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Zee Huang

dick lee home lesson

Left Hand Piano Styles & Patterns

By | Piano | No Comments

Bosch Livestream on 9 May 2020, Saturday

Following our short piano tutorial on left-hand piano styles last Saturday, here’s a more detailed explanation of what was covered.

(Click the link if you missed the video! Or click here to download the chord sheet.)

Left-Hand Accompaniment Styles in Music

There are many ways to play a left-hand accompaniment on the keyboard, to convey different modes and show off different music genres. For example, an Alberti bass might sound like this:

Or, you could play the 1-5-8 pattern shown in the video, which is most commonly found in contemporary music. You might find some variation of it in “Faded” by Alan Walker or some parts of “River Flows In You” by Yiruma.

How to Play the 1-5-8 Left-Hand Piano Style

The example we used was “Home”, composed by Dick Lee. You can click here to download the chord sheet if you want to learn to play the left-hand accompaniment for this song.

The chords used in “Home” include C, Am, Em, F, G, Dm and E, represented by chord symbols hovering above certain words in the lyrics, indicating when they are employed. Chord symbols contain information that tell us what type of chord to play. C / F / G /E chords are major chords and Am / Em / Dm are minor chords e.g. A minor, E minor.

There are many types of chords – major, minor, diminished, augmented etc. Each has a different sound quality that lends a song different moods. You can learn the notes for each type of chord by Googling, but having basic knowledge of chords in music theory will help you derive those chords much easier than searching for each chord as you need it.  

To make learning easier, we will play “Home” in the key of C Major so we only need to use the white keys on a keyboard. Here are the notes for each chord, and be sure to play them with a 1-5-8-5 variation at steady intervals from one another.

Left-hand C chord Piano Style

C chord

Left-hand Am chord Piano Style

Am chord

Left-hand Em or E chord Piano Style

Em chord / E chord

Left-hand F chord Piano Style

F chord

Left-hand G chord Piano Style

G chord

Left-hand Dm chord Piano Style

Dm chord

Some words before you leave…

It’s not difficult to learn left-hand piano styles, especially with a plethora of YouTube tutorials out there. But with so much information available on the internet, it can be tricky choosing reliable tutorials that guide you correctly. The text highlighted in blue are important basics to know when you take your first steps into pop piano.

Want to find out more? Sign up for a trial lesson with us! Do also follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Up next…

Blog post: How to choose your first keyboard/piano

Pianists and their Beloved Pianos

By | Classical Piano, Music Articles, Music Instruments, Piano, Pop Piano, Videos | No Comments

Glenn Gould and his Steinway CD 318

In this article, we share the story of Glenn Gould and his piano – his search for the perfect piano, the ups and downs, and the tragedy that shook his world.

Glenn Gould’s Steinway Model CD 318, in his apartment in Toronto

When pianists love their pianos to pieces (literally)!

The music scene mourns the loss of a rare, one-of-a-kind piano, owned by Canadian virtuoso Angela Hewitt. The F278 Fazioli grand piano is the only one in the world fitted with four pedals. And has been used for numerous recitals and recordings since 2003.

Then last week, piano movers dropped the piano. The cast-iron frame was broken, amongst other parts of the piano. Alas, it was not salvageable and consigned to “piano heaven”.

There are times when piano movers drop pianos. And there are times when pianos fall off the stage. When the piano in question has practically become an extension of the artist over the years, it is a tragedy and the loss is immeasurable.

The Tragedy That Befell Glenn Gould’s Piano – the Steinway CD 318

Another case in point: back in 1971, movers dropped Glenn Gould’s piano en route from Cleveland, Ohio to Toronto. As a result, the famous Steinway grand, known as CD 318, had its cast-iron plate cracked in four places, soundboard broken, hinges bent and more.

Gould, best known for his interpretations of Bach’s keyboard works, did not outwardly express his devastation. But despite his determined pursuit for the truth behind the damage, his findings were insufficient to pinpoint the blame on any party.

A Pianist’s Search for the Perfect Piano

Before CD 318, the piano genius spent years, trawling continents in search of the perfect piano. His search took him from the Steinway CD 174 (on which the 1955 Goldberg Variations were recorded) to the small Chickering grand piano which Gould based his ideal piano on. Incidentally, the Steinway CD 174 was also damaged beyond repair en route to New York, returning from a concert in Cleveland.

Glenn Gould, known for playing the piano at an unusually low height

The Beloved Steinway Model CD 318 Piano

Then in 1960, Gould was reunited with a certain Steinway concert grand. He first played it in 1946, when he was performing with the Toronto Symphony as a thirteen-year-old! He rediscovered the old piano, tired, rejected, and forgotten, in the backstage of Eaton’s Auditorium.

Gould loved the piano’s extreme responsiveness. In his own words, it had “the most translucent sound of any piano I ever played”. He continued to use it for almost all his recordings. And it traveled with him wherever he performed.

The Broken Piano

After the fateful accident in 1971, Gould spent the next decade fruitlessly attempting to restore it to its former glory. His trusty piano tuner, the gifted, almost-blind Verne Edquist helped him.

Sadly, the piano was never the same again. The cast-iron plate was replaced, and the piano’s action had also lost the feather-light touch that Gould loved it for. He never really gave up on the piano. But in 1981, he reluctantly re-recorded the Goldberg Variations on a Yamaha C9 grand piano.

Tragically, Gould died a year later, having suffered a stroke that caused massive damage to his brain. He was buried in Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery, with the first few bars of the Goldberg Variations carved into his tombstone. A fitting tribute to a true piano maestro!

Glenn Gould’s tombstone, with the Goldberg Variations inscription

Glenn Gould’s Legendary Piano Lives On

Today, the Steinway CD 318 is on permanent display in Ontario’s National Arts Center. Together with it is the famous pygmy chair that accompanied the piano legend, Glenn Gould, for most of his life.

Invention No. 5 in E-flat Major, BVW 776, as recorded on the CD 318 (1964)

Has this article inspired you? To become a pianist and grow as familiar with your beloved piano as these famous pianists? We can help you start your journey! Just check out our website for more details on piano lessons!

ANZCA Piano Asia Representative Ms. Audrey Chin

ANZCA Seminar 2019 – Piano Syllabus

By | Events, News, Piano | No Comments

ANZCA Seminar 2019 – Piano Syllabus

ANZCA Piano Examination Syllabus

Group photo of participants with ANZCA Piano Asia Representative Ms. Audrey Chin.

An ANZCA Piano syllabus refresher!

Following our introductory ANZCA session in 2017, Vinnie Classroom organized a refresher session for the local ANZCA community yesterday. The ANZCA Seminar 2019 for Piano Syllabus was a success! Hands were shaken and new connections were made, as both existing and new ANZCA teachers came together in our humble little music school in Upper Thomson.

ANZCA Seminar

Piano teachers sharing their ideas and experiences.

ANZCA Piano Asia Representative, Ms Audrey Chin

ANZCA Piano Asia Representative Ms. Audrey ChinMs. Audrey Chin, the Asia representative for ANZCA, gave an overview of the syllabus for Modern and Classical stream students. She also treated us with a sampler of ANZCA’s new Jazz Syllabus, targeted at students Grade 4 and above. Audrey also shared some new insights regarding the Performance Syllabus and answered many of our questions about various aspects of the syllabus requirements. It was such a content-packed session!

ANZCA Jazz Syllabus

Jazz Piano Syllabus (ANZCA)

ANZCA community in Singapore

Although ANZCA examinations may not be familiar to some, but the community for ANZCA in Singapore is supportive and welcomes every dedicated teacher! Therefore, if you’re a teacher and would like to be kept updated on the latest ANZCA events in Singapore, simply email musicminders2012@gmail.com.

ANZCA Examination Syllabus

Anzca Piano Syllabus Q&A Session 2019

ANZCA Syllabus (Piano) Q&A (17 October 2019)

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ANZCA Syllabus (Piano)

Question and Answer Session (17 October 2019)

ANZCA syllabus piano examination Singapore

Anzca Piano QnA Session 2017.

 

2017 was an exciting year for us, as we formally adopted the ANZCA syllabus as our main offering for piano students. This brought us more in line with our teaching aim, which is to provide an all-inclusive music education that grooms students to be versatile musicians who are able to put their skills to practical use in various settings.

In July that year, ANZCA’s international representative, Ms Audrey Chin, visited our music school to give our teachers an introductory talk to enable us to maximize the contents and requirements of the ANZCA syllabus.

 

ANZCA Syllabus Piano Audrey Chin

Audrey demonstrating the songs from the syllabus effortlessly

Teachers, students and parents has been praising the syllabus for its varied repertoire and flexible choices! Especially for those moving away from a more traditional approach to learning the piano.

Vinnie Classroom is no stranger to ANZCA Piano Syllabus

ANZCA PIano Examiner Maureen Grieve

ANZCA Piano Examiner Maureen Grieve when she was here to conduct the piano examination in 2018.


ANZCA Piano Examiner MISA YAMAMOTO

ANZCA Examiner Misa Yamamoto was here in Vinnie Classroom to conduct the piano examination 2019.

Vinnie Classroom had the honor to conduct 2 rounds of ANZCA Piano Examination back in 2018 and 2019. We had received positive feedback about our location and facilities. Because we understand how it can be stressful to perform at a new venue, therefore we provide our candidates with a warm-up room. As a result, private piano examiners were very delighted! They now have a couple more minutes to prepare their students before entering the examination room. Certainly a bonus for everyone participating.

ANZCA Piano in Singapore

This year, we are very happy to receive Audrey once more. Vinnie Classroom will be hosting a Q&A session as a step-up, for fellow teachers of the ANZCA community in Singapore. The event will take place on 17 October 2019, from 9.30am to 12.00pm, and it is free.

Seats are limited to 20, so do visit our Facebook event page to RSVP quickly.