Category Archives: Piano Lessons

New Classical Singer Magazine Blog Post!!

I’m super excited that Classical Singer Magazine asked me to write another guest blog post!  Here, you can get into the specific building blogs I use to teach singers how to play piano.  (Yes, I cover all of this in my wildly popular online courses Piano Skills for Singers!)

In my last article, I discussed my extensive experience teaching singers to play piano and how traditional methods have not proved effective at preparing them for professional work. I have created my own method teaching functional piano to singers, which firsts asks the question “What Piano Skills Do Singers Need?”   continue reading…

Which Online Course is Right for Me?

Have you been wanting to improve your piano skills?  Have you been curious about the online offerings at Piano and Voice with Brenda?  This short video talks you through all of the course options and shares which course might be the best fit for you!  Whether you are looking to learn jazz, improvisation or you are a singer who wants to build your keyboard skills, there is a perfect course for YOU!  Check out this video to find out!

Motivation Monday – What’s the Best Way to Practice?

#motivationmonday Everyone always wants to know “What’s the best way to practice?”  In this video I share my format for successful practicing tips, which I learned from a masterclass years ago with Canadian jazz piano legend Oliver Jones.

Sight Read Better…FAST!

Sight reading is a thorn in everyone’s side and something that nearly every student I have come across has needed more help with.  In this video I tackle the #1 problem that keeps people from being able to sight read effectively.  Hint:  it’s all about intervals.

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Improvise Your Way to 2 Handed Independence

Do your left and right hand have a hard time playing together?  Maybe you try to play a bass line in the left hand while your right hand plays chords and they just. won’t. work. together.  In this video, I show you an easy and fun way to explore coordination between the hands.  The exercise is fully customizable for your interested and needs.  PLUS it contains super bonus material on how to strengthen your left hand and I share my favorite classical books to help develop your two hand independence.

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3 Steps to Perfect Piano Posture…with a MIC!

A follow up to my last video “Three Steps to Perfect Piano Posture”, this one shows you how to have perfect posture while you are singing into a microphone.  Your back thanks you in advance!

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Pandemic Practice: 3 Tips to Inspire You

 

  1.  Treat daily music practice as self-care:  With all the stress and uncertainty of pandemic life, we all need to be practicing more self care.  Yes, this includes drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, but why not treat your daily practice as a form of self care too?  Spending time every day singing, playing piano and just making music is a great way to invite structure and creativity into you day and will help to feed your mind, body and soul.

Good lighting is EVERYTHING.

Make sure your practice space is cozy and inviting.  Nice lighting adds a comfortable feel (get a decent lamp with a soft white lightbulb!), get a good quality chair or stool and fill your space with candles and inspirational quotes.  While you’re at it, make sure you give yourself some private and distraction free time.  Log out of your social media accounts, turn off your phone and hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.  (Time to let your kids have some screen time!). This is YOUR TIME to center yourself into creativity, even if it’s only for a short time.

 3.  Get organized:  How many of us have desks and studios that are in rough shape?  Messes, piles of paper and a lack of proper materials will derail your practicing.  Take an hour or two and get your space in shape!  Put all of your music in a folder or binder, putting the most recent material up front.  Make sure you have your recording device, speakers, metronome, notebook and several pencils and pens handy so that when you sit down to work, you have everything you need.

Everything I need to be productive.

  • Put all of your music in a folder or binder so it’s all in one place when you need it.
  • Make sure you have your recording device, speakers/headphones, metronome, notebook and pencils handy so that when you sit down you’re ready to go!
  • Declutter anything from your practice space that you don’t need – household items like bills and paperwork and anything else that will distract you from practicing (Whose socks are these???)
  • Get rid of anything that is visually busy or otherwise distracting to your creative flow.  If there are small repairs that you need to make, or loose ends that need to be tied, take a couple of hours and just DO IT (We both know that your metronome has needed batteries for a while, so…)

3.  Create projects and goals to work toward.  It can be really hard to practice efficiently when we no longer have rehearsals, auditions and performances to be working towards.  Now is a great time to find creative solutions to those external goals.  Create new goals to help you stay on track and get motivated.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Do a deep dive of the work of a favorite singer or composer.  This is a great time to choose repertoire that differs from your usual work or “type”
  • Film yourself practicing once a week on social media to let your friends and fans know what you’re up to
  • Host a Zoom concert for your family or friends
  • Get together (over Zoom) with fellow musicians to share your work and do a feedback circle
  • Take an online course to help you build new skills
  • Create playlists of your “desert island” songs and learn them one by one (This is what I’m doing as part of my #RandomSongsILike project!)

 

 

There’s More Than One Way to Split the Octave

If you are working on scales, chords, technical drills or chord progressions, you should be practicing them in 12 keys! This video will give you some great ideas on how to practice in different ways, to achieve mastery quicker and without relying only on muscle memory!

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Want to learn jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment, which teaches you everything I list in this blog post.

Downbeats and Upbeats Workout

Struggling with your rhythm?  In this workout video, I show you a super easy way to build your comprehension and ability with rhythm.  Clap along with Brenda and tap along with the “foot cam”.

**Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and leave a Like!**

 

Want to learn jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment, which teaches you everything I list in this blog post.