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learn how to play songs on the piano

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Lesson 5: Playing Simple Songs
Now that we've learned some of the basic notes, chords and scales, we can start to work towards playing a few simple songs. Now don't get ahead of yourself by thinking you can start out by playing Mozart, Chopin or, heaven-forbid, even Elton John. We all have to start somewhere, and when you're learning piano for the first time, simpler is better. In this section we will learn a few very simple songs that you can start playing to give you a feel for the piano.

How to Play Simple Songs on a Piano
Hot Cross Buns
How to Play Simple Songs on a Piano
 
Mary Had A Little Lamb
How to Play Simple Songs on a Piano
 

Lesson 6: Practicing
Now that you know some of the basics of playing the piano, it is important that you practice these lessons frequently and thoroughly. As with any instrument, the only way to ensure that you keep getting better at the piano is to play often and to practice what you know. I know that practicing isn't always fun, and can sometimes be quite frustrating. But know this: The more you practice, the better you will get, and the more fun you will have the next time you practice. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your practice sessions:
Stretch your fingers out before playing. You may want to flex your fingers or crack your knuckles, whatever gets them limber and ready to play.
Start your practice session by playing scales. This will help to loosen up your fingers.
Practice every day, even if it's only for a few minutes (although you should try to play for an hour a day).

How I did it: Although it may sound cliched, the key to playing the piano well I think, is motivation. You have to be motivated. The turning point for me was when I heard Pachebel's Canon for the first time. It was by far the most beautiful piece of music I have EVER heard in my life and I decided that no matter what, i'm going to try to make it even more beautiful on piano. But how could I do it when the only thing I could play was twinkle twinkle little star and mary had a little lamb?

So I got off my ass and read up on music theory, chord progressions and my trusty Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist. I realized that in order to play WELL and not just mediocre, I had to be one with my instrument. That means thinking about it non-stop and trying to cement each individual note in my memory. Until you can play the piano in your head, you can't play it in real life.

But there are definately plateaus to overcome. I remember being stuck on the circle of fifths for a long time as I just couldn't get my fingers and head to react fast enough for the changes. But sheer persistence and determination really does pay off.

Lessons & tips: 1) Practice Hanon for finger memory.
2) Choose a piece of music you love, be in jazz, pop, classical whatever and DECIDE to play it on piano no matter what.
3) Try to play the piano in your head first. Hear each individual note.



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