I am very happy to be able to report that I have completely rebuilt the ‘shop‘ side of the site as well as the integrated new payment processing systems into place and also upgraded the video delivery of the course for the Piano Magic Touch. By so doing, this will allow the video to be watched as many times as you want from the download page after purchase, without relying on having to store the video on your device.
We have made certain that we have a Video Hosting Provider that is capable of managing the load to ensure troubke free viewing for you as well.
I am very pleased to be able to refocus my energies on this course on the Piano Method, as part of my respect and admiration for the late Lionel Bowman and Wallace Tate.
Thank you again for considering the fine work of Lionel Bowman and Wallace Tate.
The piano is a beautiful instrument. Its players often come across as mysterious; these people who have spent hundreds of hours practicing scales and repeating phrases over and over again to reach sheer aural perfection. To an audience member it can have a similar effect to watching a magic trick or a ballet: it is so skilled and beautiful it almost seems impossible, a feat of the Gods.
But what is going on underneath all of this hard work and magic? It certainly isn’t luck that such an effect can be made.
The little bolts of electricity running through their neurons as they play are not connected the same way as concert goers’. Piano players brains even work differently than the way musicians’ are wired . And this is all because of the instrument they are playing. The piano makes them and their brains unique.
So, read on, and don’t say I didn’t warn you (especially if you have a big-headed pianist in the family!)…that pianists’ brains are different than everyone else’s. Here’s how:
Piano players are more balanced
This stands to reason. Pianists are born (like all of us) with one side of the brain being favored more than the other. This is not unusual; everyone has a natural preference for which hand we prefer holding our pen in or eating our cereal with (from a young age). The difference here is that pianists begin practicing using both parts of the brain when mastering the use of each hand whilst playing.
If one hand were to be weaker than the other, playing the piano would not work. Without skill in both it can end up sounding clunky and unbalanced, at best. This necessity to practice and to master both hands means that the brain effectively evens itself out . With practice, despite each player having a naturally stronger hand when they begin, by the time they have become an expert, the weaker hand is strengthened to the same degree as the stronger one.
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Piano players are more logical multitaskers
A piano player also more easily creates a link between their frontal lobes. But what does this mean?
Basically, this handy part of the brain contains control of emotional responses, social behaviors and even impulses, so it’s handy if you have easier access to it than most.
This also means that pianists are likely to have stronger problem solving and multi-tasking skills and be able to tap into their creativity with greater ease, too.
Piano players are more free to express their authentic selves
One study by Dr. Ana Pinho found that when playing, the well practiced players would turn off the part of the brain that offers stereotypical brain responses. This allows them to play the true expression of who they are and what they want to ‘say’ with their music, rather than some copycat phrasing. (This could be a very useful skill if transferred to life and everyday situations, where the advice of ‘just be yourself’ might work with these dexterously fingered individuals.)
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Piano players are able to use their brain’s energy more effectively
Less energy is used in the motor skills section of the brain. It seems once you have mastered your craft, your brain simply needs less blood and oxygen sent to this section, thus freeing up energy for other parts of playing, like phrasing and emotional connection to the song.
Piano players are well practised at conversing (though not in a language we are used to using everyday)
In the study by Dr. Charles Limb, when pianists improvise, it was found that the parts of the brain containing the language center lit up unexpectedly. Despite being a motor skill, when riffing in a call and response style, players are actually talking to each other!
So, that’s it! Basically, pianists are awesome! And I would encourage anyone to try out just five minutes a day of playing if you ever have a piano or keyboard near you. Who knows, you might become the next Rachmaninov, or even Chopin. Or you might simply remember where you put your car keys.
The sheer variety of musical experiences enjoyed by RSMC audiences was no better illustrated than in this terrific programme of Spanish music for piano and castanets (in their own arrangements) presented by Deanna Blacher OAM and Neville Cohn. It was a rare chance to hear a virtuoso on the castanets, those small shell-like percussion instruments which are attached by a cord to each hand, and in Deanna Perth is forunate in having in our midst probably the only such exponent in Australia, and one with an international reputation. Her partner Neville provided the ‘chords and keys’ at the piano, and again this was a rare treat – although best known these days as music critic for The West Australian, we were reminded that Neville had a long career as official accompanist for the South African Broadcasting Corporation before coming to Perth.
In a series of mid-eighteenth century sonatas by Padre Antonio Soler, a successor to Domenico Scarlatti, as well as by lesser known contemporaries Freixanet, Cantallos and Casanovas, Neville played with exemplary clarity and elegance, while Deanna complemented exactly the courtly style with expertly integrated rhythmic clicks and occasional flourishes on various pairs of wooden castanets. More modern synthetic pairs were then used for a selection of four of the Danzas Españolas (Spanish Dances) by Granados – whose unfortunate demise by drowning in 1915 was solemnly recounted by Neville. The best known of these pieces is Andaluza, and the concert ended with another quite extended work of the same name by Manuel de Falla. While composed over a century later than the sonatas in the earlier part of the programme, a clear stylistic lineage from them to Granados and de Falla could nevertheless be detected.
Deanna used nine different pairs of castanets during the concert. Somewhat like the didjeridu one wonders how an extended use of such instruments can avoid a sense of monotony, and it is only in the hands of such a virtuoso as this that the available range of subtle variations can be observed. Full marks to Deanna and Neville for what was such an instructive and enjoyable evening.
It is not uncommon for professional, or serious, regular pianists to experience various hand injuries over the course of their piano playing days. This is particularly problematic for people who may have small hands, and who play complex works, such as the Rachmaninov Concerto Number 3, and so on. However, this problem is certainly not confined to only classical pianists, or even professionals. These various injuries can affect just about any pianist, casual or professional, from time to time.
The most typical injuries include tendonitis, and wrist strain, mostly as a result of either not having sufficient strength built up in their fingers and hands, as well as other playing issues such as correct position at the piano. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a common list of problems, as I have mentioned earlier.
For some piano players, the thought may even have crossed their mind to give up playing, due to the repetitive injuries. Whilst this is an extreme option, there are other ways to reduce the injuries, and actually end up by playing better. One method that has been proven by many students after being adopted is the Bowman method.
Professor Lionel Bowman was a distinguished piano player, at the peak of his career around his late thirties, who had developed very great problems with tendonitis. After having to actually stop playing for a number of months, while his hand healed, he took the time to actually study the anatomy of the hand and arm, and created his own method of playing the piano. His style has enabled him to become a better teacher, and his crowning achievement through this process was that he not only was able to resume his playing, but succeeded in helping others play better, with less incidence of injury as well.
The Bowman method encompasses the strengthening of the fingers, as well as an overall approach to muscle coordination. Far too many people start to play the piano a certain way, and find that, over the years, their discomfort increases, due to the method of playing that creates tension and stress in the joints as well as fingers.
One aspect of the method is about sitting in the right place, with reference to the notes being played. As an example, the hips need to be loose, in that for certain parts of the score, the pianist will need to sit right, or site left, and even sit back, to allow the wrists to become lower then the keys. By moving the hips, so the pianist’s body is in front of, and at right angles to the keyboard, will minimise the stress on the wrists as well as muscles of the wrist, and tendons.
It can often aid the pianist to make specific notes on the music score, like sitting right, or sitting left, as this will aid the pianist to achieve an optimum posture and comfort. This comfort will translate into relaxation, and thus, a better overall sound as well as reduced injuries.
This technique needs to be practiced, and actually, it can be beneficial to start learning a new piece, rather than trying to relearn an already known piece of music. The best proof is in the action, and seeing for yourself.
I think to best answer this question, you need to ask yourself what you wish to achieve?
If you are looking at concert pianist status, I think I can comfortably suggest a traditional teacher and music school is the way to go.
On the other hand, if you are just interested in playing for pleasurem, then you could go either the traditional way, or the modern, online style of course.
The main benefit in online courses is that you can study when it suits you, even if it is two in the morning. I don’t know of too many teachers that are happy to accept pupils at two am.
However, even though some online courses are very good, it is difficult without the absolute guidance of a professional.
However, \the Rocket Piano course is probably the next best thing, if you can’t afford a teacher or have access to one for that matter. The courses are delivered online by download, so you can review the material in your own time, and that is very flexible.
Now the case with Rocket piano is that the team who have developed it are all at Grade 8 level, so they’ve been around for a while.They have knowledge in all genera’s of piano . The system comprises of three book sof information as well as electronic tutorials.
The lessons have also been created to cater for all levels of player, regardless of weather you have just begun, or are at a much more advanced level.
To Learn More about this course, please head over to Rocket Piano.