25 Websites that Will Improve Your Music Practice

I am a list maker by habit.  It's just something I gravitate towards naturally.  I also love to plan and help others be organized.   So, this list of 25 Websites that Will Improve Your Music Practice is a great resource wither you are just getting started or feel like your practice could use a pick me up.  Don't feel like you need to read these all in one sitting or get frustrated if you find some contradictions as you read.  There are so many different ways to teach and experience music and so many different ideas on how to do just that.  You have to learn to pick and chose what works best for you.

If you find a website or article that should have made it to this list or you have a great practice tip to share please pass it along in our comments section.  I would love to hear from you!  Happy Practicing!
  1. How to Practice at the Piano
  2. Fundamentals of Piano Practice
  3. Concentrating while Studying
  4. How to Practice Sight Reading Piano Music
  5. How Jazz Pianists Practice
  6. How the Pros Practice 
  7. PracticeSpot: Ideas and resources for great music lessons
  8. Practice, Practice, Practice...Music Study Skills 
  9. Developing Great Practice Habits 
  10. Tips for Effective Good Musical Practice–Music Blog Site 
  11. Become A Better Musician With Better Practice Habits / Bloggeron 
  12. The Importance of Dedicated Daily Practice In Learning to Play Music / Bloggeron
  13. Music Practicing Tips 
  14. Music Tech Teacher, Music Quizzes, Games and Worksheets
  15. The Collaborative Piano Blog 
  16. A Guide to Great Home Music Practice 
  17. Performance Preparation 
  18. BBC - h2g2 - How to Practice Music 
  19. eHow - How to Practice Music Effectively
  20. How NOT to Practice 
  21. A Shared Handout – “How to Practice”
  22. How to Practice Music Without Frustration
  23. 11 Tips for Practice time / About.com Music Education
  24. Doing your Practice
  25. How to Practice...Better Music Practice


Quote of the Week "I sense that the instrument is alive..."

"I sense that the instrument is alive - that when I listen closely for nuance and tone, the inanimate world of strings, wood, pins and steel comes to life.  When I honor the piano's vitality and complexity, I can't tell whether I am playing the piano or it is playing me."
--Michael Jones


Great Piano Posts

I was braining storming another great post for Piano Month and I began to remember some of the posts I had put together from the past that highlighted pianos.  As I began reading them and watching the videos I decided I had to share all of these in one place.  The list below includes some of my favorites.  Enjoy!



10 Piano Quotes to Celebrate National Piano Month

I love to read and share good quotes.  I feel that just a few well spoken words can make a big impact in someone's life and even motivate them to greatness.  That's why my "Quote of the Week" was one of the first things I added to this blog.  In September the National Piano Federation celebrates its National Piano Month and what better way to join in the celebration than with some inspiring piano quotes.  Enjoy!

1.  "Pianos are such noble instruments - they're either upright or grand." 
~ Author Unknown

2.  "The piano is able to communicate the subtlest universal truths by means of wood, metal and vibrating air." 
~ Kenneth Miller

3.  "One man gets nothing but discord out of a piano; another gets harmony. No one claims the piano is at fault." 
~ Author Unknown

4.  "I've never felt anything that moves me as much as my piano. I'm an emotional player. I don't really like people. I prefer my piano to people. It's totally reliable and it's alive. I can hear what it's saying."
~ Tori Amos
5.  "When you play music you discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed." 
~ Bill Evans

6.  "To play without passion is inexcusable!"
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

7.  "Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art."
~ Frederic Chopin

8.  "I sit down to the piano regularly at nine-o'clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous." 
~ Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky

9.  "It is wonderful how soon a piano gets into a log-hut on the frontier. You would think they found it under a pine-stump. With it comes a Latin grammar, and one of those tow-head boys has written a hymn on Sunday. Now let colleges, now let senates take heed! for here is one who, opening these fine tastes on the basis of the pioneer's iron constitution, will gather all their laurels in his strong hands." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

10.  "All I need is a big surfboard and a piano."

~ Dennis Wilson


Quotes provided by:


Quote of the Week "Families are like fudge..."

Harvey Family on the day of my Grandfather's Graduation
"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." 
~Author Unknown


Most Popular Piano Brands

What kind of piano should I buy?  That's one of the most frequently asked questions posed by new piano students.  Finding a good quality piano can be a difficult task but with a little patience and good information it does get easier.  The Music Education section of About.com is one of my favorite music resources and they put together a great list of the most popular piano brands on the market today.  They cover the company's history, awards and its different models.  The list includes the following brands:

If you are looking at used pianos or you want to figure out if the piano you inherited from grandma is still in good condition ask you piano teacher for the name of a local piano technician so they can come out and assess your instrument.  They can tell you if the piano needs replacement parts or if it's still in good condition.  All pianos need tuned at least once a year so they would also be good resource to get that done.   

This list covers the major players when it comes to acoustic pianos.  Next we will talk about electric pianos and what to look for.  Happy searching!


Video of the Week: The Song of the Cebu

Try this tongue twister on for size...

Ah moo moo moo, ah moo moo moo, ah moo moo moo, ah moo moo moo, ah moo.

Need a little practice?  This week's "Video of the Week" will whip you into shape.  Enjoy!

The Simple Woman's Daybook - September 14, 2010

For Today, Tuesday September 14, 2010

Outside my window...The dark night sky.

I am thinking...that I am so blessed right now and I need to hold on to that right now.
I am thankful for...the sweet moments I get to have with each of my children.  They are growing up so fast and learning so much.  It's such a blessing to be a part of that.
From the kitchen...Today we ate leftovers of my famous veggie chili and sandwich fixings.  Tomorrow I have plans to roast a whole chicken for friends and make broccoli cheesy rice.  Yummy!
I am wearing...some new duds I picked up from Savers this weekend.  I am loving these new jeans and a navy 3 quarter length sleeved t-shirt.  It's nice to get what you need and not pay and arm and a leg for it. 

I am creating...home design projects and plans for when we finally land in our new place.  I am brimming with ideas.

I am going...a bit crazy thinking about all the things left to do each day.  It's getting harder to get things done with two kids in tow.  I have to draw on all the patience I have to get through the day.  They want to help so much but that makes things not run as smoothly.  I have to work on finding some balance.

I am reading...some fantastic DIY design ideas for the home.  Check out this cool project from Censtational Girl for taking a not so fantastic brass chandelier and updating it with a bit of spray paint.  It's brilliant and basically free!

I am hoping...for direction and patience as we try to discern as a family where we are headed and what we we want to do long term. 

I am hearing...The ticking of clocks and the whirling of fans as everyone gets quiet and goes to bed around here.

Around the house...the vacuuming never ends.  I finished the floors in the kitchen and mudroom this morning and now the kitchen needs it again because I gave the kids crackers to munch on and they landed on the floor.  Silly me. 

One of my favorite things...simple suppers that help you clean out the frig and free up much needed space.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  More fun dealing with financial stuff and paper work so we can get a new house; Praise Band and Choir Practice at church; preparing a solo for church this Sunday & finding some time to play. 

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...Success Your Way shared this really neat desktop image to motivate and inspire.  It is to remind you to keep plugging along making your dreams a reality.

Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others at "The Simple Woman's Daybook" in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on simplicity...beauty of the 'everyday moments'. I will be posting a weekly update using this unique and simple format.


Quote of the Week "Nobody can do for little..."

Great Grandma Chaney with Little Madeline
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.  Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."
~Alex Haley

Happy Grandparent's Day!


Big Online Music Sales

Some of my favorite places to order music online are making it even easier to stock-up this fall by giving us great discounts of up to 25% off and free shipping .  Check out the latest ones that have hit my in-box.


Sheet Music Plus is having their annual G. Schirmer editions sale!   From now until September 29th over 3,500 titles are 20% off including great classical masterpieces for piano.  To make shopping easier you can browse by SMP Level, genre and composer.  They have also extended their piano methods sale until September 15th.  Get 20% off every piano method in the catalog, even the newest additions as well as teaching and instructional aids.  

For the first time ever, Prima Music has its entire catalog on sale for 25% off during its NEW Fall Festival Sale.  Don't miss this perfect opportunity to stock-up with all of the printed music and music accessories you will need for the Fall.  The Fall Festival Sale ends promptly at midnight on September 15, 2010.  Free shipping applies to all domestic shipments via USPS Media Mail. Other shipping options are available for an additional fee.

Save on sheet music from Musicnotes.com you print yourself with Volume Discounts.  By 2 -3 digital sheet music, guitar tab or Guitar Guru downloads and you’ll automatically save 10%!  Buy 4 -5 and save 15%.  Buy 6 or more and save 20%.  I take advantage of this great deal when I can group together a few up-coming church solos and music for the weddings I’m working on and purchase them all at once.  I also don’t have to wait for a book to arrive.  I get instant gratification.  I especially like that when I have only a few days to learn a song for a funeral or Celebration of Life service.


Something Beautiful

My daughter has taken to the princess bug.  When she turned 4 recently her birthday wishes included all the princesses we knew of and the dolls and accessories related to them.  I have no idea where this obsession came from.  My husband and I have always tried to present a more well rounded view of the world but for now we are stuck in princess land.  So, I was surprised and thrilled to find out that the people that bring us the VeggieTales have created the cutest Princess themed veggie movie, "Sweetpea Beauty: A Girl After God's Own Heart".

DVD Trailer: VeggieTales Sweetpea Beauty: A Girl After God's Own Heart

I am so happy to see a movie with so many positive messages for young girls and it doesn't hurt that it's in a medium that I know my family will enjoy.  Big Idea has also paired this movie with a song by Nichole Nordeman called "Beautiful for Me".  This is my new favorite song!  It's so beautifully done.  I have been playing the YouTube video for a couple days now and singing along with my daughter.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

'Beautiful for Me' by Nichole Nordeman

I encourage all of you share this movie with the princesses in your life.  Enjoy!


The Simple Woman's Daybook - September 3, 2010

For Today, Friday September 3, 2010

Outside my window...The last couple days have been rainy.  I am hoping for some sunshine today.

I am thinking...about all the things I would like to get done before my in-laws visit us here for the first time.  Usually we travel to them so this is exciting.  I am also wondering about this new house we are trying to get into.   

I am thankful for...my husband and all that he does.  We celebrated our 6th wedding aniversary on August 28th!

From the kitchen...I am planning to do some batch cooking today so that I can get some things done ahead of time before we have visitors.  Southwestern Pasta Casserole is on the docket today.

I am wearing...the usual comfy clothes while I get things done around the house.  They are my favorite.

I am creating...happy thoughts and positive vibes!  (At least that's the goal.)

I am going...to the store to stock up on groceries and to Home Depot to help find some under cabinet storage solutions. 

I am reading...The Complete Beginners Guide to Practice e-book.  (I hope to once I have a free moment anyway.)

I am hoping...for great weather for the next few days and a positive visit from family.  I am also crossing my fingers that our negotiations for a house go well. 

I am hearing...my son clicking buttons he probably shouldn't be clicking on the TV and my daughter munching fishy crackers. 

Around the house...more to clean and organize but we are on our way and a little playtime thrown into the mix.

One of my favorite things...The simple things that make life enjoyable. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: A trip to Powell Gardens and a dinner out to Cinzetti's our favorite Italian buffet;  Some time spent relaxing with family and friends;

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...A photo I took at Powell Gardens in 2009 during our last visit.  I can't wait to see the water garden this year.

Would you like to linger on the simple things...then join me and many others at "The Simple Woman's Daybook" in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those who are focusing on simplicity...beauty of the 'everyday moments'. I will be posting a weekly update using this unique and simple format.


Video of the Week: "Oh Happy Day!"

Last Sunday's worship at One Spirit UMC in Kansas City was quite music filled as we shared all the different ways we can come together and worship with "Glee".  Our choir sang the song "Oh Happy Day" by Edwin Hawkins.  I will either date myself or show you how young I am depending on your perspective but I have been singing a version of this song since 1993 when "Sister Act II: Back in the Habit" hit the movie theaters.  My parents and I sang the arrangement straight out of the soundtrack music book that I still have by the way.  Sunday's arrangement was not quite the same but still fun to sing none the less.

This week's "Video of the Week" is a two for one because I enjoyed the comparison as I did a bit of research to see what kinds of choreography people have put with this music and to remind myself of the Gospel style.  The first clip is the classic performance from "Sister Act II: Back in the Habit" with Whoopi Goldberg.  The second clip comes from the Choeur Gospel Célébration de Québec.  Enjoy!  

"Oh Happy Day" - "Sister Act II"

"Oh Happy Day!" - Choeur Gospel Célébration de Québec


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