Category Archives: Piano Lessons

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!)

 

 

How to Walk a Bass Line

Calling all jazzers (or aspiring jazzers)!  This awesome video is going to teach you how to walk a bass line on any jazz standard.  It is super easy and straight ahead and I will take you step-by-step into how to walk and authentic jazz bass line.

**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.

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!

**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.

Vocal Jazz Introductions

Every singer and instrumentalist should have an arsenal of great introductions at the ready. In this video, I will show you how to play 9 of the best introductions, which are perfect for instrumental or vocal jazz!

**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.

Downbeats and Upbeats Workout

Every singer and instrumentalist should have an arsenal of great introductions at the ready. In this video, I will show you how to play 9 of the best introductions, which are perfect for instrumental or vocal jazz!

**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.

3 Cool Bossa Nova Vamps

This video is designed to teach you how to play 3 cool vamps that sound great on Bossa Novas. Taught by performer/educator Brenda Earle Stokes, the video shows chord progressions, gorgeous piano voicings and even the scales that you need to sound great improvising on the vamps. You will also get a great close up look at the piano keyboard.

Free Download:  Three Cool Vamps for Bossa Novas

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

ADD THIS LINK: https://youtu.be/Ln6mVr7S8mg

 

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

Getting Started: How to use the Teachable Platform

Welcome to the courses!  Here is a quick-and-dirty tutorial on how to utilize the Teachable Platform.  Teachable is such a user-friendly and intuitive platform, which is why I chose it as the home of my entire suite on online courses!  Check out this short tutorial to get oriented!

Want to check out the courses? 

CLICK THIS LINK to see the entire suite of online courses and get started learning piano TODAY!

Which Piano and Voice with Brenda online course is right for me?

Now that there are FOUR courses live at Piano And Voice With Brenda, I have been getting a lot of questions about which course to choose.  This quick little list should help you get started choosing the perfect course to help you get secure at the keyboard.  If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at brenda(at) pianoandvoicewithbrenda (dot) com. I’m here to help!

Piano Skills for Singers Level 1 is for you if:

  • You have never played piano before
  • You haven’t taken piano lessons in a long time
  • You want a simple starting point
  • You want to get back into a practice routine and regain some technical fluidity

Piano Skills for Level 2 is for you if:

  • You have completed Level 1
  • You have piano experience, but there are a lot of gaps in your ability
  • You need to learn how to play chords
  • You need to learn how to create your own accompaniments
  • You need to learn how to play voice exercises in 12 keys easily

Do you have to be a singer to take Piano Skills for Singers?

Absolutely not!  Although these courses are geared towards singers, anyone would benefit from these well organized and easy-to-use courses.

Jazz Piano Accompaniment is for you if:

  • You have taken Level 2
  • You are a classically trained pianist and want to learn jazz
  • You want to learn how to play from a fake book
  • You can play chords and you want to play authentic jazz accompaniment

*If you can’t play chords fluidly, you can purchase the “Learn to Play Chords Symbols” course at a deep discount.

Piano Improvisation for Everyone! is for you if:

  • You are a classically trained pianist who wants to learn how to improvise
  • You are looking for a fresh new way to explore your creativity at the keyboard
  • You are a piano teacher looking for a new bag of tricks to share with your students
  • You want to develop your technical fluidity on the piano in a more creative way
  • You are a jazz player who wants to develop a deeper connection to improvisation
  • You are a circle singer or vocal improviser who is looking for a deeper toolkit
  • You are a songwriter or a composer looking for more inspiration

Private lessons are best for you if:

  • You are having technical difficulties, like tension, discomfort when you are playing, etc.
  • You have a specific set of concerns that are not covered by the courses
  • You prefer one-on-one instruction
  • You want to kick start your online course experience
  • You want to work on your singing (I teach that too!)
  • You have completed one or more of the courses and are keen to find the next step
  • You want to take occasional or regular lessons via Skype, FaceTime or Zoom

If you need help deciding which Piano Skills for Singers Course is right for you, please email me at brenda@pianoandvoicewithbrenda.com and I’ll help you!

VIDEO: 7 Reasons you should improvise at the piano

Improvisation is not just for jazz musicians! Improvisation is an incredible tool to build and expand your skills at the piano, while exploring your own creative voice.

 

Want to learn to improvise?  Check out my new online course Piano Improvisation for Everyone!