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Popular Piano Lessons: Introduction - Curriculum Requirements

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So let's take a few moments to talk about
what you will need to get
the most out of these lessons.
First, you will need some
sort of keyboard or piano.
Any sort of keyboard will be just fine.
Any sort of piano will be fine.
It can be an upright, it can be a grand,
it can be a digital piano,
an electronic keyboard.
Generally speaking,
the more keys you have the better.
If you have a 66-key keyboard,
that'll be okay.
You may not be able to play all
the pieces to their full extension, but
you'll still be able to learn quite a lot.
If you can get a full 88-key keyboard,
then obviously, you'll be able to play
the full range of music that we
present in this lesson series.
But again, we will work with
whatever instrument that you have.
If you are interested in lessons and
haven't yet bought a piano, I just want to
quickly go through the types of pianos and
keyboards that are out there.
Number one,
of course are the acoustic instruments.
They range from small spinets to
upright pianos to as large as a full
grand piano like you
see in the studio here.
Those options are always great,
if you can get one.
If you have space in your apartment or
home, an acoustic piano is wonderful.
Electronic keyboards have come a long way.
They are a great and
affordable option, as well.
So for electronic keyboards, again,
whenever possible, try to get
a full set of 88 keys if you can.
If you don't, don't worry about it.
Get what you can afford.
The other thing that I keep
in mind with electronic
keyboards is to make sure that you have
at least one pedal to work with it.
So the pedals are gonna become very
important in several of the songs that we
work with.
Now at the very least,
you wanna have one pedal and
the pedal will basically be
controlling the sustained sound and
that's usually connected to the damper
pedal port on an electronic keyboard.
If you have the option of
adding more pedals, great.
Go ahead and do so.
But really at the very minimum,
you need at least one pedal.
Now there are two types of
electronic damper pedal controls.
One will be a momentary switch,
which is simply an on off controller.
The other one will feature
continuous pedal controls.
Now not many dealers may know what this
actually is, so you may have to ask
around until you can find a dealer that
understands what you're talking about.
Basically, the pedal options for
digital keyboards are either
just a straight on or off?
Or a pedal that gives you full
control over all the midi range and
midi is a fancy word for
being able to control electronic
music in a computer language.
But if you can ask them,
if there's any way they can see?
I mean, most of the packaging should
be able to tell you whether there is
continuous pedal control in that model.
If you can get it, great.
If not, it's not the end of the world.
We'll work just fine
with momentary pedals.
An interesting option,
if you can afford it is a hybrid option.
A hybrid option is the combination of
an acoustic piano with electronic options.
There are really two types.
One would be a full acoustic piano
with the option to turn a switch, so
that a bar comes over it and
the hammers no longer hit the strings.
But instead, it activates a digital
keyboard embedded inside the physical one,
so that you can have the option of
outputting an electronic signal.
So, it sounds like a digital
keyboard with headphones.
Why is this interesting?
Well, if you are in
an apartment complex or
in a neighborhood with neighbors
that are very sensitive to sound,
this is a great instrument to have,
so that you can practice at any hour.
Shut off the physical piano, plug in some
headphones to listen to the electronic
version and practice at any time and any
hour and have the benefits of both worlds.
Both a digital keyboard and
the full rich sound of an acoustic.
So again, something to consider
an acoustic digital hybrid.
Now there's some other kind of gear for
your tech heads,
if you wanna get the ultimate sounding
electronic keyboard that sounds
as close to a real piano, you may want
to consider working with electronic
keyboards as a controller using
virtual piano emulation software.
I've got a little secret
I'm gonna share with you.
We have an acoustic piano
here in the studio, but
the sound is actually
a digital piano sound.
We've partnered with this amazing
French company called Modartt and
they have perhaps,
the leading virtual piano simulation
software on the market called Pianoteq.
It's spelled P-I-A-N-O-T-E-Q, Pianoteq.
And that's the actual sound that you're
hearing through all the lessons.
That makes sure that,
well, the piano sounds quite amazing and
I have just about all the same.
Kind of physical controls that I would for
a regular physical acoustic piano,
but simply output as a virtual sound.
It's quite remarkable,
worth looking into and
special thanks to the piano tech
people for cooperating with us and
letting us use their software
to produce these lessons.
Probably the most advanced hybrid
piano out there on the market is
a model made by Yamaha
called the AvantGrand.
This is the most beautiful instrument that
I think I've ever played, it's remarkable.
It's a digital piano, but the software
is similar to what Pianoteq does,
but it's kind of an all-in-one instrument.
Its shape like kind of a miniaturized
grand piano, the sound is magnificent.
It is purely digital, but
it uses mechanical actions and
gives you the full sensitivity
of an acoustic, but
in a purely digital instrument that
sounds just like an acoustic instrument.
I don't know how else to describe it,
except if you can afford it, that's
a pretty incredible instrument to work on.
So basically, you just need a piano and
some other optional equipment you may want
to consider maybe a tablet like an iPad.
You might wanna consider
getting a PDF reading app.
So for me,
I actually read all my music digitally.
I don't use physical books anymore and
all the music that we'll be studying will
be available as digital downloads, most of
them as PDF files that you'll be able to
download directly into your computer.
Now if you happen to have a tablet,
you can read it right off your tablet,
right on your keyboard,
music rack or piano music rack.
It makes it very convenient to have
your whole library right there.
Now since you're gonna be reading music
one page or sometimes just a few measures
at a time, the last thing you wanna be
doing is wasting a lot of time using your
finger to touch the screen to flip
kind of swipe forwards or backwards.
So you might wanna consider
something like this.
This is something called an AirTurn.
This is a wireless pedal and
you may actually catch some shots
of me using it in the studio.
Basically, as I'm playing the piano with
my hands, I use my foot to tap on this
pedal to turn pages forwards or
backwards hands free and wirelessly too.
So it's silent and
it's my hands free page turning
controller that makes teaching,
learning and
performing a lot more fun,
less distraction.
So, I can really just focus on the music
and operate my music hands free.
And again, the final thing you'll
obviously need to get the full benefit of
this website is a computer for
watching the videos,
I'm assuming you're using a computer now.
And ideally,
if you have a computer or a tablet or
a smartphone that has
the capability of shooting video.
We'll want you to take advantage of that,
so that you can send me videos of
your playing that I can watch and
help you make progress on.
So you want some sort of a capability
of being able to record your videos.
And if you go to the artistworks website,
there's some very simple instructions for
uploading those videos
to the lessons sites and
there's some option out
there in the market.
If you happen to be using a tablet or a
smartphone and you want a more convenient
way of mounting it, so that it's
easier to take videos at a good angle,
you go into the AirTurn website,
There's a really neat universal mount for
tablets and
smartphones called the Manos Mount.
Manos is the Spanish word for hands and
it's designed like the human hand.
A Manos Mount will fit on to any
standard microphone stand and
as I said, it's a universal mount.
So that you can hold almost any
size tablet and even smartphones,
as small as about 2.5 inches in diameter,
I believe and its width over here and
tablets up to 8.5 inches wide.
So you can even have a tablet
inside a protective cover or
such like an OtterBox or Griffin Survivor.
Just keep it in there,
stick that thing on a Manos Mount.
You could angle it at any angle and
it makes shooting videos using
those devices a lot easier.
If you have a computer with a webcam,
that's just fine too.
There are mounting options for
that also on the AirTurn website.
So be sure to check out for
some really neat accessories.
If you chose to do what I'm doing and
read and
work with your music in a digital fashion.