PianoTV Q&A: Your musical questions, answered
Every month on PianoTV, I answer four of your piano-related questions on a variety of topics. We talk about exercises, finger patterns, motivation, music books and more.
This page is a collection of all the Q&A videos found on this website and channel. The first set of questions, “beginner piano questions”, are important topics that frequently come up in my music studio. Be sure to check those out first before asking your questions!
Interview with my piano teacher
If you’d like to get into my backstory a little bit, check out this conversation with Kristine, my childhood piano teacher. We talk about teaching philosophies, adult students and more.
Beginner Piano Questions
This early blog post gives you a sense of your learning path in the beginning, assuming you’re an adult beginner. It’s different for everyone and every teacher, but this is what I usually see.
This video called “20 reasons to learn piano” is the first video we ever did for this channel. It seemed appropriate to talk about why the piano is awesome before getting into all the theory and tutorials.
In this video, I try to give my honest perspective on how long it tends to take most people to go from a beginner to advanced level. This is a question I get asked all the time!
The short answer to this question is probably, but I understand that not everyone can have the luxury of private lessons. In this video, you’ll find advice for common pitfalls if you’re going it alone (and why I think it’s worthwhile to have a teacher if you can).
Here I share my tactics for finding sheet music for my students, as well as for myself. There are a variety of ways to go about this, and it requires some exploration. But that’s the fun of it!
Some people naturally memorize without much effort; for others it’s a struggle. Here are my tips for memorizing if it doesn’t come so easily for you.
Sight reading is being able to look at sheet music and successfully translate it to the piano keys, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student. This is a skill all of us can stand to improve.
Phrasing is something we talk about a lot on this channel. If you have no idea what that is, be sure to check out this quick Q&A video.
Motivation is something that tends to wax and wane in cycles throughout the years. Sometimes you’ll be ready to charge full steam ahead; other times you’ll have to drag yourself to the bench. These are my tips for maintaining a steady stream of motivation to practice.
This video addresses the common issue of writing down notes on your sheet music, so that you don’t have to actually read the notes as you play.
Most people aren’t naturally skilled at playing along to a relentless ticking beat. It’s best to get started with really simple exercises and patterns, and gradually build up to more complex pieces.
This is a tough question to answer objectively. Instead, I do a lot of speculating in this video, discussing my techniques. Of course, the answer to this question will probably be different for everyone.
When you’re learning music in a variety of key signatures, it can be a challenge to remember which sharps or flats you need to be using in a piece. This Q&A session shares some of my ideas on how to accomplish this.
Intermediate piano questions
This short Q&A video is about learning the skill of reading the treble and bass clef at the same time. Most other instruments use only one clef, so piano is fairly unique when it comes to reading for two hands at once.
This discussion is about getting bored with method books and piano exercises. It’s about being understimulated by these pieces, which means less motivation, which means less practice, which means practice becomes a grind.
This Q&A topic is one that is so important, especially when you start getting into more intermediate and advanced pieces. You’ll see it over and over again in pieces, so it’s a really important piano skill to master.
This question explores the balance of method book pieces versus supplemental material, and how much to work on of each.
This Q&A session explores the appropriate amount of time to spend on method books and grade levels. Is it a good idea to take a moderate approach, or zoom through levels quickly?
Something all serious musicians have considered at one point or other is how to avoid injuries at the piano.
In this Q&A session, we explore the issue of talent – does it exist? Does it matter? And most importantly, can anyone learn piano?
I detail my so-called “perfect” student in this video – and all of the things you can do to be a great student yourself (and one your piano teacher will love).
If tempo markings (the note + number, or Italian terms) have you confused, definitely check out this short and simple video to set you straight.
This Q&A session is all about my experience as an accompanist and why I think it’s one of the hardest musical “jobs” out there.
Most of my adult students get stuck on what pieces to learn and what direction to go in – which is why I’m there to help. Though you’re not my studio students, hopefully this video will give you some guidance!
PianoTV: Monthly Q&A Session
- November 2016 Q&A: Piano posture and more
- December 2016 Q&A: Proper hand position and more
- January 2017 Q&A: Hand exercises and more
- February 2017 Q&A: Polyrhythm and flying pinkies
- March 2017 Q&A: Hitting plateaus in practice (and more)
- April 2017 Q&A: The perfect play-through, leaping hands and more
- May 2017 Q&A: Choosing music books and fast playing
- June 2017 Q&A: Octave scales, small hands and more
- July 2017 Q&A: Hand balance, memorization and more
- August 2017 Q&A: Legato playing, collapsing fingers and more
- September 2017 Q&A: Perfect pitch, playing chords by ear and more