A piano song suited for light practice, take a break from vexing classical piano songs for a minute and take pleasure in playing it. “The Moon Represents My Heart” is a song made famous by legendary Hong Kong songbird Teresa Teng.
Most piano players are well acquainted with songs composed by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Liszt and many other great composers from the classical era.
Modern music be it jazz, hip hop or R & B are influenced by what they created hundreds of years prior. What we listen to now are evolved version of classical music.
Present day pop culture is dominated by western music just like in the world of classical music – there has been no Asian equivalent of a Mozart or Beethoven.
All piano songs I have learned so far were written by composers from Europe and America until one day when I was asked to play ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’.
It is song made famous by a beauty from Hong Kong blessed with a voice of a nightingale, Teresa Teng. If Bruce Lee was the most successful dude ever to come from Hong Kong, Teresa Teng is the chick equivalent.
The title of the piano song itself reveals that this is a love song.
The song starts off strongly with a line of chords. Play them with firm fingers to ensure clear harmonic melody is produced.
Watch out for the instruction in the score to play the opening chord progressions one octave higher. Sometimes eagerness to play through a piano song causes us to miss the tiny details.
Just after finishing executing the last chords that make up the introduction of the song, prepare to begin what is the actual poem of love that is ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ - very quietly with utmost delicacy enter the ballad by playing the A and D (RH) with the softest of touch possible. Here you wish to draw attention to the tonal contrast between the opening phrase and the heart of the song.
Any piano teacher will instruct her students to practise scales and arpeggios everyday, even after they have progressed to intermediate level.
The stubborn ones like me prefer to skip them, “I want to play Lizst because my God given awesome talents should not be wasted on scales and arpeggios!”
Well, it was not hard for an experienced teacher to instill some humility in her increasingly pompous pupil. The 7th to the 9th line of this song bundles a long sequence of arpeggios to be played in legato and unbroken continuously with the left hand.
Apparently, there are many songs that have patterns of arpeggios or scales written into them.
If you are accustomed to practising those, encountering them while trying to learn a piece would be like a stroll in a park.
The serene tempo and pace of the song’s middle parts is about to be dramatically altered as it nears the end.
The last 3 lines call for the RH to weave out an exquisite tune of chords with an elevated intensity to convey the feeling of longing nostalgia and all consuming love that a girl feels when she is singing this song.
Flexible and nimble fingers come in handy for the grandiose finale when you have to roll a 4-note chord in the RH and a 3-note chord in the LH.
Two Exercises to Strengthen Your 5th Finger
Introducing 2 exercises to strengthen the 5th finger when playing the piano.
Place the right thumb on middle C. Index finger on D, middle finger on E and the rest of your fingers on the subsequent higher keys.
Now play CDEFG with your right hand using the fingering you have prepared as I have described in the paragraph above. Next play the scale in reverse, GFEDC. Maintain the same fingering.
Place the left pinkie on the C one octave lower from the middle C. Fourth finger on D, middle finger on E and the rest of your left fingers on the subsequent keys.
Now play CDEFG with your left hand using the fingering described above.Then play them in reverse GFEDC. Use the same fingering.
Practice the exercise with your right hand, then with your left separately at first. When you are able to play smoothly try playing with both hands at the same time.
Why is this piano exercise useful?...read the full article>>>
“You can play with magic and artistry no matter at what level”
– Joan Mary Last, piano teacher
A statement that to me, sounded like it was blurted out mindlessly like an afterthought actually entered my realm of reality when I experienced it firsthand.
You can indeed play with magic and artistry at any level by rendering the piano songs in a binding legato, controlling the tempo and obtaining a clear insight into the musical structure of the song. When choosing a song you wish to play with magic and artistry, the K.I.S.S approach is best - Keep It Super Simple...read the full article>>>
The guiding principles for practicing a piano song well
A musical phrase played on the piano is like a sentence of words spoken by you. How you convey what you wish to say will have an effect on the listeners’ response. Before attempting to play any one of the piano exercises I usually try out the melody with the right hand only. This is so that I can get a feel of what the music is setting out to depict. Only then would it be possible for me to interpret its meaning and express its true message.
For an actual piano piece it takes much more effort. The composition has to be dissected in minutest detail. This might take weeks or months depending on the song you are working on, so do not be deflated if you feel your progress is too slow.
Remember to enjoy playing, focus on inward thinking and listening to the music. Recognize where to make a greater climax or a more symphatetic coloring in certain parts of the composition...read the full article>>>
...take ‘Fantasie in C Major’ for example, the second movement in Op.17 featured a series of leaps not only intended to highlight Elaine’s pianistic skills but more importantly the resulting music injected a dose of freshness into my soul lifting my spirits up and I dare say in others listening in the audience as well. The similar effect piano music had on me years ago was what drove me to take up lessons in the first place. Who could resist playing music so gorgeous and feeling the keys under my fingertips, what a sensation!...
...to acquire security in the fingers, the piano student needs to stick to a consistent fingering selection and practice the combination repeatedly. Security in the fingers is built through repetition. Start by practicing is short sections, once noticing that you have become secure enough extend to longer sections.
Similar can be said about getting clarity of mind. Through repeated practice the mind paints a clearer picture of each bar, phrase and eventually the whole piece. When I start to learn a new song I would play hands separately from start to finish without attempting to fix the many playing mistakes. The purpose was to become familiar with the rhythm and melody first. The gritty details would be corrected only after I gained insight into the music’s character...read the full article>>>
‘Well Tempered Clavier’ was composed near the end of the Baroque period by Bach – who is needless to say, one of the most prominent composers from that period.
A period when bold men were challenging what was then considered conventional norms. Isaac Newton began to unravel the mysteries of gravity, King Louis the 14th of France broke ground on the construction of the Versailles and musicians such as Bach, Vivaldi and Handel began composing music meant to be played by a keyboard, great ancestor of the piano - the harpsichord.
Mentioned in the title of Bach’s ‘Well Tempered Clavier’ the word clavier is a general reference associated with a keyboard instrument...read the full article>>>
My son wants to do a concert to earn his piano because his old piano is getting pretty bad. I do not have the money to buy it but he is willing to give a concert to earn $5,000.00 for it. Thank you for any help or ideas if you can help. He is 13 years old.
I am so inspired by your son’s passion. He is willing to work to get what he wants.
When you say his old piano is getting pretty bad, how bad do you mean?
Pianos do not damage or decay easily. This is why they can stay in good playing condition for decades...read the full article>>>
Alfred Publishing has come up with a series piano learning books comprising of nine books that were compiled into what is known as Alfred’s Basic Piano Library. The books are graded accordingly and students can purchase them individually. Here I would like to offer my thoughts on Lesson Book 2 of the series.
Lesson Book 2 has many precious piano exercises designed to build a beginner’s technical competence in playing piano songs. Such as passing Finger 1 (thumb) under Finger 2 (index finger) and passing Finger 1 under Finger 3 (middle finger).
What I find most pleasurable about the piano book is that even for such basic and elementary exercises such as these, it comes with piano songs that are a joy to play while also serving to improve technique...read the full article>>>