What Are Piano Pedals For?

What are piano pedals for

For most people, the keyboard is what you notice first about the piano, but there are also those two or three mysterious foot pedals lurking down below. What are they, and what are they for? Let’s find out! The Damper Pedal Starting out on the right, you’ll see the damper pedal. This pedal controls the […]

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What Do You Do If You Get Stuck?

Sometimes that next lesson just seems too hard. What do you do if you get stuck? First of all, don’t give up. Stick with it. Make sure that consistent, daily practice is happening. But before you try and tackle that next lesson again, ask yourself this question: As you went through the previous lessons, did […]

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How to Encourage Great Piano Posture

It can be challenging to get a child to focus on piano posture. Most kids just want to play their songs, not worry about their hand shape or body alignment. But from the very first time your child touches a keyboard, they are forming habits, patterns of movement, and pathways in their brain that can […]

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What Is Solfege and Why Do We Teach It?

why solfege is important

Ever wonder who came up with those funny words Do, Re, Mi? It’s an interesting story that brings us back to a time long before Rogers and Hammerstein wrote their famous “Do-Re-Mi” song for “The Sound of Music.” Where Did It Come From? About a thousand years ago, there was an Italian monk named Guido […]

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Top Ten Tips for Practice Partners

I can’t emphasize enough how much the progress of a young piano student depends on having an adult’s encouragement and support in their daily piano practice. Here are ten ways that you can be a great piano partner:  1. Wanted! Your Undivided Attention Make some time every day to sit down with your child and […]

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Can I Look At My Hands?

If you’re an adult who had piano lessons as a child, chances are your teacher was very strict about NOT looking at your hands. Should you be the same way with your beginning piano student? The reasoning behind keeping a child from looking at their hands while playing the piano was to teach sight-reading and […]

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How to Learn a New Song

Learning a new song on the piano can be challenging, especially for a beginning student. Once the piano lesson is over, how do you help your child take the next step? Here are some tips for learning new songs: Listen Before your child tries to play a song, have them listen to it several times. […]

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Live Q&A Index

Last September I had a great live Q&A session with Hoffman Academy parents and students. If you missed it, or if you’d like to review any of the information we shared that night, here’s the video and a list of all the questions I answered and where to find them during the session: 00:00:00 Introduction […]

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Play it by Ear

How to play piano by ear

Some people seem to be able to sit down at the piano and play any song they’ve heard, just like magic. But it isn’t magic. People who can play by ear had to learn to do it, and that takes time and effort. Playing by ear is a fantastic skill to have, and you can […]

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Seven Steps to Super Sight Reading

become a super sight reader

Help your child succeed in learning to read music with these seven steps! 1. Focus on Sight Reading: Sight reading, the ability to read and play an unfamiliar piece of written music, is a separate skill from performing. Realize that it’s going to take some focused sight reading practice in order to master it. 2. […]

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Reading Music vs Playing by Ear

Which is more important for a piano student to learn, reading music or playing by ear? The answer is that both are an important part of being a good musician. Ear Comes First For most children, their first experience with music is singing a simple song, like Mary Had a Little Lamb. How did they […]

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Tips for Keeping Fingers Relaxed at the Keyboard

One of the most challenging things for a beginning pianist is keeping the fingers relaxed and curved on the keys. Fingers often want to straighten out or even fly up while playing. If this is a challenge for you or your child, here are some hints for developing relaxed hands and fingers at the piano. […]

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