Ways to Improve Your Improvising on Piano

Piano improvisation can seem intimidating at first. Playing the piano requires practiced coordination, and even in a beginners’ piano improvisation, the choices can be overwhelming. However, the effort pays off. Confidently improvising on the piano is decidedly impressive and can provide you with endless enjoyment. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to improve your improvising on piano.

Know the basics

Before you leap into improvisation, it can help to have a solid foundation behind you. A good place to start is with a music lessons, where you can learn important skills that nobody picks up intuitively. Things like correct hand positioning and knowledge of music theory will allow you to understand why some improvisers sound great.

Get inspired

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, when you’re improving your improvisation on the piano, it’s a great idea to allow yourself to be inspired by the music of others. Sit down with some sheet music or play along to a song you love and start making changes from there. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself playing something completely different to the original piece.

Start Out Slowly

The key to improving your improvisation on the piano is practise. Practise often and don’t get too caught up in making each phrase completely different. Repeat bars and phrases, create little riffs and licks and slowly build more complex melodies around them. Start out simply and your music will sound thoughtful and intentional.

Be creative

Improvisation is a wonderful way to stretch your imagination and creativity. Think of all the places and situations that you hear music in on any given day. Challenge yourself try different styles or improvise music for a range of purposes. There is music for every fathomable scenario and, once you are confident in your improvisation, you can sit down and play something appropriate for any moment.

Listen back

Practising improvisation constantly will help you to learn what works and what doesn’t. Recording your improvisations will give you a catalogue of all of the things that you have tried, and you can use this to build an understanding of why some things work better than others. Listening back to your recordings can be extremely encouraging. You’ll be surprised how quickly your improvisation improves.

Master Improvisation on the Right Piano

Looking for a teacher to help teach you improvisation? Maybe you need a new piano, or a tune up. No matter what it is, if it’s piano related the team at The Pianoforte can help. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832

5 Must Have Accessories for Your Piano

Once you have chosen the perfect piano, you’ll want to get as much enjoyment from it as possible. The easiest way to enhance your playing experience is to invest in some piano accessories. No matter what type of piano you play, the right kind of accessories can improve your comfort and help you get the most out of your piano.

Headphones

If you choose to play a keyboard or digital piano, headphones are an essential accessory. A pair of good quality headphones will have you practising for longer, at any time of day or night, without the embarrassment that can come from somebody overhearing the many mistakes it takes to figure out a piece. Headphones aren’t only great for keeping sound in; if you want to make the most of the portability of your keyboard or digital piano  they are necessary for tuning the rest of the world out.

Piano Stool

When you sit down to play your piano, take a moment to consider whether your seat is helping or hindering your practise. An uncomfortable seat can lead to poor posture and hand positioning which, over time, can cause back strain and carpal tunnel. The right piano stool can allow you to play comfortably for sustained sessions, which will quickly add up to noticeable improvements in your technique. If it is not a pleasure to sit at your piano the only accumulation you’ll see is dust on your keys.

A Stand

After the time and money that you have invested in finding the right keyboard, don’t put it at risk by perching it anywhere. A keyboard stand will guarantee that your keyboard can withstand through even the most enthusiastic staccato.

A Sustain Pedal

Most pianos have a built in sustain pedal – they’re essential for creating expressiveness in pieces. If your keyboard or digital piano is not equipped with a sustain pedal, this simple accessory will allow you to add depth and feeling to your playing with very little effort.

A Metronome

Practising with a metronome prevents you from developing tempo problems. Mastering rhythm and pacing is not only a great way to improve your own playing, but it also allows you to play well with others whether in a duet or an orchestra.

Choose the Right Piano for You

No matter what type of piano you play, the team at The Pianoforte are passionate about helping you make the most out of it. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832

What are Dynamics and Why are They Important?

One of the defining characteristics of the piano is its capacity for a wide range of dynamic options. Notes on the piano can be both very loud, and very soft. It is, in a sense, the defining feature of the piano; unlike its predecessor, the harpsichord, which could only pluck the strings at one set volume. The hammer mechanism in the piano permits a player far greater freedom and expressivity when they play. In fact, the name ‘Pianoforte’ translates into Italian as “soft loud”, alluding to the potential for variance in volume.

What are Some Examples of Dynamics in Music?

If you cast your mind over some of your favourite songs, you’ll quickly appreciate how important dynamics are in music. Consider Blister in the Sun by Violent Femmes: without that quiet verse in the middle, contrasting with the booming choruses either side, it wouldn’t be half as recognisable. The Sex Pistols would have sounded very strange indeed if their songs were gently strummed on acoustic guitars! All of which is to say that, when it comes to virtually any piece of music, dynamics are an integral component in overall expressiveness.

How Should You Use Dynamics in Your Playing?

Often, sheet music will feature dynamic markings (like pp, p, mp, mf, f, and ff) to help inform the player. There are also accented notes, crescendos, diminuendos, and a cavalcade of other indicators. Of course, sometimes the composer isn’t as instructive as they could be with the sheet music; a prime opportunity for some personal interpretation.

Why is it that Some Pianos are Better than Others?

Even now, hundreds of years after the transcending of the harpsichord, many keyboards have a binary dynamic range. Often, cheap MIDI keyboards won’t register the pressure applied to a key. At times, a good old-fashioned analogue piano might be hobbled when it comes to dynamics. On a broken or out of tune piano, certain keys might be louder than others. Some keys might even elicit an unpleasant buzzing noise when pressed firmly. To get the best results with dynamics in piano music, there’s no substitute for a good piano in good working order.

Choose a Quality Piano

Dynamics are important for piano players. Of course, when selecting a piano or looking at how to play a piece, there are many other musical considerations; tone, timbre, timing and so much else.

If it seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. Whether you need a new piano, a tuning, or a new teacher, The Pianoforte can help. We’ve been Sydney’s leading experts for the last thirty years, and with three stores open seven days a week, it’s easy to contact us or pop-in for a visit. Call us in:

  • Chatswood – (02) 9411 8911
  • Rydalmere – (02) 9898 9887
  • Seven Hills – (02) 9838 8832



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