Monthly Archives: June 2016


In today’s video, I’m going to show you my favorite grade 2 piano books, and the pieces in them (as per the RCM).

I also did a video very similar to this about grade 1 level books, so if that’s up your alley, definitely check it out.

You can also check out the post all about grade 2 (RCM and ABRSM) – what’s expected at that level, a breakdown of the categories, and so on.
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Today we’re going to dip our toes in composition and look at some piano songwriting basics. I’ve written a tune with the very unique title of “Pentatonic Song”, which you can download below. You can learn it, or study it, or use it as a launching point for your own composition.

I wanted to build on the pentatonic scale stuff from the previous video. In that video, we talked about what a pentatonic scale is, and why it’s so useful for jamming – definitely check out that video if you haven’t already.
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Hey friends! Today we’ll be chatting about pentatonic scales, which is an extremely useful scale to know if you’re into jamming and improvising (even if that’s just something you do by yourself).

We’re going to talk about how to figure them out (the theory), listen to a few examples of songs that use them, and how to apply them.
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In today’s video, we’re going to discuss grade 2 piano, RCM as well as grade 2 ABRSM. These are two major systems of grading, exams and levels in the piano world.

So we’re going to talk about the different exam categories of grade 2 piano: song categories, the technique that’s required, as well as ear and sight tests. Linked below is a copy of the online syllabus which is free to use and has all this but in more detail.
RCM Piano Syllabus (PDF, all grades – scroll to grade 2)
ABRSM Grade 2 Syllabus
RCM Popular Selection Syllabus (PDF)
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In today’s episode, I wanted to sit down and have a chat with you guys about something I have seen fairly regularly in my studio – writing down the note letters.

Reading music can be challenging. When you’re learning how to read notes, it can even be difficult to read pieces meant for beginners. So when I see students attempt to tackle more challenging pieces, sometimes the page will come back covered in letters, decoded if you will.

Now the big question is: is it okay to write down the note letters? In today’s episode, we’ll weigh the pros and cons.
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Here on PianoTV, we’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about beginner topics suitable to a Preparatory and Grade 1 level. Those topics range from history to theory, to lesson planning, to tutorials and techniques.

As I’ve talked about previously in my video about why I think doing RCM playing exams are useful, I also think it’s great fun – actually, way more fun – to do written music exams.

So in today’s video, I’m going to share with you some resources to give yourself a grade 1 written exam that’ll test your knowledge. It’s a good way to spice things up and see what your strengths and weaknesses are – for example, maybe you’re excellent at note reading, but need to brush up on some terms.
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Scales are something that I like to work on with all of my students. They can sometimes seem like a drag, though, so I wanted to talk about why exactly I find them so useful.

In today’s video, I also wanted to look at how to build a major scale. Every single key on the piano (all 12, if you include the black keys), when plugged into a formula, is the start of a scale. So you can have C major scale, Db major scale, D major scale, and so on.

Each of these scales has a unique pattern of black keys and white keys. We’ll take a look at how to figure that out – it isn’t super difficult, but it’s pretty useful to know. Even if you still end up Googling the notes of a major scale, it’s important to know how that came to be.

Let’s get started!
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