First tip to bettering your piano playing is to actually record the playing. Most piano beginners are too obsessed with the technicalities and worrying about the next note, and not really listening to how the piano playing actually sounds! Many beginners are shocked by how different their actual playing sounds when played through a recorded video or audio file than what they think they are doing when they are playing the piano. By recording and then listening to your own playing, you will be able to quickly and drastically improve your ability to play the piano better.
Second of all, practise your piano playing dynamically. By modulating between soft and loud playing at the right places as drastically as you can, you will automatically sound more professional. Most beginners underestimate the amount of strength variation in hitting the keys to make the keys sound loud or soft. You practise this by playing the loud keys as loudly as you can while having the piano on ‘silent’ mode, while practising the soft keys on normal. Then, you combine the playing together on normal mode and you will make your piano playing sound much more dramatic.
Third of all, play the piano like you are giving a massage. Do not bang the keys, as you will be hearing a lot of clicking sounds of your fingers hitting the piano keys.
Fourth of all, always keep your forearms warm. The reason for this is because your finger muscles are tightly connected to your forearm muscles. When your forearm muscles are feeling cold, your muscles move slower, and in a more restricted fashion. Therefore, you will not be able to play the piano as well as you should. By keeping yourself warm, you will be able to play the piano more expressively.
Finally, as a beginner, you want to keep your head pointed straight ahead, and simply use your eyes movement to look at both the piano scores as well as the notes. Although professional pianists overexaggerate their head movements at time, you should not copy them. Professional, commercial pianists are already unconsciously competent at what they do. Until you reach that stage, keep to the fundamentals.
If you want to get a distinction for your piano exams in Singapore, then it is important to know these 5 hidden tricks to acing your ABRSM piano examinations.
First of all, it is better to completely ignore a wrongly pressed note during your piano ABRSM examinations than to try to correct it, repeat it, or even acknowledge it in any way whatsoever. Pianists at professional concerts also hit wrong notes once in a long while, but they simply ignore it and proceed on as though nothing went wrong. Sometimes, if you are so confident even though you make a mistake, the ABRSM piano examiner will give you bonus points just because of your confidence.
Second of all, do not try to judge whether an ABRSM piano examiner thinks you are playing well or not playing well. Some teachers may ask you to see if the examiner is always in a good mood and smiling or in a foul mood to know if you are doing what they want to hear. However, this is not true. There are many cases where a piano examiner appears to be in a good mood but give the student low marks, and vice versa. Do not even bother trying to decipher the examiner’s emotions or thoughts and simply focus on yourself.
Third of all, you should ideally start from something you are very confident about. There are several segments to the examination, and because most people are most familiar with the ABRSM exam piano pieces, it is highly recommended to start off with that. This is so that it gets your confidence levels higher, and it also gives the examiner a better first impression of you.
Fourth of all, it is absolutely crucial that you do not take what the examiner says at face value all the time. For example, the examiner may give you a compliment or give you a nasty face. If you react to this, you probably will get nervous and screw up the remaining of your piano examination. It does not matter what he or she thinks, and you should certainly not let that affect you in any way whatsoever.
Finally, it is important to know how to engage a good piano teacher in Singapore. The best way to find a good piano teacher in Singapore is to go through an agency. The second best way is to get a recommendation from a friend or friend’s child who has scored high marks in piano examinations. Most independent teachers on forums will boast. But you need to think about this – which teacher would have incentive to tell the truth? None. A lousy teacher will promote himself or herself on Singapore online forums because he or she has no one else to promote. But for agencies, they work with many different teachers, and they make money regardless of whichever teacher they recommend to you. They make the most money if they always only recommend good teachers. They have no incentive to promote a lousy teacher as it will affect their reputation.
First of all, sight reading the piano is one of the toughest mental workouts you can have. This is because your eyes must follow the music while the hands play it nearly instantaneously. The ability to sight read is akin to knowing a foreign language. Great and fast hand eye coordination is necessary as well as a result.
Second of all, playing the piano means that your hands are able to develop independent coordination. This is because both hands are doing different things at the same time. By learning separate hand coordination, you activate different areas of the brain all at once. Most in Singapore are very good only at either creativity related work or numbers related work. However, good piano players will grow up to be adults who are equally capable at both types of work. This means that you or your child will stand a higher chance at succeeding in life if you are better at both as a result of having learnt to play the piano!
Third of all, to play the piano effectively, you will need to know both theory as well as practical. As a result of learning the piano, you will definitely stimulate your brain in ways that no STEM related subjects in school would have taught you. Learning art and craft will also not stimulate your brain as much as playing the piano. This is simply because learning to play the piano requires a combination of both the arts as well as logic. Piano playing is a great brain exercise, and is definitely much more fun than doing Sudoku. You can also listen to great songs while playing the piano! You will also be seen as more cool at parties simply because you can play the piano while others can’t!
If you are a student or a parent looking to find a piano teacher for your child, how can you go about doing this? Here are some of the proven and tested tips by parents in Singapore in helping their kids find a good piano teacher who is patient and qualified.
First of all, one of the simplest methods is to go through an agency. In fact, this is the most common option if you are looking for a private home piano teacher. Local agencies such as SGLEARNPIANO.COM help you get matched up to private home piano teachers for free – because they only charge teachers for the fee. From a customer’s end, you don’t pay one cent more than if you had to look for the teachers yourself. This is the biggest benefit that an agency can provide you with.
Second of all, you can simply check out the local, nearest Cristofori or Yamaha schools at the local shopping malls. Many of these music schools in Singapore are set up within heartland and popular shopping malls, making it very convenient to send your kids to these locations to learn to play the piano. Both Cristofori and Yamaha music schools are great for learning the piano, and are great options if you are looking at music school teachers instead of a private home piano teacher for your child.
Third of all, if you already know somebody who knows a great piano teacher, then simply ask for a recommendation! If the teacher was truly popular, the friend will definitely be more than glad to provide you with the recommendation.
Becoming a private piano teacher and living a self empl0yed lifestyle is definitely a very good way to live in Singapore. Even if you don’t intend to make it a full time gig, you may want some good supplementary income. This is especially important in Singapore where real estate prices are through the roof! Even a small HDB flat costs a bomb, therefore, you will want to put your skills to full use.
First of all, I am assuming that you have at least a Grade 8 ABRSM or Diploma equivalent qualifications. If that is the case, then how much you make per lesson varies greatly on the type of students you take in. Price you can charge differ not based on age or student’s family’s income, but is dependent on which grade you are being hired to teach. The higher the grade you are teaching, the more expensive it is. Here is a list which shows the estimated monthly range (for 4 lessons) you can be expecting to charge and still get loads of students in Singapore (lessons Grade 4 and below are 45 minutes long while those above are 1 hour):
Grade 1 – $140 to $170
Grade 2 – $150 to $180
Grade 3 – $160 to $190
Grade 4 – $170 to $200
Grade 5 – $190 to $240
Grade 6 – $210 to $260
Grade 7 – $250 to $280
Grade 8 – $250 to $320
Diploma – $300 to $400
Second of all, the prices you can charge is also partly dependent on the student’s location and accessibility. If your student lives in Changi or Woodlands, he/she will probably get charged more because it’s much harder and less convenient to travel to their location. However, this is also partly the reason why private home piano teachers in Singapore tend to teach students near where they live while students also tend to pick teachers who live near them so that they get charged slightly less.
Third of all, it really depends whether you want to take this gig as a private home piano teacher seriously. If you get 1 student per day of the week, this is an estimated $1400 (7 * $200) you will earn per month. This is likely able to be the case for a part time piano teacher. However, if you want to dedicate your life to teaching piano lessons, then you can teach up to perhaps 3 to 5 students per day (while only working total of 3 to 5 hours daily) and make an estimated $5600 a month, which is a respectable amount in Singapore. The easiest way to get to this level is to both search for students yourself as well as partner with an existing piano agency (e.g. www.linkedin.com/company/sglearnpiano), which can help you source for additional music students, and thus eventually turn your part time gig into a full time business. There is nothing more rewarding than absolute working freedom on your terms – being self employed as a private home piano teacher in Singapore allows you to do just that!
Regardless of the type of pop song you want to play, here are some tips and tricks that every piano beginner should know to help master playing of pop songs as quickly as possible.
If you are a Singaporean/Asian (females in particular), you would probably have smaller hands than men or Caucasians. Therefore, what you will find is that playing certain arpeggios or octaves would be pretty difficult on the piano. However, most piano teachers will teach you to play with your fingers curved. Although that is perfectly right, and that’s the ideal, it will be too difficult for you to keep your fingers curved and still hit the right notes properly if your hands are too small. Therefore, it is ok if you flatten your fingers a little while playing such far away notes on the piano if you cannot reach it.
A great tip for you is to first get the gist of the whole song down first. I know many beginners who start playing the piano are perfectionists (especially for music students in perfectionist Singapore), and want to practice a little by little and make sure that every single piano key is pressed as perfectly as it can possibly be pressed and never missing 1 note ever. However, if you do this, you will be frustrated by the lack of progress, as you will take forever to master the song. A far better way, although it may be contradictory to piano beginners’ beliefs, is that you should first play through the entire song first. It clearly does not need to be perfect, but you should get the gist of the piano song’s overall mood and tune. Do this several times even though you may miss a note or hit the wrong key from time to time. Once you have practised this way at least 10 times on the piano, then you can start tackling your favourite pop song bits by pieces.
There will always be a difficult version and an easy version of a pop song online. ALWAYS look for the easy version first. You wouldn’t jump from elementary 1 to university. Likewise, you want to start from the easy piano version of your favourite pop song first. Additionally, mastering the easy version gives you confidence, and you will be able to progress. With progress, comes even more confidence, and you will be tempted to keep playing and mastering all of your favourite pop songs on the piano! If you start off with the super hard ones, you are going to have a very bad time in the future, and you will be demotivated easily.
Of course, all the tips in the world wouldn’t help you as much as a good piano teacher in Singapore can help you. But for now, make sure to watch the following video and learn some more tips on playing pop songs on the piano within minutes!