Category Archives: Skill Building

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!

VIDEO: Learn to play a blues in record time!

Learning to play on the blues is a lot of fun and is a wonderful gateway into jazz improvisation. The Blues is a style of African American music that came into popularity in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some important figures are Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, John Lee Hooker as well as Buddy Guy and B. B. King. Singing and playing the blues is very expressive, as the style was created to express sad and frustrating feelings through music.

The blues shows up heavily in jazz and is widely known to have been the precursor to rock and roll and R&B. Understanding the blues not only gives you a snapshot into this important musical style, but it also provides a structure for deeply satisfying improvisations. In this quick tutorial you will learn:

  1. The 12 bar blues form
  2. How to play the chords
  3. How to walk a bass line
  4. How to improvise on a blues

Easy to understand and addictively fun to play – and you learned it in under 15 minutes!

Check out the video!  (Don’t forget to hit subscribe and leave a comment below)

 

Want to continue learning jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment and build authentic jazz skills in a fun and easy way!

Introducing…Piano Improvisation for Everyone!

Drumroll please….I am excited to announce the launch of my brand new online course called Piano Improvisation for Everyone!

Piano Improvisation for Everyone! is a course designed to get you improvising satisfying music at the piano. In this unique curriculum, you will learn a variety of techniques to get started improvising exciting music at the keyboard. Learn how to explore different harmonic material, melodic ideas, accompaniment techniques and started points for creating improvisation compositions. In addition, we cover how to improvise pop piano solos and jam on the blues!

This course is perfect from pianists of any level, from experienced beginner too advanced. Piano teachers will also get some great ideas and exercises to work on with their students. Discover the enjoyment of developing your technique, harmony and rhythm in a creative environment. Experiment with new sounds and ideas to apply to your songwriting or composing. The exercises are structured, but open ended enough that you could take the work in whatever direction you want to go.

Check out the course HERE!

Video: What is your why? Strategies for Success

It is easy to get bogged down with lists of things you have to do, but before that you need to identify your “why”. Why do you want to learn piano? Leave your comments below…

Want to know more about my work?  Check out my suite of unique online  piano courses  –     Piano and Voice With Brenda. Find out why hundreds of people worldwide are raving about this work!

Video: How to establish a practice routine

Here are tips and solutions to the “how the heck am I supposed to practice” problem. As a longtime teacher, I have 25+ years of helping people to achieve their musical goals and gain much-needed piano skills. Make sure to check out my mom-hack where I share how I get my son to practice every day! (Don’t forget to hit subscribe and leave a comment below.)

 

Enjoying this information?  Check out Piano and Voice With Brenda – my suite of unique online courses that will take your piano playing to the next level!

VIDEO Quickie #4: Piano Improvisation 101: Erik Satie

This is the fourth video in a new series called “Quickies” – short, info-packed tutorials designed to give you great information you can use TODAY. In this tutorial, I show you how to explore improvisation using a left hand pattern inspired by the Impressionist composer Erik Satie. This improvisation is so easy and creates a satisfying and meditative space for you to explore improvising at the piano.  (Don’t forget to hit subscribe and leave a comment!)

 Like this post?                     Check out          Piano Improvisation for Everyone! – a unique course that explores improvisation on the piano in many different forms.  Perfect for pianists of every level – from beginner to advanced.  It’s also jam packed full of tools that are perfect resources for piano teachers to try with their students.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Online Courses

I have had so many people asking me questions about my popular online classes, that I thought it was time to write a blog post answering some of these questions!  I hope this is helpful!

When do the courses start and finish?

They start immediately and never end!  You get lifetime 24/7 access to the course and you can take the lessons as many times as you like.  Many students even practice along with the video lessons!

Each course contains video lessons with closeups of the keyboard and meticulously notated print materials that you can download and print or read from your computer or tablet.

How long have you been doing what you do?  Why did you create these courses?

I have been studying piano for over 35 years, and have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in jazz piano.  I have performed as a pianist, singer, singer/pianist and conductor all over the world in the fields of jazz, music theater, classical and pop/rock.  I have taught every imaginable level from early childhood, through high school, to the college level and teaching professional development to established teachers.

After many years of teaching voice and piano, I decided I wanted to make my unique teaching methods available to a much broader audience.  I had witnessed so many incredible musical transformations that I thought I could help so many people make music at the piano and develop skills that would help them with their businesses.  I taught myself how to shoot and edit video (I had never done it before!) and created Level 1 in Spring of 2018.  A couple of years later and now I have hundreds of students worldwide.  It’s been a dream come true!

How are these courses different from conventional piano training?

Each one of these courses has evolved from my private teaching.  I have taught hundreds of students from every imaginable background, level and musical genre.  While I am classically trained, I borrow much of my pedagogy from my experience as a performer and trying material out one-to-one with students.  These courses are unique, because they are designed from a lifetime of teaching and exploring the most efficient ways to learn to play piano.

I borrow from jazz, classical, music theater, pop (I was a piano bar entertainer on cruise ships) and combine technical and theory work in the most playable way possible.  I have left out a lot of the busy work, and just give you the material that you need to be successful in way less time.   I have distilled the necessary skills into an easy-to-use, straight-to-the-point curriculum that will have you playing the piano in a hurry!

What if I am already a classically trained pianist?

The Jazz Piano Accompaniment and Piano Improvisation for Everyone! courses are perfect for you.  Both courses build on your classical background and help you to gain authentic skills that will deepen your playing.  If you are a piano teacher, they are also perfect courses to help you expand your offerings to your students!

What results can I expect?

The methods in these courses have evolved over 20+ years of private teaching and they have been “tested” on hundreds of students of differing experience levels.  The courses are designed to be easy-to-use and get you playing the piano quickly and comfortably.  You can expect the best results if you commit to daily practice and take your time going through the material.  Keep a positive attitude and watch the videos as many times as you need to!  Most people notice a huge change in their playing within a couple of weeks – you just have to practice!

What ages are best for these courses?

These courses are ideal for people aged 13 and up.  For younger people, I suggest private lessons, unless they are super self-motivated and have some musical background.

Do you have to be a singer to take Piano Skills for Singers Level 1 or Level 2?

Absolutely not!  These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano quickly and effectively.  Many of the course participants are singers, songwriters, voice teachers and choral conductors, but the courses also serve general music teachers, music therapists, instrumentalists and music enthusiasts.  The skills taught in this course can serve anyone who is interested in learning them!

How much should I practice?

Generally, you can work your way through this material pretty well with only 30 minutes a day, but you can make a lot of progress with even 15 minutes a day.  The key is to be deliberate and focused with your practice, and I even include practice guides with each course to help you structure your practicing!

Do I have to be able to read music?

For Piano Skills for Singers Level 1 you don’t have to at all, but for the other courses it is helpful to know how to read notes on a very basic level.  All of the courses have print materials included, but the videos show a close up of the piano so you’ll have no problem learning from watching the keyboard.           

What if I choose the wrong level?

The entire suite of courses has a 30-day no-questions-asked money back guarantee, so you can always return the course and get one better suited to you instead.  If you aren’t sure which course is for you, read this blog post.

What if I need help?

Each course gets you an invitation to a private Facebook group, where you can ask questions, get exclusive content and interact with other course participants.  You can also reach out to me personally (brenda@pianoandvoicewithbrenda.com) if you need specific help.

Intrigued?  Check out the courses page HERE.  Find out why hundreds of people worldwide are RAVING about these amazing online courses!

Frequently Asked Questions About Piano Skills for Singers

I have had so many people asking me questions about my popular online courses, that I thought it was time to write a blog post answering some of these questions.  I hope this is helpful!

When do the courses start and finish?

They start immediately and never end!  You get lifetime 24/7 access to the course and you can take the lessons as many times as you like.  Many students even practice along with the video lessons!

Each course contains video lessons with closeups of the keyboard and meticulously notated print materials that you can download and print or read from your computer or tablet.

How long have you been doing what you do?  Why did you create these courses?

I have been studying piano for 37+ years, and have a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in jazz piano.  I have performed as a pianist, singer, singer/pianist and conductor all over the world in the fields of jazz, music theater, classical and pop/rock.  I have taught every imaginable level from early childhood, through high school, to the college level and teaching professional development to established teachers.

After many years of teaching singers how to play the piano, I decided I wanted to make my unique teaching methods available to a much broader audience.  I had witnessed so many incredible musical transformations that I thought I could help so many people make music at the piano and develop skills that would help them with their businesses.  I taught myself how to shoot and edit video (I had never done it before!) and created Level 1 in Spring of 2018.  A couple of years later and now I have hundreds of students worldwide.  It’s been a dream come true!

How are these courses different from conventional piano training?

Conventional piano training is meant to train pianists to play challenging piano music, which takes a lot of years.  This course is all about giving singers, voice teachers and choral conductors the skills they need to be successful in their work.  I have distilled the necessary skills into an easy-to-use, straight-to-the-point curriculum that will have you playing the piano in a hurry!

What results can I expect?

The methods in these courses have evolved over 20+ years of private teaching and they have been “tested” on hundreds of students of differing experience levels.  The courses are designed to be easy-to-use and get you playing the piano quickly and comfortably.  You can expect the best results if you commit to daily practice and take your time going through the material.  Keep a positive attitude and watch the videos as many times as you need to!  Most people notice a huge change in their playing within a couple of weeks – you just have to practice!

What ages are best for this course?

This course is ideal for people aged 13 and up.  For younger people, I suggest private lessons, unless they are super self-motivated and have some musical background.

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

Absolutely not!  These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to play the piano quickly and effectively.  Many of the course participants are singers, songwriters, voice teachers and choral conductors, but the courses also serve general music teachers, music therapists, instrumentalists and music enthusiasts.  The skills taught in this course can serve anyone who is interested in learning them!

How much should I practice?

Generally, you can work your way through this material pretty well with only 30 minutes a day, but you can make a lot of progress with even 15 minutes a day.  The key is to be deliberate and focused with your practice, and I even include practice guides with each course to help you structure your practicing!

Do I have to be able to read music?

For Level 1 you don’t have to at all, but for the other courses it is helpful to know how to read notes on a very basic level.  All of the courses have print materials included, but the videos show a close up of the piano so you’ll have no problem learning from watching the keyboard.           

What if I choose the wrong level?

The entire suite of courses has a 30-day no-questions-asked money back guarantee, so you can always return the course and get one better suited to you instead.  If you aren’t sure which course is for you, read this blog post.

What if I need help?

Each course gets you an invitation to a private Facebook group, where you can ask questions, get exclusive content and interact with other course participants.  You can also reach out to me personally (brenda@pianoandvoicewithbrenda.com) if you need specific help.

Intrigued?  Check out the courses page HERE.  Find out why hundreds of people worldwide are RAVING about these courses!