Devin – Piano Lesson – 2017.01.31

Devin knows:

  • The note names for the white keys
  • How to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” melody
  • The note names on the treble clef
  • How to play the “Happy Birthday” melody

Devin wants to learn:

  • Happy songs
  • “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
  • “Jingle Bells”
  • How to read music, so he can visualize it in his mind as he plays it
  • How to play the piano only
    • Is not interested in learning other instruments or singing along right now

Devin likes:

  • Rock music
    • Thousand Foot Crutch
  • Pop music
    • Katy Perry
    • Taylor Swift
    • Prince

Note-Naming exercise:

  • Push down any white key on the piano (you could even have Mom or Dad do this)
  • Say the name of the note out loud

Left of two black keys = C

Left of three black keys = F

Note naming game: http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/keyboard


Keyboard layout video:


Pitch-Finding Exercise (Ear Training):

Play any note on an instrument and try to match its pitch on the keyboard.

If you’re totally lost:

  • Listen to see if the original note is higher or lower than what you’ve just played
  • Go up or down by a half-step accordingly until you find the correct pitch

If you want to practice on your own without any instrument or from recorded music:

  • Sing any note you can make with your voice
  • Find it on the piano using the guidelines above

Miscellaneous piano thoughts:

You cannot break your piano (unless you push it down the stairs)

The reason why I say “you can’t break your piano” is that some people are so timid in front of a piano that they don’t want to play it (usually because they’re afraid of sounding “bad”).

My hope is that you will not be afraid of your piano, but that you will play it the way that makes you feel happy and joyful.


Ben’s general goals for his students:

  • Help each student increase their own level of enjoyment of music
  • Help each student increase their own level of commitment for playing music
  • Help each student learn the simple skills of how to effectively learn music by oneself

Introduction to playing piano with two hands:

Practice this way:

  • Play any two notes with your left hand
  • Find the same two notes, one octave up, with your right hand
  • Play them in a rhythm, alternating for a minute or two
  • Then, change the two notes you’re playing with your right hand
  • Play the left hand and right hand alternating, for a minute or two
  • Play with as little tension in your hands as possible
  • Breathe in and out comfortably the entire time

Lesson rating: 10/10

What is the reason for the 10/10 rating?

  • Devin said he’s learned a lot in a very short period of time

For next lesson:

  • Practice 5-finger exercise from C to G, individually
  • Practice 5-finger exercise from C to G, using both hands
  • Find 3 combinations of notes, using two hands, that Devin enjoys playing
  • Spend 10 minutes per day just experimenting playing music on piano
  • Bring piano book to next lesson
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