancies, spam, and hackers (we hope).

You the User can participate by reading or by reading and responding. You will not be able to post your own main topic, but you are welcome to respond to any topics that are already posted, including this one.

In fact, this post is a call for topics. Please feel free to respond by asking a piano based question or by suggesting a topic for a future post.

We will read these responses and will try to keep new postings coming on a regular basis.

So please post away (while observing good Internet etiquette of course).


  1. Robert,

    I've been trying to practice on and off for about a year. I really want to eventually play the blues. The most frustrating trouble I am having is getting both of my hands to play independently. Is there some suggestions, exercises, books and/or links to how I get them to cooperate w/each other?

    BTW, good luck with the blog.


  2. Bryant,

    I know what you mean. I think playing piano is like target practice. If you know where you are going and hit the right key at the right time, all is well.
    I have found that, learning the left hand and right hand separately, then bringing them together helps me. Also, practicing the good 'ol boring scales, with the left hand, then the right, then using both. I hate doing this. I just want to jam.
    I read somewhere, if you do your song real slow and keep speeding it up to a level much faster then it is played,and master it, once you slow down to normal level, it is easy for you. Anyway, hope this helps.


  3. Hi Robert,

    It's Rosa here. So glad that this message board is getting started again.

    As you know, I have almost all of your play by ear and chord programs. I am going through them one by one slowly.

    Last night I was working on the Gospel tricks. The instructions and explanations are quite easy to understand.

    I want to do a few recordings on those samples to show to you to see if I am doing this thing in the right direction, is there a way where we can post recordings or you post sample recordings for us of actual songs so that we can hear how those tricks enhance the song?

    Theory is good but sometimes when it comes to appliction, it is another matter.

    Thank you for starting this message board again.


  4. How about some posts about low cost home keyboards? There are plenty of high end machines out there for the well healed, but what can someone use who is just getting started? Or for people who don't have much room (that would be me)?

    I'd love to read a blog post about writing lead sheets for musicals. I have book and lyrics done for two shows, but writing lead sheets is still a struggle for me. Any suggestions?

    Or, how about something on the easiest way to play a piano to accompany yourself while you sing? With a guitar all I do is pick it up, finger a cord and strum. What is the piano equivalent?

    And finally, I've been looking at the Suzuki Qchord. It's a micro-sized-chord organ/glorified-auto-harp, but might actually make a fun introductory instrument for some people (or a simple tool for writing lead sheets for musicals). I know it's not a piano, but the Qchord might have a place in teaching music and having fun and that's what you do, so it still fits.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading more.

    Thanks for all you've done already.

  5. I'm new to this, but would welcome comments by any and all. As I get going I'm sure I'll have questions and am glad to see there will be some place to ask them.

    Also, hope there'll be more Podcasts.
    Bill Little

  6. To Bryant, re: playing both hands independently. What I found helpful was to use the metronome...something about matching the rhythm on my left hand till I'm comfortable, then doing it with my right, then putting them together, focusing on the rhythmic patterns rather than independent movement. Hope that makes sense, but slowing down with that constant beat to guide me was really helpful...and I started with a boogie in the left hand because it was simple and no brainer to repeat. Good luck.
    To Rodney - I bought a keyboard floor sample at BestBuy for $35 and have a blast with it. It simulates many other instruments, has built in 100 songs that I can slow down and play with (and a visual record of my errors). The best part for me is that I can add a drum background and play the piano part as if I'm playing with other musicians, which is a goal. The brand I got is a Casio CTK 591. My husband also plays, sometimes in the middle of the night...and this can be silent with headphones and is portable enough to use on trips. - Teri

  7. Robert,

    Like Rodney, I too would like some information from professionals as to which keyboards are best (and especially if some good ones are reasonably priced). Needless to say, the keys need to be FULL SIZE, even if the keyboard itself does not have the same number of octaves as a piano. But mostly, I'm interested in quality first and cost second. Any suggestions?

  8. Bryant,
    Sometimes the problem is with the two hands together and practicing them separately will do nothing to help that in my opinion. I focus on a very small potion like a measure or two and even sometimes half a measure to get them together. Together is not necessarily at the same time though but you must determine what is played by which hand at what time in relation to the beat. Generally once this is done for a small portion then it can solve the whole issue for the rest of the piece.

  9. Here's a topic I've been looking for myself: "Net Piano by Request"

    If someone loves to hear the piano and someone else loves to play it for them (over the net), how do these folks find each other?