piano technique

Maestro's 2016/17 Studio Challenges - Part 1

Maestro's 2016/17 Studio Challenges - Part 1

This year, I made two big changes to Maestro's Challenges. The first is that I separated the Musician Survival Skills Challenges and the Music Moxie Challenges. The biggest change, however, is how my students and I are approaching technique. It's been a bit of a gamble, especially with the ones preparing for an exam, but it's paying off.

Beginning major scales Book Review

A look at Paul D. Sayre's Beginning major scales Technique & Theory Workbook. Smart design and text, I can see it meeting the needs of certain groups of students and look forward to the release of the next book in the series.

Time Saving Technique Practice Idea

Are you stuck between studying for tests and logging in much needed time on practicing technique? Try this idea that came up during one of my lessons last week.

Using the Circle of Fifths to Practice Technique

This popped into my head while I was teaching a lesson  last week. I asked my student to play her Grade 8 piano technique by going through the Circle of Fifths. Not only was it quickly evident that my student needs to review her key signatures, but it also was clear that she was used to practicing her technique in a certain order. However, during a music examination, you have no clue which of the required technical elements you will be asked to play. It is important to mix things up regularly.

In this piano lesson tutorial, I demonstrate what how my student practiced her piano technique using the Circle of Fifths approach.

Practicing Piano Technique by the Root

This is more for the advanced students, music teachers and anyone who wants to learn jazz chords and scales. Instead of practicing your technical exercises by key, practice them by their shared root. For example, play through:

  • C major Scale
  • C major Modes
  • C minor Scales (natural, harmonic, melodic, jazz minor)
  • C minor Modes
  • C Penatonic Scale
  • C Blues Scale
  • C Whole Tone Scale
  • C Octatonic Scale
  • C major tonic chord/triad
  • C minor tonic chord/triad
  • C7 (dominant 7th of F major)
  • Cm7 (ii7 of B-flat major)
  • Cm7(♭5) (viiø7 of D-flat major)
  • Cdim7, A.K.A. B#dim (viio7 of D-flat/c# minor)
  • and so on.

This was one of the first things I learned when I took jazz piano lessons with jazz pianist, clinician, adjudicator and examiner Derek Stoll.