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Eric Rader 2012 - Piano-Lessons-Made-Simple.


Thank you so much for downloading your free copy of my eBook and for signing up for The Piano Informer Newsletter! My site is dedicated to giving the most in-depth piano instruction available online. This eBook is no different. Here you will nd important tips that all beginner and intermediate piano players need to know. I hope you enjoy Top Tips For Teaching Yourself Piano and please feel free to share my site with anyone you may know who is looking for helpful information on learning to play the piano! Cheers! Eric Rader

Where To Start
It can be confusing looking at the keys on the piano. Seeing all the white and black keys that seem to go on and on forever in either direction can be a daunting undertaking. Trying to read music, using the pedal, and making all ten ngers work together can be a little overwhelming. When you start learning to play piano there are a lot of different resources out there claiming to be the end all to learning piano. They give you promise like: You can learn to play piano in 3 weeks. Well, Im not going to tell you that. Im also not going to tell you that its going to be easy. Learning to play to piano is a lifelong process. I learn new things, and improve my playing everyday. Learning to play the piano is a difcult process. You cant just learn a few chords then go out on the road. You can however, learn the simple techniques and expound upon them to make your playing unique and exciting to those who hear it. I can promise you that if you take time, and progressively enhance your skills, that you will learn to play the piano.

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Whats In This eBook?

This eBook is meant to give a primer on some of the basic concepts that are commonly overlooked by the beginning piano teacher. I remember coming across these tips thinking: I wish someone would have told me this three years ago. Most teachers have the philosophy that you need to learn the notes on the piano, then you can focus on the other tangibles. I have the outlook that if you have these important concepts down, you will enhance your knowledge, and enhance the way you practice, leading to more efcient playing and learning. I hope you are able to use these ideas to help enhance your playing.

Tip #1 Warming Up
Are you serious? Youre telling me that warming up is one of your 10 tips? This is the most overlooked aspect of playing that beginners tend to forget, or simply, give no attention to. Taking at least 5 to 10 minutes to warm up at the piano will dramatically help your playing.

How does warming up help you?

Gives your ngers the much needed speed to move around the keys Stretched the ngers so you can reach further to make some beautiful sounding chords. Adds muscle memory to you hands and ngers, so when it comes time to play that C#dim11 chord you know exactly where to put your ngers Gives coordination to the left hand and those hard to train ngers. Gets you ready for the piece or song you are about to play Helps you memorize chords and scales for more difcult keys

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Use Your Time Wisely

The key here is to make sure to use this time wisely. If you are practicing for an hour a day, you want to make sure that the time you use for warm-ups is spend doing things that are going to benet you. For example, focusing on awkward scales or uncommon chords wont add to your practice session unless you are at that level of playing and you need those chords or scales for a particular song.

My Favorite Warm-Up Exercises:

Major Scales Minor Scales Two Octave Scales Chords in all keys Chord Inversions

I like to use these warm-ups every time I sit down and practice. The major scales are good just to get your ngers loose. You dont want tight ngers when you sit down to play. The two octave scale really gets your ngers moving up and down the piano. Playing all the chords in all keys and their inversions gets your muscles in your ngers ready to fall to those chords. When doing these warm-ups you want to make sure that you play them once with the right hand, once with the left, and then together with both hands. This will give you that coordination that you need to start playing effectively with both hands. Try and make time to warm up. Just try it for a week or two and see if it helps. I promise that once you start taking the time to do these warm-ups you will see a dramatic change in you speed and dexterity when playing. It seems like a waste of time sometimes. I hate to do them sometimes too. But, when you start to see the benets of these practices you will be glad that you took the time do these exercises.

Tip #2 Practice Makes Perfect

Anything worth having takes hard work.
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This statement is especially true for learning to play piano. If you really want to learn to pay then you have to work hard. Taking time to practice everyday is the key to becoming a great piano player.

Practice Every Day

If you really want to become the best musician that you can you have to take time to practice ever single day. When I was rst learning to play I would practiced all the time. Sometimes for hours a day. I would sit at the piano from the minute I got home from school and wouldnt get up until dark. This was the time that I noticed the biggest increases in my playing. When I started to become condent in my playing I wouldnt play as much. There were days when I wouldnt play at all. This left my playing stale and I wasnt learning anything new.

Getting Over the Hump

You cant get to a place where you feel that you are as good as you are going to get. I was there. I thought I can play really good, Im happy with my ability. I was totally wrong! I made a decision to start to practice everyday for at least 2 hours. I did that for about 3 months and have never seen more progress then I did in that time. You have to make a point to practice. There are times when we feel that we cant get any better, or we think we can play good enough. But the fact is, that we can always get better. If you focus at least thirty minutes to practice I promise you that in a month you will not believe how much better you are playing. Take it from me. I played in church, weddings, and other venues and thought I was good. I started practicing 2 hours a day and I saw how much improvement you can make by just staying dedicated to practicing.
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Tip #3 Learn Scales!!

If there is one thing that I wish I would have known when I was rst learning to play piano its how important scales are. When I was rst learning to play I was using chord charts from church. When I would get to a chord that I didnt know, I had to run to the computer and look up the notes in the chord, try not to forget the notes before I got back to the piano, and then try and memorize it for when it came back up in the song. This was such a headache. But what I didnt know was, if I would have leaned all the major scales, then I could easily nd any chord that I wanted without all the extra hassle. If you take the time to memorize all the scale then you can basically nd any chord, with a little theory of course. This is beyond the scope of this eBook, but if you want to nd out more about how to nd a chord by knowing a scale then you can check it out on the site at http://

Why Scales Are So Important

Scales make up the backbone of all the keys signatures. If you know the scale you are in then you can play pretty much anything in that key and it will sound good. This doesnt work all the time, but for the most part it does. Knowing scales is great to know because then you can build any chord you want. Say you want to build a G major chord. All you have to do is nd the notes in the G major Scale, then nd the 1st, 3rd, and 5th note in that scale and then youll have that chord.

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This goes for any major chord on the piano. If you want to build a major chord just nd the note in that scale and youve got it.

Use Those Scales!

If you had to decide which thing to learn rst on the piano I would say it would be scales. Just about everything you learn on the piano comes from some type of scale. If you know scaled then the theory behind playing piano will come to you a lot quicker. When you start to build chords the scales will be an important tool to build any chord you want to play. Take your time and learn major and minor scales. Then move on to blues scales and pentatonic scales and other less common scales.

Tip #4 Know Every Chord in Every Key

To really become a great piano player you have to know every chord in every key. That doesnt mean you have to know every single chord every created. You dont have to memorize a German 5th diminished 11th. (Whatever that is?) Obviously these strange and uncommon chords wont help you a whole lot. If you know the more common chords though, it will really take your playing to a whole new level.

Chords You Have To Know

So which chords are the ones you need to know? You HAVE to know all major and minor chords. Knowing these majors and minors will take up about 80% of your chord knowledge. Almost every contemporary song out there is made up of major and minor chords. Different styles of music will use different types of chords. Some contemporary music will use 7th or major 7ths, but not very often. If you play gospel or hymns them you might come across diminished and augmented chords.
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If you want to play jazz or blues then you will need to learn minors, 9ths, and 11ths. It really depends on the style of music you play what chords you need to learn. The most important ones you need to start off with though are the major and minors. Learn major and minors in every key. Know them like the back of your hand. Know them with your eyes shut. Really learn them. Once you know these chords you are on your way to playing 90% of the songs out there.

Chord Inversions
Inversions are simply playing different voicings of a chord. A voicing is just taking a simple chord and adding something to is or replacing some of the notes. You might take the root note and instead of playing it with your thumb, you might play it with your pinky. This is an inversion. When you rework a chord and play it in a different way you are playing an inversion. For example, playing a C Major chord with the thumb on an E, index nger on G, and small nger on C would be an inversion. Playing a C chord this way can give a chord a whole new sound. It almost makes the chord sound totally different. So, you can play one chord in three different ways giving you an almost unlimited amount of sounds to play a song. Use inversions to make your music sound different. Instead of always playing a root chord, add an inversion to give the song some variety.

Uses for Inversions

They are also useful when the next root chord is far away, you can use an inversion of that chord to make the change more uent and easy. Its very important to know all of the major and minor chord inversions because you playing start to sound predictable if you use the same root chords all the time.
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Add in different inversions of chords to make the simple chords sound more unique.

Tip #5 Playing By Ear

You really CAN learn to play piano by ear! You dont have to have some special secret ability in order to do it. Some people think its impossible to learn to play by ear, and only the most talented musicians can do it.

This Cant Be True Or Can It?

I believe that anyone can learn to play by ear. Dont get me wrong..... I think if you have natural talent, and have special ability to hear music, then playing by ear will be easier for you. But, that doesnt mean that it cant be done and that you still cant enjoy playing the piano. If you are willing to take the time and are willing to make a commitment to really learn the piano, then you will be successful. After each day of practice you will notice that your ngers will move a little more uently, your hands will fall to chords much more easily, your ears will detect chords without even playing a note on the piano. Give yourself a goal to practice for thirty minutes each day. I promise that in time you will learn to play the piano. It does take a lot of hard work. But with time you WILL learn to play!

How To Start Playing By Ear

Most people who want to pay by ear have some musical background. That doesn't mean that if you dont then you still cant play by ear. It is crucial that when you start to learn to play by ear that you lear to develop your ear to hear musically. You have to train your ear to hear the differences between chords, the different harmonies, and inversions that are being played. This may seem very hard at rst.... Let me start over......

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It IS hard at rst. But it doesn't mean that you cant train yourself to hear like a musician. The most important tool that a musician has is his/her ear. With time you will start to notice correct intervals, chords, and harmonies. In this eBook we will talk about a few of the basic training techniques you can follow to help train your ear.

Hearing Harmonies
Most modern and classical music is made up of three note chords. A chord is series of notes that when played together create harmonies. If you really want to hear what harmony sounds like, listen to church choir. When all three (or four) parts are singing together they singing harmony. When you hear the background vocals on your favorite singers CD, you are hearing harmony. Now.... how does this all apply to playing the piano? When we play a song on the piano we are using chords, which are made up of harmonies. These harmonies are the building block of the song and creates the variety of sounds that you make on the piano.

Practice Hearing Harmony

The best way that helped me hear harmony was to listen to choirs. I grew up in church singing in the choir. When I was young I had no idea what a harmony was. As I got older I started to realize that each group sang their own part, and when these parts blended together it sounded amazing! I wanted to hear every part. I wanted to hear the soprano (highest part), alto (middle part), tenor (highest male part), and bass (lowest part). When I started to hear each part individually, I could then dene each part when they were put together in the group. When you start to listen intently to each individual part of a choir, you will start to hear the individual notes that are being sung. Now.... applying this to the piano. As you start to recognize the individual parts in a choir, or even background

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singers on a CD, you will hear how the parts blend together to create a single chord. Now go to the piano. Play any major chord. Play each individual note by itself. Listen to its tone, its warmth, its texture. Now play them together. Hear how the t together. Its almost like they were made to match one another. Play them alone again. Really listen to each note by itself. Repeat this process until you can hear each note as an individual note, and as a whole in the chord. Now move on to a minor chord. Can you hear the difference? Hear how the major chord and minor chord are totally different? You will hear the harmonies that are created within the chord and how they are different from one another. Now try and come up with your own harmonies. Try and take three or more individual notes and blend them together to create a pleasing sound. Not all harmonies are pleasing to the ear however. Some harmonies sound a little... funky. But, when you put them in with a particular song then they seem as though its perfect. Try and hear as many harmonies as you can. Listen to singers rst..... its a lot easier. Then listen to harmonies on the piano. Now you are on your way to building new and unique chords.

Playing by ear is nothing but hearing intervals and recognizing the distance between notes. An interval is simply the distance between notes. For example, the distance between C and D is a whole step. If you need a refresher on intervals go to my site and read up. All the information you need is there.

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Now that you know what an interval is, lets talk about how we use these when playing by ear. Most songs follow the same pattern, this pattern is called a chord progression. Information on chord progressions can also be found on the site and are beyond the scope of this book. But, we will talk a little bit about how they are used. If you listen to any of your favorite songs you will notice that they all follow a pattern. They start with a verse, then a chorus, repeat a verse that sounds exactly the same as the rst chorus, repeat the chorus, add some kind of bridge, and then repeat the chorus to the end of the song. These types of songs ate the musicians best friend. They have probably 5 chords in the whole song and they repeat them throughout. So, if you can tell what chords are being played in the chorus, you have 90% of the song learned. Back to intervals..... Intervals tell us the jump between these chords. For example, if you start with C major chord, you might jump to play a G major chord. This is an interval. Listen really closely to a song you want to learn. Try and hear how the chords are moving. Do they go up or down? Are they moving a lot or a little bit? This is where intervals come into play. If you hear a chord, and it seems like its a large distance from the previous chord, then its interval is far away from the previous chord. If you listen to the entire song you will start to her the chords moving and you will hear the intervals that the chords are moving to. Once you start to hear these intervals, you can start to memorize them, and then apply them to another song. Try and listen to bass note in the chord. Where does it move? This is an indication of where the chord is moving to. Focus on where the chord starts and where the next chord is. Try and notice the distance between these chords. You can now start playing songs by ear by hearing the distance between the chords. There is a whole lo more involved in playing by ear. These are just a few of the less common tips that you can use to start hearing like a musician and start playing the piano by ear.
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The best thing you can do to build your ear is just listen to music. It doesn't have to be piano music, it can be any music. You will start to hear harmonizes, chords, and intervals as you build your ear which will give you a better understanding on where the chords on the piano go and what to play. Always take time to not only practice playing, but to practice listening. The ear is the best tool you can have when playing piano. Build your ear and you become a GREAT piano player

Where Do We Go From Here?

Now its time to take these newly learned concepts and apply them to your everyday playing, practicing, and performances. Take these small steps each day and you will see massive amounts of improvement in a short time. Use these tips that I have compiled here and you Will see results! I know that there you will meet roadblocks in your learning. There will be times where you wont want to practice. Ive been there, I know what you are going through. Use that time remember what your focus is. What are you trying to accomplish? You are wanting to Play Piano. And you will Play Piano. Learning an instrument is like any other skill. It requires time, commitment, and dedication. Stay focussed, stay driven, and stay motivated and you will be successful. You Will Learn to Play Piano!

Thank You For Reading

I wanted to take this opportunity to say Thank You! for downloading and reading Top Tips For Teaching Yourself Piano. If it wasnt for dedicated people like you determined to learn to play piano, my site would be pointless. is here to help encourage and inform people like you to pursue your dreams of learning a musical instrument. I hope that this has been an informative read, and that my site is a helpful resource for you and others. If so, please
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feel to send me an email or comment on my site. Let others know of the benets that are offered here! You can reach me via email at: Thank you again for reading. Keep Playing, Keep Practicing, Keep Making Music! Eric Rader

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