Colorado Power Piano

Music Notes

Archive for August, 2014

That Which Gets Measured

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Peter Drucker, management guru, said, “That which gets measured, gets done.” As I used to be a management trainer and business consultant, I was very familiar with that concept. In May of this year I applied it to my efforts in sight-reading. I wanted to get better at it.

So I started keeping track every day of how many pages I sight read – that is, not practice pieces, but reading through books. (See the previous post on reading through books). Anyway, it’s been 4 months now and I thought you might be interested in how the project is going:

  • May: read 486 pages
  • June: read 573 pages
  • July: read 541 pages
  • August: read 539 pages (I thought I had slacked off in August, but I guess not).
  • For a total for the 4 months of: 2,139 pages.

If I continue at this pace for the rest of the year, I will have read over 6,000 pages of music.

This month I read Haydn, Mozart, Czerny, Sixties love songs, and the Keith Snell Quiet Classics book.

It does add up, and it’s fun! You should try it!

Til next time,


Free Piano Sheet Music – mostly Classical

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Last week our friend Marcelo in Brazil asked us if we knew about a piece called Berceuse Originale by Anton Schmoll. We didn’t, so we got a scan of it for free and recorded it and put it on our website. So, you may ask, how did we find a scan of a rather obscure piece of music – and better yet, get it for free? Well, there is a website that offers thousands of pages of free sheet music to download and print for your own use.




To print music from the Free Download site:

Go to the site:

  1.  In the Browse Scores box (left side of page) click on Composer Name.
  2.  Under the Alphabet, click on letter of last name (Example, S for Schmoll)
  3.  Choose composer name from the list displayed (Example, Schmoll Anton)
  4.  Scroll through list of pieces and choose by title or opus number (Example: Berceuse Originale)
  5.  Choose one of the Scans-usually there are several listed -try the firstone (Example: Complete Score)
  6.  It should automatically appear in your downloads. If not, look at it and choose download.
  7.  Use the File menu and choose Print to bring up the print dialogue box. (or short-cut  Ctrl-P)
  8.  On the left side of the box in the “PrintRange” section, choose Pages and enter in the page numbers you want to print (in this case All)
  9.  Further down on the left in the Print Dialogue box under Page Scaling: choose Fit to Printable Area and then you will get the largest print-out possible. Click okay

After you have printed it out, go to this link on our website to hear it Berceuse Originale

Thanks, Marcello, for introducing us to this wonderful piece.

Til next time,


Howard’s Theory Books

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Howard has written a series of 3 Theory Books.  They are not like traditional theory books in that they don’t ask you to do pen and paper exercises.  They are designed to be played!  So here are some instructions on how to get started using his Theory 1 Book: Chords and Accompaniments.


Learning the Chords – pages 2-14

Read all the paragraphs, not just the music. There is good information in the writing part.

Begin here, take your time, learn to play and “spell” each chord. Start with the White Key Chords on page 2. Play them with both hands and name the notes and the chord.

For example. C is C-E-G, Dm is D-F A and so on.

After you have learned all the White Key Chords. Go to page 3-4 and learn all the Major chords in the same way.

Then play Brother John in C and Brother John in D on pages 5-6.

Continue learning the chords until you have gotten through page 14.

This should give you enough of a foundation to take a “Fake Book” or “Lead Sheet” or book of hymns that has chord symbols and play along with them.


Learning the Left Hand Patterns – pages 15-34

Music becomes more interesting if you break up the left hand chords into rhythmic patterns. These pages show you how some of those patterns are formed and gives you examples to play along. Read pages 15-16 to see how it is done.

Then Take one LH pattern at a time, say the 4-beat broken chord on page 17. Play the sample Twinkle Twinkle little star with that left hand. Then you should take an easy Fake Book (for example, Introduction to Fake Music by Karen Pancoast and use that left hand for all the songs in the book. Then learn another left hand.

If you want to purchase a copy of Theory 1 here is a link

Til next time,


Seeing Music in Books

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

As I read other books on art or writing, I often find passages that apply directly to music and piano practice.  Here is a selection from a book on writing, this applies exactly to music. (Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg)

“This is the practice school of writing (music). Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It’ll never happen, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train you mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop. And you stop, hungry for the next time.

That’s how writing (piano practice) is, too. Once you’re deep into it, you wonder what took you so long to finally settle down at the desk (piano). Through practice you actually do get better. You learn to trust your deep self more and not give in to your voice that wants to avoid writing. It is odd that we never question the feasibility of a football team practicing long hours for one game; yet in writing we rarely give ourselves the space for practice.

When you write, don’t say, “I’m going to write a poem.” That attitude will freeze you right away. You have to give yourself the space to write a lot without a destination. I’ve had students who said they decided they were going to write the great American novel and haven’t written a line since. If every time you sat down, you expected something great, writing would always be a great disappointment. Plus that expectation would also keep you from writing. (or playing all the great music)”

Just Do It!

Til next time,


First Pieces – Czerny

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Hello friends,

It’s a new month and time for a new composer. I surely enjoyed Beethoven last month and played the Sonatina in G at our monthly Soup Group. I also played the Haydn Concerto in C with Howard. I have found that since I started this composer a month project, I am enjoying all the composers much more than before and I’m getting to know their style and their predictable patterns.

So, on to Czerny for this month. Czerny was probably the greatest piano teacher ever. He was a student of Beethoven and he taught Franz Liszt and many other famous 19th century pianists. An interesting fact is that later in his life when Beethoven was too deaf to perform his own works, it was Czerny who played the premier performances of pieces like the Emperor Piano Concerto. He was a great performer and composer in his own right.

You can check out the Czerny that we have recorded here.

Here is a list to get you started:

  1. Opus 599, Number 19
  2. Opus 599, Number 22-23-24 works well as a little piece
  3. Opus 599, Number 26

Then –

Opus 823 1st half, but start with Number 11

Opus 599 1st Half, but start with Number 11

Opus 139 1st Half

 Til next time,