Ask The Teacher
you have a question about the piano, piano lessons, or music
generally? You can get it answered here by a real live piano
teacher! We'll pick some of the best questions and provide the
answers here. We'll even show your name and the city you live
in so you can tell your friends! Just send us your first
name only, age, city, state, and country (if you live outside
the U.S.) and we'll do the rest.
A Note for Parents
the Internet is in constant flux by nature and standards vary
from individual to individual, the content of the sites linked
in the Cool Places section cannot
be guaranteed to be appropriate for your children. We have examined
all these sites and found them to be generally wholesome and
educational for most kids. We advise all parents to look at
the sites linked if they have any questions. Please
let us know by
e-mail if you find any of these links to be inappropriate
and why you find them so.
We've arrived safe and sound in 1786 in Vienna to visit Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. We're in the studio of the great Mozart, who is talking with some of his
Tip of the Month - Jazz
Have you ever heard jazz musicians playing
together? Do you know that, for most of what they play, they make it up
right on the spot! This means that, every time they play something, it’s
always different. They sound pretty good together, but how do they know
WHAT to play?
They follow a lead sheet. What’s that? It’s like
a map. Gives them directions on where to go, but it’s up to them how they
get there. This is called improvising, and it’s heaps of fun to learn.
The first step in learning how to improvise the way jazz musicians do, is to
learn chords. Pick three chords: the tonic, the subdominant and the
dominant. You can choose any key you like, but if you’re just a beginner,
stick to C major for a while.
These are the chords you’ll need to learn: C7 = CEGBflat. F7= FACE, G7=
Spend some time practising these chords.
Harmonically: all together: a solid sound. Both hands doing exactly the
Melodically: as an arpeggio, one note at a time, like a harp. This is a
Practise playing these chords with your metronome. Treat the piano like a
set of drums, beating out rhythms using the notes in the chords.
Try and change from chord to chord, jumping and landing on the strongest
beat. For example, using simple quadruple time (4/4) count 1 2 3 4, make
sure you land on beat 1.
When you have the hang of this, write up your own lead sheet.
Draw bar lines on a piece of paper, and write the chords in the bars. Use
any combination you like. Then, put your lead sheet on the piano stand, and
try to change chords when your sheet tells you to! Mix the way you play the
chords—and voila! You’re improvising! Let yourself go with the rhythm.
After a while with practise, the less you think the better you improvise!
are places with neat pictures and sounds or they might be just plain
weird! Check it out!
Got a report to write on the piano? Want to learn a little more about
it? Need to find out who Charles Tomlinson Griffes (or almost any other
composer) was? We have a whole shelf full of free articles that should
Lots of Piano Music and Cool Sounds
Like piano music? Want to hear some? Well,
The Audition Room has hundreds
and hundreds of files of famous (and not so famous) composers' piano
music. Jump over there and take a listen. You'll be glad you did!
Take Your Own Trip with Dr. Who
If you like the sounds of the TARDIS and the Doctor in our
Meet the Composer interviews, you can
download your own sounds for free and play them on your own computer.
These come from the
Doctor Who, and span many of the Doctor's regenerations.
Go get 'em for free!
The Taz Speaks! (Sort of)
the Warner Bros. cartoon series Taz-mania, Taz grunts it like
it is! If your browser doesn't let you play sound directly, you can
get the files by turning on your browser's Load to Disk or Save to Disk
function and then play them offline later in the Windows Media Player
or similar player program. These make fun Windows sounds, too. Just
download 'em, go to your Windows Control Panel, Click Sounds and then
set these to play. They're way cool!
Greetings from Taz (108K WAV)
Taz takes a piano lesson (37 K WAV)
Taz tells you what he thinks about piano lessons (41K
Taz does the classics (65K WAV)
Free collection of over 30 great Taz sounds, including all the ones
above! (993K self-extracting archive)