Reliable Piano Books

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A piano book can consist of many things including piano music and literature about the piano. In this article, we’ll concentrate on reliable piano music in book form.

Almost all publishers now offer book purchases online, as mailed hardcopies and occasionally as downloads. It is always helpful to buy music from a reliable, well established publisher as the notes, dynamics and phrasing are more likely to be authentic to the composer’s intent. In these types of premiere editions, publisher’s edits are usually clearly marked, leaving the performer well informed.

Piano students benefit greatly from graded pieces. Two of the big exam boards are the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM):

1. Amazon sells RCM exam books (Canada):

http://www.amazon.ca/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=rcm+piano+books&tag=googcana-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=6090043377&ref=pd_sl_15z5azf42j_e

Alternatively, you can get them straight from the publisher:

http://www.frederickharrismusic.com/FHMCsite/capricorn?para=showPage&docId=catListProd&section=CARESOURCES

2. Here’s a link for the catalogue of books of the ABRSM:

http://www.abrsm.org/exams/gradedMusicExams/latestSyllabuses.html

If you are just starting out on the piano, there are an enormous amount of quality books to choose from. Here are just a few of the ones that have been around for quite some time:

1. Leila Fletcher has some beginner books that are effective and entertaining:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=leila+fletcher

2. Thompson editions are also effective:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=leila+fletcher#/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=thompson+amazon&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Athompson+amazon

Piano Lessons 101 has an impressive download available on this blog to help beginners get started in a fun way. We also endorse Jermaine Griggs’ book, also included on this blog. Our book teaches you how to read notes and learn simple arrangements of classical works, while the latter book teaches you some fundamentals of playing by ear and improvising; two different approaches, but both will help make you a well rounded musician.

Piano editions are sometimes referred to as urtext editions. These types of publications are the earliest and/or the most authentic version of the music that you are searching for. Here’s an example of one such publication:

http://www.henle.de/

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of publishers of music, here’s a good one:

http://library.music.indiana.edu/music_resources/publ.html

You can’t talk about big publishers in popular music without including Hal Leonard. Here’s the link:

http://www.halleonard.com/

Some piano books are attractively presented. For example, Dover Publications provide nicely put together piano music that is quite durable. My editions of Brahms’ music from this company have been in my library for years and have withstood countless page turns and still looks relatively new. I highly recommend them:

http://store.doverpublications.com/

These days, downloading is one of the most attractive features online. You can create your own books by downloading and printing, depending on the restrictions of the publisher that you are downloading from. If you have permission to bind your downloaded music, keep in mind that your initial purchase should be reasonably priced, as copying and binding will be an additional cost. Unless the original purchase price is reasonably priced, you may be better off purchasing from a store. Usually, publishers take this expense into account and price downloads accordingly.

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Learning How to Play the Piano – Some Priceless Practice Tips

 learning how to play the piano

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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few tricks under your belt that would speed up learning how to play the piano? Imagine saving countless hours of practice by knowing some piano tips that would help you stay well ahead of the game and ahead of other pianists at your level.

Truth be told, there are some hints that can help. But there is absolutely no substitute for the hours of practice and hard work that lay ahead for beginner and intermediate pianists. Even advanced and professional pianists who are serious about their craft work hard, constantly building their technique and refining their art.

Here are some suggestions that will be of great help in the future. Keep in mind that tips on playing the piano can amount to an exhausting list of advice. I’ve chosen a few hints that will definitely help you to optimize your practice and give you a health attitude when pursuing piano playing challenges:
1. Try to avoid making errors when practicing. In the process of learning notes, your memory work consists mainly of touch and muscle memory. Every time you play a wrong note, your brain is making a mental note of the finger position of that wrong note. The more correct you are about your finger placement (fingering), the more your brain and hands register correct memory patterns.

2. Don’t practice for too long a period of time. For advanced pianists, forty-five minutes seems like a good chunk of time before taking a brief walk around the room. The time away from the keyboard helps you to refocus. Upon returning, perhaps for another forty-five minute session, your mind is refreshed and ready to go again. Of course, some people can practice for hours on end and not get tired. This, however, is most likely the exception to the rule.

3. Practice rhythms both at the piano and away from the piano. This is easier and more useful than you might think. Clapping the rhythm of a complex right or left hand passage can give you an aural representation of the correct rhythmic pattern. It’s easier to clap rather than play a complex pattern, as playing involves note reading, hand position, phrasing and dynamic aspects that are not a concern with clapping. Basically, when you clap, you get the correct rhythm faster because you have less to concentrate on.

4. Finally, enjoy the journey of piano practice. Believe it or not, the journey can be fun. There’s a wonderful thrill in actually being able to detect improvement from week to week in your playing. Often, this improvement is very subtle and difficult to detect. However, finding it and cheering yourself on is not only good for piano playing moral, but a wonderful life lesson. Optimism is priceless, especially in learning an instrument.

As a final note when learning how to play the piano, stay within yourself and try not to compare yourself to others in a destructive way. You may aspire to have more fluency in your playing when hearing someone else, but see the task of improving as a fun mission, rather than a torturous journey that you may never finish.

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