Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why chord knowldege - as much as you can get - is critcial to your success whether pro or hobbyist

It really is important.

Chords are those vertical stack of notes and knowing them can help you tremendously, regardless of what you want from music.


Many folks simply want to have a fine hobby making music.

For such people, the keyboard is the item to go with (and I don't mean that you treat that keyboard as a "poor-man's piano." See my other article on this blog for info on that.)

The use of Fakebooks is key to their enjoyment.

Of course, they have to buy a good keyboard and know all about how to use it, but this is not hard to do.

Then they can purchase whatever Fakebook or Fakebooks they want from amazon.

They must next, visit "youtube" for info on using the Automatic Accompaniment features of their keyboards, plus the various types of sounds that keyboards produce.


Some individuals are drawn to music (as one of them I can speak from personal experience) and will become professional in the field.

Here are the benefits of acquiring as much chord knowledge as possible for such individuals:

Would you rather process only a single symbol rather than many?

Do you want to read faster?

Would you like to memorize much, much faster?

Do you want to write music or even improvise it?

Do you want to not be the victim of poor arrangements.

These are great values for any pro. They all come from having as much chord knowledge as possible.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fingering - There are many "tricks"

However, the hands can learn almost anything!

Yes, there are many tricks to fingering pieces. Only someone who ACTUALLY LOOKS AT YOUR HANDS and their pluses and minuses (all hands have these, there is no Perfect Hand) can truly guide you to do what is best for your hands and fingers.

As I said above, however, your hands can learn almost anything with enough repetition.

Of course, you'd like to keep this repetition to a minimum. That's the role of the personal teacher.

Now, about those " inked in" finger numbers in your music,...The person doing the inking does NOT know what your hand is like. They can't. I'd say that 80% or more of the "inked in" finger numbers are better for you than anything else, but only that amount. Folks usually try to follow these things cause they a printed in ink.

Remember that people have become generally bigger since the days of the early pianos.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Keyboard is NOT a Piano

The two things are different despite the Internet!

I just returned from "googling" using these search terms"keyboard lessons _______ (my area of this planet" and "keyboard teacher________" and I mostly found piano lessons and training.

Friends, despite the obvious advantages of a keyboard, it is NOT a piano. Sure, I know that the piano has been around for 300 years at least and has much better "press."

But a keyboard is NOT a piano.

I think that the fact that folks are buying more keyboards these days is a good thing.


Well, as I said above, the advantages are obvious. The primary one seems to be that the things are cheaper than "real" piano (one of my students pointed out that the opposite of "real" is "imaginary" but so many folks substitute "real" for "acoustic" that I'm using it.)

What I do NOT care for at all is the insistence of too many piano teachers that:

1. Mostly children can learn,
2. That you have to learn from a "real" piano.

Those few teachers that allow keyboards (more and more these days!) only use them to teach piano.

Too bad, as...

...there's one disadvantage of  a piano which you may not have thought of.

Now I used to work at one of the best local piano stores and I've played possibly the world's best pianos (as I define the term "best.")

These pianos only made one single sound, the sound of a piano. It's a fine sound but it's only one sound.

Keyboards make more sounds than that.

I do not wish to limit my musical creativity to a single sound, regardless of how good it is.

Why You Can Not Get Free Online Training in Playing

This may come as a shock to some!

In order to help online for free, most instructors try to generalize a student, THEIR idea of a student.

Then their work, whether video or manual, starts with that "generalized student." Usually, this is a person who will purchase their course or whatever. and other such sites are great for learning IF the circumstances permit it.

Who knows, you might not have a computer at home to listen and watch.

Listening to music can be a part of your learning experience. Notice I said it "can be" but it doesn't have to be.

Honestly, if you want personalized service, whether instruction or performance, you will have to seek out a PERSON who can listen to you.

If you want instruction, it's worthwhile to phone some teachers. Do not take a class or anything that requires the instructor to not take your special needs into consideration.

If it's performance, then you know what your people like, whomever "they" are, and can tell the performer what that is.

I, personally, always start my services with an interview so I know what the student is seeking and how they best learn.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Where to Get Help

Dan Starr's Contact Info has changed as follows: is now

I would prefer you contact me via email (so I can consider your request carefully. Also, so I can answer in my underwear.)

If you simply must phone me, the number you have is likely wrong - the correct number is (520) 275-0031.

Leave a message if you don't get me live.