Ear training

As known, piano study requires an integrated development of skills. One of the very important elements of this development is ear training/playing by ear. Ideally piano lessons should begin with ear training activities and take main place in curriculum up until note staff is introduced later on. Unfortunately ear training is often being neglected by many piano teachers in favor of note reading.

Dear teachers, please don’t present music notation to your students on the first piano lesson. There is a better way to introduce a student to music – though singing simple songs with words. Remember, voice is our first instrument, use it! Here is how it can be done.

Piano teacher chooses a very simple, familiar to every child song and sings it together with the student. They can sing it a few times, just add a rhythm clapping to it.

Tip: Once names of the notes have been introduced (solfege, not ABC!), a student can sing a song with solfege instead of words. Solfege syllables are known to help ears to connect with a pitch more easily. In the result of this approach a student will have a very good perception of a pitch, even before he learns to read notes as written symbols!

Afterward, they need to discuss how sounds in the song were acting – moving up or down, taking steps or skips, etc.

Tip: At this point the Kodaly method of hand signs (showing a pitch height) can be introduced and used while singing in solfege. In this way full body is involved in “feeling” the melody – so effective in training the ear!

Lastly, a student can try to pick out the song on the piano with teacher’s guidance. If a difficulty occur-all of the above steps can be repeated again.

Teaching rhythm

Teaching rhythm to students is a great challenge for piano teachers. It all starts pretty innocent with an introduction of whole, half, quarter and even eight notes, but the problem starts when all of the above time values are being mixed. Unless you are a suzuki student that already knows how rhythm feels and sounds (because they learn rhythms by ear before even any theory terminology is introduced), it is hard to comprehend (and, mainly feel) why there are two eight notes in one quarter note!

Here is a simple and quick way of demonstrating eight notes at a piano lesson. It is called “Musical Pizza”.

Step 1: Draw a circle – a pizza, tell a student it is a WHOLE pizza (like a whole note), pick a sound and make student play it and hold on the piano for four counts (slowly, steadily, counting out loud). Then “cut” pizza in HALF (like a half note), pick two notes and make student play and count it. “Cut” pizza in QUARTERS (like quarter notes) and do as the above, and so on with eight notes – eight “slices” of the pizza. After that ask your student how many “slices” are in whole pizza? half? quarter? You can also clap the pizza (of course with counting out loud), just don`t forget to show where the main beats are. When it comes to eight notes, count out loud – one and, two and, three and, four and, while pointing at each “slice” of the  pizza clockwise.  Do this a few times until well understood (at this point your student most likely gets why an eight note is a half of a quarter!)

Step 2: Write down a rhythmical pattern with quarters and eight notes. Pick a note (practice rhythm outside of a music content so no articulation, dynamics or even note reading gets on the way, only pure rhythm!) and make sure your student plays it without skipping a “slice” when playing quarter notes (while counting out loud, can`t stress enough of that!). Do the same with all time values. Keep the pizza drawing in front of your student even when he is learning new pieces. Use these tips and piano lessons will become more fun and engaging!

Articulation for beginners

Articulation for piano beginners. Non-legato:

Normally I start by introducing  my beginners to a non-legato touch. I make them play the same sound on the piano (use a 3rd finger for the best support!) in a moving motion from one octave to the other, higher and higher on the keyboard. This, sort of say “diving” into the very “bottoms” of the keys with the relaxed hand (using full weight of your arm!) is free of any tension, and therefore, highly preferred over legato touch. While “diving”into the keys, a piano teacher needs to teach a student to listen/control to the sound he is making and make sure the touch/contact with the keys is soft, deep and flexible. The next step is to learn to play short simple melodies (shared between two hands, 3rd fingers only preferred) using non-legato articulation. Only after perfecting non-legato touch, a student can attempt to learn playing legato.

A few tips on staccato:

Staccato-(staccare) from Italian – means to separate. Piano teachers would agree – it is a bit hard to teach children to play staccato articulation on the piano. They do seem to grasp an idea of “spaces” between sounds and separation, but their staccato would come out quite flat and lack crispness. I believe the reason is simple. Students need to be taught to play/take the sound “out” of the piano, not “in”. A short exercise of a quick “take off” from one key, flying and “landing” (diving) on the other key, may help. Teachers should make it simple-use the same fingers, go up and down the keyboard, right hand, left hand – as long as they get the touch right! Staccato touch can be compared to a trampoline, ping pong or a super rocket rapidly launching upwards. And of course, sometimes staccato demonstration from a teacher is always the best!

January Birthdays Corner

January Birthdays Corner. Check out our list of classical composers that were born in January! Find out what composer was born on your birthday!


Ullmann, Viktor (1898)
Balakirev, Mily Alexeyevich (1837)
Tippett, Michael (1905)
Mathon Blanchet, Lina (1902)
Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710)
Suk, Josef (1874)
Smith-Brindle, Reginald (1917)
Medtner, Nikolai (1880)
Scharwenka, Frans Xaver (1850)
Bruch, Max (1838)
Poulenc, Francis (1899)
Mason, Lowell (1792)
Keiser, Reinhard (1674)
Halloran, Jack (1916)
Scriabin, Alexander (1872)
Martinon, Jean (1910)
Gliere, Reinhold (1875)
Duruflé, Maurice (1902)
Sinding, Christian (1856)
Feldman, Morton (1926)
Kalinnikov, Vasily (1866)
Halffter, Ernesto (1905)
Stanley, John (1712)
Yevlakhov, Orest (1912)
Kienzl, Wilhelm (1857)
Erb, Donald (1927)
Cui, César (1835)
Chabrier, Emmanuel (1841)
Blacher, Boris (1903)
Schein, Johann Hermann (1586)
Iradier, Sebastián (1809)
Piston, Walter (1894)
Chausson, Ernest (1855)
Nazareth, Ernesto (1863)
Ticheli, Frank (1958)
Duparc, Henri (1848)
Tcherepnin, Alexander (1899)
Mitsuda, Yasunori (1972)
Walmisley, Thomas Attwood (1814)
Yupanqui, Atahualpa (1908)
Eben, Petr (1929)
Dutilleux, Henri (1916)
Bestor, Kurt (1958)
Apostel, Hans Erich (1901)
Mader, Clarence (1904)
Clementi, Muzio (1752)
Frederick II the Great (1712)
Dello Joio, Norman (1913)
Hemphill, Julius (1938)
Kirchner, Leon (1919)
Jobim, Antonio Carlos (1927)
Sandström, Jan (1954)
Reed, Alfred (1921)
Lutoslawski, Witold (1913)
Dobrogosz, Steve (1956)
Kern, Jerome (1885)
Arriaga, Juan Crisóstomo (1806)
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756)
Lalo, Édouard (1823)
Mansurian, Tigran (1937)
Damase, Jean-Michel (1928)
Bertoli, Giovanni Antonio (1598)
Mintzer, Bob (1953)
Danielpour, Richard (1956)
Werner, Gregor Joseph (1693)
Tavener, John (1944)
Aguirre, Julián (1868)
Hérold, Ferdinand (1791)
Nessler, Viktor (1841)
Wagenseil, Georg Christoph (1715)
Nono, Luigi (1924)
Auber, Daniel (1782)
Delius, Frederick (1862)
Halffter, Rodolfo (1900)
Quantz, Johann Joachim (1697)
Schubert, Franz (1797)


December Birthdays Corner

December Birthdays Corner. Check out our list of classical composers that were born in December! Find out what composer was born on your birthday!


Leontovych, Mykola (1877)
Burleigh, Harry T. (1866)
Ornstein, Leo (1893)
Webern, Anton (1883)
Soler, Antonio (1729)
Rota, Nino (1911)
Fine, Irving (1914)
Kreek, Cyrillus (1889)
Fillmore, Henry (1881)
Burgmüller, Johann (1806)
Vecchi, Orazio (1550)
Manzanero, Armando (1935)
Pasquini, Bernardo (1637)
Grison, Jules (1842)
Mascagni, Pietro (1863)
Prima, Louis (1910)
Martinu, Bohuslav (1890)
Sibelius, Jean (1865)
Ponce, Manuel (1882)
Balbastre, Claude (1724)
Turina, Joaquín (1882)
Franck, César (1822)
Kirchner, Theodor (1823)
Messiaen, Olivier (1908)
Carter, Elliott (1908)
Berlioz, Hector (1803)
Schulz-Evler, Adolf (1852)
Nelson, Ron (1929)
Boieldieu, François Adrien (1775)
Shchedrin, Rodion (1932)
Coward, Noel (1899)
Kodály, Zoltán (1882)
Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770)
Cimarosa, Domenico (1749)
Macdowell, Edward Alexander (1861)
Theofanidis, Christopher (1967)
Clérembault, Louis-Nicolas (1676)
Harbison, John (1938)
Perosi, Lorenzo (1872)
Thomas, Michael Tilson (1944)
Bottesini, Giovanni (1821)
Puccini, Giacomo (1858)
Boismortier, Joseph Bodin de (1689)
Melillo, Stephen (1957)
Edwards, Ross (1943)
Larsen, Libby (1950)
Cornelius, Peter (1824)
Holsinger, David (1945)
Assad, Sergio (1952)
Appermont, Bert (1973)
Ronell, Ann (1906)
Casals, Pablo (1876)
Calace, Raphael (1863)
Foerster, Josef Bohuslav (1859)
Kabalevsky, Dmitri (1904)
Bowles, Paul (1910)
Messager, André (1853)
Moeran, Ernest John (1894)
Styne, Jule (1905)

Music Recitals

You are invited to our music recitals that will be held at the groundbreaking acoustic performance venue – beautiful recital hall of Beethoven Pianos. Our students will have a wonderful opportunity to play on one of the best concert size Steinway grand pianos in town! Beethoven Pianos is located in midtown on historic “Piano Row” just steps away from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Music Recitals

will be held on Monday December 14th, 6.00-8.00pm and Saturday December 19th, 1.00-3.00 pm. Concerts will feature our faculty performing. On Monday Music recital “Sonetto del Petrarca” #104 by F. Liszt will be performed by Vesela Kirova (piano). Saturday music recital features  “O mio babbino caro” by G. Puccini  and “Out here on my own” from the musical”Fame” performed by Isabella Florin (voice).


On Petrarca, his Sonnets and F. Liszt:

Francesco Petrarca was an Italian poet in Renaissance in the 14th Century.  He was writing sonnets (poems) that were known for its beautiful lyrical poetry. Interesting to notice that Petrarca was a great scholar and did most of his writing in Latin.

Franz Liszt, a Hungarian composer of the Romantic Era wrote music to Petrarca`s sonnet. “Sonnetto 104” is a middle piece – a part of three sonnets. The text of the sonnet describes Petrarca`s love for a woman named Laura. She might have been a real person or a fictional character.

Here is the English translation of it:music recitals

WARFARE I cannot wage, yet know not peace;
I fear, I hope, I burn, I freeze again;
Mount to the skies, then bow to earth my face;
Grasp the whole world, yet nothing can obtain.
Pris’ner of one who deigns not to detain,
I am not made his own, nor giv’n release.
Love slays me not, nor yet will he unchain;
Nor life allot, nor stop my harm’s increase.

Sightless I see my fair; though mute, I mourn;
I scorn existence, yet I court its stay;
Detest myself, and for another burn;
By grief I’m nurtured; and, though tearful, gay;
Death I despise, and life alike I hate:
Such, lady, do you make my wretched state!


“O mio babbino caro” (o my beloved father):

An aria from opera “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Pucchini, an Italian composer. A daughter, Lauretta is singing to her father about her love to Rinuccio, the boy she loves. She is distraught because Rinuccio was left without any inheritance and wont be allowed to marry her.

English translation:

Oh my beloved father,music recitals
I love him, I love him!
I’ll go to Porta Rossa,
To buy our wedding ring.

Oh yes, I really love him.
And if you still say no,
I’ll go to Ponte Vecchio,
And throw myself below.

My love for which I suffer,
At last, I want to die.
Father I beg, I beg.
Father I beg, I beg..


“Out here on my own” from the musical “Fame”– written by a duo of Michael Gore (music) and Lesley Gore (lyrics). “Fame”- a story of young men and women holding an audition for coveted spots at the New York High School of Performing Arts. Those who make it discover how much work and sacrifice it takes to become a star. They go through difficult issues of homosexuality, suicide, rejection,  and heartbreak.


Piano Lesson Myths (continue)

Piano Lesson Myths 

 Myth 1 “I am just a beginner, I don`t need an experienced piano teacher”

Reality: Wrong! You definitely need your piano teacher to be piano lesson mythsexperienced. Piano instructors with multiple years of teaching experience are more likely to have a worked out approach that has proven to be great for students. This will help you to develop a strong foundation and even more. With experienced piano instructors your piano lesson will run smoothly as they know how to break down the complexity, to be patient and explain the material clearly.


Piano Lesson Myth #2

I cannot play piano without learning to read music”

Reality: Actually it is more beneficial for you to start playing piano by ear rather than read notes out of a music score right away. We call it “hear (in your head or from singing)-play” process. It is important to improvise on the early stages as ear training will develop your ability to recognize tones naturally and will gradually guide your fingers to the keys. So please, don`t dismiss the ear – sing, pick some famous tunes on the piano and ask your piano teacher to show your how to do accompaniment to back it up! Only after a few piano lessons of improvising note reading can be introduced. Then the formula will become ideal: “hear-see-play”.

Welcome to Art of Piano Playing Music School!

music schoolWelcome to our Music School! Art of Piano Playing Music School is a successful organization established in 2011. our music school provides in-home PIANO LESSONS, VOICE, GUITAR, FLUTE lessons in ALL New York City and Long Island NY. Art of Piano Playing Music School offers one on one music lessons for all ages and levels of students, and also group piano classes at public, catholic and private schools all over New York City and Long Island NY. Art of Piano Playing Music school has the best music teachers on staff! Main reasons to take lessons with us: NO LONG TERM CONTRACTS! WE WORK AROUND YOUR SCHEDULE! GREAT PRICING! WE COME TO YOU! Please email us today: artofpianoplaying@outlook.com or call at: 646-221-7518

November Birthdays Corner!

November Birthdays Corner. Check out our list of classical composers that were born in November! Find out what composer was born on your day!!!

Chambers, William Paris (1854)
Dittersdorf, Karl Ditters von (1739)
Pernambuco, João (1883)
Scheidt, Samuel (1587)
Bellini, Vincenzo (1801)
Cooke, Arnold (1906)
Borovička, Antonín (1895)
Tausig, Carl (1841)
Fernández, Oscar Lorenzo (1897)
Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (1860)
Sousa, John Philip (1854)
Legnani, Luigi (1790)
Barroso, Ary (1903)
Rosner, Arnold (1945)
Joplin, Scott (1868)
Townsend, Douglas (1921)
Gould, Morton (1913)
Morricone, Ennio (1928)
Couperin, François (1668)
Beck, John Ness (1930)
Borodin, Alexander (1833)
Merkel, Gustav Adolf (1827)
Lefébure-Wély, Louis (1817)
Mendelssohn-Hensel, Fanny (1805)
Veldhuis, Jacob ter (1951)
Hummel, Johann Nepomuk (1778)
Swerts, Piet (1960)
Spontini, Gaspare (1774)
Copland, Aaron (1900)
Mozart, Leopold (1719)
Hindemith, Paul (1895)
Gougeon, Denis (1951)
Weber, Carl Maria von (1786)
Loeillet, Jean-Baptiste (of London) (1680)
Bishop, Henry R. (1786)
Ippolitov-Ivanov, Mikhail (1859)
Chance, John Barnes (1932)
Himmel, Friedrich Heinrich (1765)
Tárrega, Francisco (1852)
Karg-Elert, Sigfrid (1877)
Rodrigo, Joaquin (1901)
Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann (1710)
Kapustin, Nikolai (1937)
Sagreras, Julio Salvador (1879)
Kreutzer, Conradin (1780)
Britten, Benjamin (1913)
Penderecki, Krzysztof (1933)
Falla, Manuel de (1876)
Meij, Johan de (1953)
Gruber, Franz (1787)
Merula, Tarquinio (1595)
Kempff, Wilhelm (1895)
Benedict, Julius (1804)
Koechlin, Charles (1867)
Lully, Jean-Baptiste (1632)
Rubinstein, Anton (1829)
Donizetti, Gaetano (1797)
Ketting, Piet (1904)
Alkan, Charles Valentin (1813)
Klughardt, August (1847)
Lyapunov, Sergei (1859)
Arrieu, Claude (1903)
Thuille, Ludwig (1861)
Loewe, Carl (1796)


Piano Lesson Myths #1

“I have to learn to play classical music before I can play pop and jazz”

Reality: don`t think you must start your piano lessons with classical pieces if your ultimate goal is to learn pop music, you don`t have to! If your goal is to learn to play classical music-it is very important to incorporate improvisation and pop pieces into your repertoire.

Piano Lesson Myth #2

“Children learn faster than adults”

Reality: There is almost no difference! Children are not as busy as adults with juggling multiple things in life, like work and family. They don`t experience that sort of stress, normally their thoughts are more structured allowing them to concentrate better. This creates an illusion that children absorb new material better than adults. Whereas an adult student consciously decided to take piano lessons to learn and that great desire to study diminishes their variance in concentration ultimately bringing the same or even a better result.

Piano Lesson Myth #3

“I have to practice every day”

Reality: Practicing 3-4 hours a week may bring you better results as if you would practice every day – our brain, just like our body, sometimes needs a timeout to take in the new material.