Piano Tips and Tricks


Here are some piano tips and tricks included on this free piano lessons:


1. Take some lessons with a good classical teacher

2. Use the Hanon piano exercises (especially the scales and arpeggios) to gain finger dexterity and to know the correct piano fingerings of the scales and arpeggios. Always use a metronome when you're doing these exercises to develop your sense of timing. If you don't have a metronome try putting an accent on the "one" count of every sixteenth note (e.g. ONE,two,three,four; ONE,two,three,four...etc...)

3. After learning the basics/rudiments of playing the instrument, find another teacher who can teach you how to play the chords (a good jazz piano improvisation teacher will do!) and how to improvise.

4. Master the five qualities of chords (see SCALE TONE CHORDS ) inversions, arpeggios and scale.

5. Try to apply what you are learning to your favorite songs especially jazz standard songs even to some classical music pieces. You can use song books, fake books, real books and music sheets which are readily available at your local music stores or online.

6. Listen to all types of music and try to transcribe phrases/passages/riffs/licks or songs that interests you. Listen to piano players - the way they play, improvise and learn from them. Try to read their biography to learn how they study, practice , who influenced them and their achievements. I believe these can help to make you a well-rounded piano player.

7. Play with other musicians or join a band in your school or in your neighborhood.

8. Try to sing the melody of the song you are playing (you might have a hidden talent in singing) or if you are improvising, try to sing the notes that you are playing.

9. Buy some piano lesson books, magazines, piano lesson videos, piano lesson software or CDs.

10. Learn piano playing techniques like the Brahms' finger exercises, Philip's finger excercises, explore the major and minor pentatonic scales, the many ways of playing the diminished seventh scale over dominant seventh chords and practice, practice, practice!


* Always work to a plan
* Know what needs to be achieved in each practice time
* Small sections practised slowly and thoroughly are always more successful than longer passages given less care
* Sometimes begin with the 'difficult bits' rather than starting at the beginning
* Vary the work to avoid boredom, having other, perhaps easier, pieces to hand
* Make sure the all-important 'finger memory' is in place before moving on
* Sometimes practise playing straight through, noticing the trouble spots and returning to them later
* Be aware of the pulse - it's dangerously easy to slow up for awkward corners
* Know when to stop. Focused work for a short period is better than playing through for longer
* Perfect practice makes perfect!
* What you can't play slowly you can't play fast
* The only way to learn to sight read is to sight read
* Pedal with your ears! (Generally applies to pianists only for obvious reasons)
* Enjoy what you play - a varied diet is essential
* When you've finished listening - listen some more!
* If you get stuck - stop - come back again later and try again.
* Fill every minute's practice with 60 seconds of concentration
* Practise in small chunks
* Practise the whole 'performance' experience - play your exam pieces to friends and family so you experience a few nerves and learn how to cope with them
* Stop practising if you feel any physical discomfort or pain.
* Don't practise when you're tired.


Here is a formula that you can use if you don't know the key signature of the song you are about to play:


No. of sharps KEY

1 - G-o - F#
2 - D-own - F#,C#
3 - A-nd - F#,C#,G#
4 - E-at - F#,C#,G#,D#
5 - B-eans - F#,C#,G#,D#,A#
6 - F-e - F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E#
7 - C-ruz - F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E#,B#


No. of flats KEY
1 - F-or - Bb
2 - B-abies - Bb,Eb
3 - E-very - Bb,Eb,Ab
4 - A-ngel - Bb,Eb,Ab,Db
5 - D-rop - Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb
6 - G-olden - Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb
7 - C-oins - Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb,Fb

Therefore, for sharps, the formula is: Go Down And Eat Beans Fe Cruz and for flats: For Babies Every Angel Drop Golden Coin. This means that if you see 3 sharps at the beginning of the piece, you are on the key of A. If you see 2 flats, you're on the key of Bb...etc...you got it?


If you are going to perform or take an exam/audition, here are 8 tips to help you cope with performance anxiety:

1. Prepare well in advance. It is vital to draw up a realistic and practical schedule and stick to it.

2. Make sure you like the music you are playing.

3. Take every opportunity to play in front of your friends, family or neighbours. Get into the habit and make performing part of yor life.

4. Take two deep breaths before you go into the exam room or on to the stage. And then go in there and smile at your examiner or audience!

5. Remember that the symptoms of nerves (sweating, thumping heart, shortness of breath, shaking of limbs) are quite normal. You cannot perform at yor best without a good pump of adrenalin.

6. Coping with nerves rarely gets easier with experience. Deal with each crisis in a positive way and you'll cope better with the next one.

7. Make sure you have some other interests and ways of relaxing. You may be missing out of whole areas of experience that could enhance our playing.

8. Be enthusiastic and enjoy your piano playing. If you love what you do, your audience will feel it!

(from the Pianist Magazine issue no.4)


As part of this free piano lessons, here are some inspiring words from the masters:

"Jazz is the music of the moment" - John Scofield (guitarist)

"In Jazz, improvisation isn't a matter of just making any ol' thing up. Jazz, like any language, has its own grammar and vocabulary. There's no right or wrong, just some choices that are better than others." - Wynton Marsalis

"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple." - Charles Mingus

"In fifteen seconds the difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in fifteen seconds, while in improvisation you have fifteen seconds." - Steve Lacy

"A Jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges." - Benny Green

"The real power of Jazz... is that a group of people can come together and create... improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art" - Wynton Marsalis from 'Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.'

"Music is not an occupation. It's a profession. I always looked on it as being a little higher than a job, and to be involved with it you have to have what I call dedication..." - Oscar Peterson (jazz pianist)



1. Play melody using your right hand (R.H.).

2. Play the chords using your left hand (L.H.).

3. Play the chords on your L.H. and the melody on your right.

4. Play the melody and try to harmonize it using the notes of the corresponding chord on your R.H.

5. Play the melody together with the harmony on your R.H. and on your L.H., play the bass in octave.

6. Play the melody and harmony on your R.H. while arpeggiating the chord on your left (if necessary).

7. Play the melody in octaves while adding the inner voices (the remaining notes of the chords which are not being played) on your R.H. while arpeggiating the chord on your left (if necessary).

8. Use chords arpeggiation on your right hand (ascending or descending) as fill-in for long extended notes or chords.

9. The important thing is to know the melody and the chords of the song you are playing and to coordinate the right and left hand to play the song. And that’s the fun in reading sheet music – there’s no left hand pattern to read. You are free to create your own music!!! Feel free to experiment which left hand patterns to use in a specific song, try playing different rhythms, explore the chords, try different inversions of chords, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Some good music are created because of accidental mistakes on the melody. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect!

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