Stan Watkins Piano Studio Blog

How to Practice the Piano

"How long should I practice?" This is a question piano teachers are often asked. It is also a question I try not to answer, since I believe it is the wrong question. A better question would be, "How should I practice?"

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Johann Sebastian Bach: More Than a Great Composer

Johann Sebastian Bach lived a fully human life. We know him, today, primarily as a composer, but he also was a husband, father, student, teacher, manager, worker, and lover, with abilities and faults which were obvious to all who knew him. Here are just a few tidbits from his well-seasoned life

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How to Learn to Read Music

What is the best way to learn to read music? The United States has printed more series of music curriculum than any other country in the world. While there are many aspects of a good music curriculum, including music theory, technique, and listening skills, one of the main focuses of early music training, traditionally, has been music reading. Even though there have been many series of books written, they generally fall into three distinct systems.

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Key features in a Student Piano

A good student piano should have a full keyboard, full-size keys, pedal, the correct height, and a bench. Choosing a quality instrument will allow you to enjoy playing music and continue to improve.

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What really happens in a piano lesson?

A glimpse into a typical lesson, for those who have not studied music before, or, at least, have not studied with me. Even though each lesson is different, I strive to maintain a balance between all the elements of music and usually follow a similar lesson order.

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Music Intervals: Measuring Distance in Music

This blog post presents two new charts to my series for teaching music theory, this time on the subject of music intervals. One of the features that I particularly like about the charts in this series is that I can include only as much information as the student needs at the moment, and then add more, later.

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Music Teaching Charts

Today, I am adding the first of what I intend to be many charts designed to teach piano students concepts of music theory and history.

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Philosophy of Discipline and Self-control in the Piano Lesson

Learning to play the piano, like many other worthy goals, requires discipline and self-control. Discipline is what helps someone focus on the task at hand, rather than other distractions. Discipline allows one to postpone a pleasurable activity to a more appropriate time. Discipline pushes one to practice hard to develop a skill that is not realized immediately.

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Learn Those Notes

When you begin practicing a new piano piece, the obvious place to begin is learning the notes. Many people, myself included, want to breeze through this task and move on to more interesting things, but if you are not diligent here you will ultimately spend longer learning your song.

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The Emotional Pianist

Pianists are emotional creatures. Our playing communicates feelings and also creates them. It would be interesting to do a scientific investigation of how one's playing and emotions connect.

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Migrating Book

In an earlier post, I indicated that memorizing a piece is not always necessary. Sometimes, however, it is required by a particular adjudication, contest, or competition; sometimes you choose to memorize in order to appear polished and professional (this is the point of view that I personally want to move away from); and sometimes, memorizing becomes necessary in order to really play the piece well.

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