“That’s not how it sounds on the CD!” Have you ever heard your piano student utter that famous line? You can just hear the disappointment oozing from every pore. They worked so hard to learn this piece, working sometimes for weeks just to be let down. I used to feel this way when I was a budding young pianist too. Luckily, as a budding young vocalist, I had already turned into the next at-home Paula Abdul with the invention of Karaoke. I could sing just like her and had the back-up band to prove it. But when it came to the piano, I was once again all alone – just me and my metronome.
Well, fear not, my hard working pianists! Publishers have heard those cries of disappointment and now offer a solution known as Piano Play-Along. And yes, simply put, it is karaoke for the piano. Do you want to play “Beauty & the Beast?” I’ve got an app for that. Do you want to play “Girl from Ipanema?” I’ve got an app for that. Well, maybe not an app but I do have a Piano Play-Along CD that will make you sound like you are playing in the band. And just like karaoke, it has tracks with and without the piano parts. “Great”, you’re thinking “my student will be happy but are they really learning anything from all this fun?” Of course they are! Stick with me here and I’ll tell you how.
When you listen to the radio do you hear the metronome? No, you hear the drums. Not only do you hear the drums but you can feel them. Same applies when playing the piano – when playing along with other instruments you learn to feel the music. You learn to anticipate instead of just counting the beats. Don’t get me wrong, learning to count and play on your own is very important but so is learning musicality.
I know a lot of teachers that use the Piano Play-Along cds as a reward system for their students. The student learns the piece – all of the technicalities, the rhythms and phrasing while practicing and once they have it all down the play along with the accompaniment. When they play with the CD they not only have fun but they learn why they have to pay attention to the musical instruction written on the page.
The best part of Piano Play-Along is that it comes with the printed music and the cd all for one price. The second best part is that they are available for any skill level. Whether it is the child beginner, adult beginner, intermediate player or all the way to rehearsing that Mozart Concerto – piano play-along is something you can do! And it’s just as fun as singing Karaoke! Just pop in the cd to any cd player, open your music and get to playing!
To find out more information on the literally 1000’s of titles available for Piano Play-Along please visit us at Gist Piano Center. I’d love to show you around and help you play with the band. And as a reward for your faithful reading – mention The Gist Piano Blog and receive 25% off all Piano Play-Along book & CDs now through Aug 31, 2011.