Category Archives: Information

Christmas carillon

This year it’s going to be a very strange Christmas for most of us, but we have to make the best of it while remembering to stay safe. Here’s our musical Christmas greeting, featuring the sound of a carillon. If you’re wondering what a carillon is, there is some information in the video.

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Animatedpiano challenge update: let’s include all the key workers

Our YouTube ‘fanfare challenge’ (see https://animatedpiano.com/information/animatedpiano-challenge-fanfare-for-health-workers/ ) is still ongoing. But now, taking our cue from the UK’s Classic FM (https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/coronavirus/applaud-nhs-front-line-workers/ ), we’re extending the tribute to include all key workers. Delivery drivers, volunteers, workers in the food industry and emergency services, all the other people who are so vital to all of us, are worthy of support. So we’re going to change the title of the challenge to ‘Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for key workers’. The basic instructions for the original challenge still apply. Remember that this is open to pianists (and other keyboard players) of all ages and abilities. So come on, don’t be shy, let those fanfares ring out!

Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for health workers

Today (26 March 2020) people in the UK are being asked to applaud health workers. See the full story here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-uk-nhs-workers-applaud-support-clap-our-carers-a9421206.html

If you can play the piano and make a YouTube video, there is another way that you can show your support for all health workers, wherever they may be. Take part in our challenge to play a ‘fanfare for health workers’. This is open to all pianists and keyboard players anywhere in the world, from beginners to professionals. You can do it at any time, any day.

Please don’t worry about your ability level or video quality, it’s the spirit that counts. If you can play major chords in a good strong rhythm, you can play a fanfare. Even if you’ve only just started learning and don’t yet know what a major chord is, you can still take part. Watch our ‘Animated piano note chart’ (see below), find the notes C, E and G in the middle of the piano, and play them separately or together in any combination. Congratulations, you’ve just played a fanfare!

When you’re happy with your fanfare, record it to video and upload it to YouTube with the title ‘Animatedpiano challenge: fanfare for health workers’. There is no time limit for submissions, so do it when you feel ready. Every so often we will search YouTube for entries and feature some of them on this site. So come on, what are you waiting for? Get to work on your fanfare and show your support. Let’s hear it for the health workers!

Coronavirus update: we’re staying online!

You may have noticed that things have been very quiet recently on animatedpiano.com, but we’re hoping to change that very soon. We’re working as hard as we can to create and source lots of new content to support piano learning in the pandemic crisis. And don’t worry, we’re staying online! So, apart from technical difficulties or periods of website maintenance, that content will be here when you need it. More details will follow when new content is ready.

For now, read on to the next post. It will give you an idea how you can show your support for health workers all over the world… by playing the piano.

Good playing position

A good playing position (or posture) is essential if you want to play the piano really well. Piano teachers are always saying that. If you’ve been learning the piano for a while, you may have heard it quite a few times. But posture is very important. When you are sitting at a sensible height, and not too close to the piano, with ‘L-shape’ arms and curved fingers, you should have much more control over the piano. It will be a lot easier to tackle those tricky phrasings, thumb-unders, and so on. And you’ll also avoid building up a lot of tension. Tension is definitely not what you want when you’re trying to play the piano!

Here is an 1885 painting called The Recital, by a Czech artist, Skuteczky. In this single image, a believable playing posture and a sense of performance have been beautifully captured. It really looks as if the girl is playing the piano.

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Watching a fine pianist in performance is perhaps the best way to remind yourself of good playing posture, and get some inspiration at the same time. Live performances are great, but in a large concert hall, you might not be lucky enough to get a good view of the pianist. In some videos you might not get a very good view either, or the recorded sound might be poor.

So, where do you go to find piano performance videos which are well filmed, with good sound quality? Well, some will be appearing right here on animatedpiano.com, like the two that feature in the next post.

In the video below, Melanie Spanswick explains the importance of good posture.

Coming up on animatedpiano.com…

Animatedpiano.com is online! Soon it will have all sorts of things which you can download or watch to help with piano learning. This article will give you an idea of what’s coming up on the site, and where you can find it all.

For a while, some pages may only contain a notice saying ‘content coming soon’ , but they will be updated when new material is added. Please see the What’s New page for details of the most recent uploads.

Sheet Music

The Sheet Music page will contain PDFs of music in a range of styles, graded from ‘absolute beginner’ upwards. At the moment, and until further notice, all the sheet music on this site will be free to download. There’s no need to create an account or join a mailing list, or anything like that. Just click on the title of the music, download the PDF, and view it or print it, as you wish. Some exclusive arrangements and compositions may be available for purchase at a later date; details will be announced when these become available. The grading system for the music will be explained in more detail when the first PDFs are uploaded.

Many of the sheet music PDFs will have audio examples or video, and sometimes both. Some of the videos may look in detail at musical or technical aspects of the pieces, such as rhythm, chords, or scale patterns.

Videos

The Videos group of pages will contain links to all sorts of music education and performance videos. All videos will be free to view, but some of them may contain short adverts. We will not usually post links to videos which contain very intrusive adverts, unless the content is outstanding in some way.

Piano-related videos will be divided into the following categories: Tutorial, Information, and Performance. This should make them easier to search. Some of the videos may appear in more than one category.

For videos on music theory, and musical subjects of general interest (for example, Instruments of the Orchestra), see the Musical Knowledge section.

Better piano learning

Animatedpiano.com is currently creating a series of its own tutorial videos. These videos aim to go further than the average music tutorials found on the web. For example, an animatedpiano.com video will usually include notation as well as an animated keyboard view. Teachers and dedicated students should appreciate this, because it will help to encourage reading and understanding of the music.

Every video produced by animatedpiano.com will aim to include as much information as possible, build your skills as a musician, and help you to learn more. Many of the videos will be fun to watch as well as being educational! Fingering, note reading, and piano technique are some of the topics planned to be covered in videos.

More Resources

In the More Resources group of pages you will find all the stuff which is not covered by ‘Sheet Music’ or ‘Videos’ categories.

The Information and Ideas section is for text articles (like this one) which do not contain any embedded video or audio.

Flashcards, Scale Checklists etc.: these are printable resources. Some are for the early stages of piano learning, such as note-naming flashcards. Some of the checklists will be for exam preparation, and will follow the UK’s ABRSM syllabus. Material for other UK exam boards may be added at a later date.

Teacher Zone: this section contains information and links which may be of interest to piano teachers and adult learners.

Keep a watchful eye on the What’s New page to see what’s coming up.

We’ve really enjoyed putting this website together, and we hope you like it!