Covid-19 Update: Private Lessons Via Zoom For DK Subscribers & Fans
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
Welcome! If you’ve come to this page because you’ve enjoyed one of my free YouTube tutorials, please know that I—Bruce Siegel, aka DoctorKeys—am alive, well, and eager to support you in your musical journey. The video you saw probably came from one of my online courses, the first of which, Play & Sing, is in its 10th year of helping students get off to a great start at the piano. So if you’re tempted to subscribe but wonder if I’m here to answer questions, to deal with technical issues (rare), and to celebrate with you as you experience the thrill of achieving your musical goals, the answe ..read more
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The Right Step At The Right Time
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
I recently received an email from a subscriber to Play & Sing named Robert. He needed some help. Based on what I was hearing I suspected that something was amiss, so I asked,  “Are you practicing the lessons in the order I present them?” He replied that he hadn’t understood that the lessons “were in a logical order.” Now, I call Play & Sing a course for a good reason.  In the first lesson, I explain the sequence of the tutorials, their logic, and I discuss the importance of mastering one step before going on to the next. But hey—I understand where Robert is coming from ..read more
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A Treasure Trove of I V vi IV Songs
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
Recently, while helping one of my students choose some new music to learn, I came across a really cool (and free) resource. I had gone online looking for a list of songs that stress the chords in her current vocabulary—I, IV, V, and vi. (“vi” is lower case because it’s minor.)  In the key of C, that would be the C, F, G and A minor chords. And wouldn’t you know, on Wikipedia I found a massive list of songs containing those very chords, in the form of the  I V vi IV progression, and its moodier minor-key cousin, vi IV I V. (They’re the same sequence, really, just starting from differe ..read more
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Is This My Most Important Tutorial Ever?
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
If you first learned about my courses by watching my YouTube video Piano Technique, A Whole Body Approach, you’re not alone. For the past seven years now, I’ve been reminded of its value over and over through the comments it receives (not to mention its over 100,000 views). For example: “I scrolled through so many videos before this on ‘wrist movement while playing’ before I came across your video and I wish I had found yours first! Thank you for explaining this so simply and humbly! It really made sense!” It seems so obvious: we play the piano not just with our fingers, but with o ..read more
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Finding The Best Key For Your Piano/Vocal
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
Haven’t posted here in a while. So to help me get back on Santa’s “nice list,” here it is: my second longest post ever. A free tutorial, really. Enjoy! I’ve said it elsewhere and it’s worth repeating: there’s a huge difference between singing a song in a key that sort of works, and singing it in the key that brings out the best in your voice. Clearly, you want to spend most of your time singing notes that are comfortably within your range—not too high or low. But often (I see this frequently with my own private students) we’re lazy about finding that ideal key. Or maybe we think it’s too hard ..read more
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Assorted Musical Goodies
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
First: Making Music Magazine recently asked if I’d be willing to share one of my tutorials on their excellent site, and I told them I’d be delighted to. The lesson is entitled Piano Accompaniment Styles For 50 Great Songs, and, as they describe it: Get started playing your favorite songs with this jam-packed video. You’ll learn the basic chords (I, IV, and V) at the heart of countless tunes, how to arrange (invert) them for maximum effect, and how to make it all come alive with rhythm and bass line. Virtually a complete course in one crystal-clear tutorial. Starting Monday July 9th, you’ll f ..read more
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Is A Bouncing Wrist A Good Or Bad Thing?
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
I just received another great question, this one from a subscriber named Florence. She asks: My piano teacher has been complaining that I bounce my wrist a lot when I do scales… but you are suggesting raising the wrist and letting it drop so that the wrist and arm is parallel to floor which makes sense. When I asked what is wrong with bouncing the wrist, she said that it may slow me down when I want to play faster…. can you tell me what your thoughts are? i am really struggling with proper technique. This is a frequent and understandable source of confusion. So here are my thoughts. When you ..read more
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Do I Need To Learn Scales?
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
I recently received this question from a woman named Lecia: I’m trying to learn how to play the piano by ear for fun and enjoyment, and although I know how very important it is to learn scales, my question is: Does one learn the scales (all 12) so that they’re so ingrained in your brain that your fingers know exactly where to go when forming chords to play songs? All the videos and info that I’ve watched and read, push ‘learning all the scales’ so much, that I’m beginning to get paranoid about them. Great question! I’ll bet other readers are wondering the same thing. So here are my thoughts ..read more
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Learning To Improvise: A Musician’s Manifesto
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
Back in the 1950’s, I was taught to play the piano through a process of learning to read notes on a page. Though this is characteristic of instruction to this day, I’ve posted here before about the reading-first approach and its limitations. Happily, over the years, my interest in music persisted, and I thrived despite what I now see as a less-than-ideal start. But how I envied those who could improvise, or spontaneously play by ear their own versions of familiar songs. Many of them had much less training than I (with my studies at Juilliard, and my later Bachelor in Music degree). For me, imp ..read more
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Saved By The Tick
DoctorKeys' Piano Blog
by Bruce Siegel
3y ago
Do you ever use a metronome when you practice? I don’t mean all the time, but sometimes? If not, it’s probably because you haven’t yet learned how helpful this little device can be. Starting with the most basic of the metronome’s functions, here’s what I mean: 1. It can help you learn to play in time. Pianists have a reputation for terrible timing. Do you know why? It’s because we so often play by ourselves. If your instrument is guitar, flute, violin—just about anything besides keyboard—chances are you often jam with other musicians. Maybe you even play in a band or orchestra. But we pianists ..read more
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