Monday, January 23, 2017

Technique Tip 5 - Metronome

Paula Maya Music Lessons: Free Tips

Metronome. Yes, the good old metronome. How important is it to practice with the metronome? Or, even a better question is, how effective is it to practice with the metronome? Well, it depends on how you do it. Done right, so to speak, is extremely effective. It can help us play a challenging fast piece, for example. And even if you are mostly a singer songwriter that accompanies yourself singing with simple chords, it will help you stay in the groove and play with other musicians more effectively.

So, what is the 'right' way to use a metronome? Set it to a comfortable beat, a speed you can play the piece from top to end, preferably with no mistakes. If you are playing a 4/4 piece, you can start by setting the metronome to beat in 1/8 notes, so you can start slow. As you speed you can change the metronome to beat in 1/4 notes.

So, let's say you start at 1/8 = 60 (metronome). Each day you bump up 2 or so numbers. Each day start slow to warm up your fingers and your attention span, no matter how fast you got the day before.

I suggest you go rent the movie 'The Red Violin', the intricate history of a beautiful antique violin traced from its creation in Cremona, Italy, in 1681. Besides being a wonderful film with gorgeous music, it has a brillant illustration of how the metronome can be effective.

Try it, you might love it!
See you soon everybody,
Paula

P.S. I hope you find this information helpful! Please feel free to share with anybody you might think could use it. For information about private lessons, please visit my lessons page: http://www.paulamaya.com/musiclessons

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Technique Tip 4

Paula Maya Music Lessons: Free Tips

On my post 'Technique Tip 2' I talked about the importance of having strong fingertips for playing the piano beautifully with technique. It is indeed one of the factors that will help you play faster. And, like I said before, when you are playing a really fast phrase or exercise, you keep the sound light so you can glide on the keys.

Take for example 'Hanon - The Virtuoso Pianist', the technique exercise book that most of us classically trained pianists have played at some point or another. The exercises are made of patterns of notes and fingers going up and down the C scale. Two patterns per hand, per exercise.To reach the final fast speed they recommend the exercises to be played at, you must use your strong fingertips. You don't splatter your fingertips outwardly, but pull them slightly in, like a cat. And, keep your wrists flexible, moving slightly to one side and the other, following the patterns. See example below:









Try it, you might love it!
See you soon everybody,
Paula

P.S. I hope you find this information helpful! Please feel free to share with anybody you might think could use it. For information about private lessons, please visit my lessons page: http://www.paulamaya.com/musiclessons

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Harmony Tip 5

Paula Maya Music Lessons: Free Tips
 

Music is very close to math. Harmony certainly is. You don't need to memorize things. Use logic, math, your ears and be consistent with your practice. 




For example, if you know the C (major) scale, and know that every (western) major scale follows the same exact pattern, then by knowing the C scale, you know all major scales. And there are different paths you can take to figure them out. One is to know the famous 'Circle of Fifths'. Another path, if you don't know the 'Circle', is to understand the intervals between notes that are present in the major scale.



By knowing that the major scale is comprised of: step, step, half-step, step, step, step, half-step, you can figure out C# major scale, D major scale, Eb, E, etc... Please see the example below:




I hope you find this information helpful! Please feel free to share with anybody you think could use it. For info about private lessons please visit my lessons page: http://www.paulamaya.com/musiclessons

See you soon everybody!
Paula

Monday, September 19, 2016

Technique Tip 3

Paula Maya Music Lessons: Free Tips

So you have been playing piano, or keyboard, for a while. Or maybe you just started. And here come the scales. There are many things we could talk about regarding scales. But there is one basic but very important detail: an agile thumb.

To be able to play seamlessly a C major scale, for example, in several octaves, as if you had not 5 but 40 fingers in each hand, your thumb must be agile and move under your hand way before its time to play. It moves and wait its turn, eager to perform its duties.

The basic pattern for the right hand of 3 fingers, 4 fingers, 3 fingers, 4 fingers, etc... until the last octave going up, ending in 5 fingers, with the aid of a ready and willing thumb will create a higher quality and even sounding scale.

Try it today! A little every day, done right, goes a long way.

I hope you find this information helpful! Please feel free to share with anybody you might think could use it. For information about private lessons, please visit my lessons page: http://www.paulamaya.com/musiclessons

See you soon everybody!
Paula

Friday, September 2, 2016

Technique Tip 2

Paula Maya Music Lessons: Free Tips


If you play the piano, or keyboard, I have one word for you: fingertips. Maybe two words: strong fingertips. Your fingertips are like the fine tuning of your hands. There are many ways to produce sound on a piano. One is, you can apply force starting from your arms down to your hands, and pound the @#$% out of the piano. You can also let the natural weight of your arms fall on the keys, which produces a much higher quality sound than pounding. Or you can start the movement from your wrists, and don't use a whole lot of finger articulation.

But, when you want a very soft but controlled sound, or you wanna play fast with agility, you can start the movement from your knuckles, articulating clearly each finger, keeping the fingertips strong. The intention of the movement is to pull the fingertips slightly in when you play the notes, like a cat.
Try it! You'll be surprised how much more control of the sound you have, and how beautiful a sound you can produce.

I hope you find this information helpful! Please feel free to share with anybody you might think could use it. For information about private lessons, please visit my lessons page: http://yellowhouserecords.com/musiclessons

See you soon everybody!
paz
Paula

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Technique Tip 1

Hi everybody!

I've been a music teacher for many years, and over the years had great teachers who passed to me invaluable musical information, from harmony to piano technique and all in between. Sometimes I like to post music tips on my blog to share a few golden things I've learned along the way. I hope you'll find it useful and enjoyable. And that you'll give it a try! Please find below 'Technique Tip 1'. For past music tips please scroll my blog's past posts.

Technique Tip 1

If you play the piano, or keyboard, it's very helpful to have a background in classical music technique. But even if you don't, there are some important helpful things that you can learn, and if you practice the correct way  you will get better.

One of these essential things is to move your elbows to the sides as your right hand slides to the far right and your left hand to the far left, as if you were gonna take flight. The elbows lead your forearms and hands. With that movement your hands stay in the optimum position to play the keys. Students that don't know this 'detail' tend to move their forearms to the right or left led by the hands and not the elbows. And the end result is that the player loses control of the fingering, precision and beauty.  Just be careful so you don't raise your shoulders. Below is the example. Try it!


To learn about private lessons please visit this link. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 1, 2016

El Paso Pics - Dancing in the City

Here are some pics from our Dancing in the City show in El Paso in July. Nice stage, great sound. Yes, I had a new band, performing for an audience comprised of 99% strangers, so one never knows. But it was really fun! Inspiring to see a lot of people dancing through out the night. I was thrilled to play and sing to a lovely receptive new audience! With Jodavid Reyes on drums, Pancho Anguiano on bass and Manny Flores on percussion. Will upload a video as soon as it's processed.

The last few pics are inside Chope's, a famous old joint in La Mesa, NM. We were introduced to Chope's by the lovely Karla and Michael, Robert's brother. Good times :) Feel free to sign up to receive my weekly-ish e-newsletter. I strive to keep it interesting and informative.

Here are three pics. To see all ten pics please visit my website. Thanks so much for stopping by!