|Questions with the Creator|
What is PianoWithMichael.com and LearnPianoWeb.com?
PianoWithMichael.com and LearnPianoWeb.com is an Online Tutorial concept intended to provide anyone, especially those without the time and resources, the ability to learn the basics of reading, playing and creating music on the piano or digital keyboard.
We’re aiming to design the concepts and materials to appeal to children so they may learn the basics of reading music. Once they learn how to read and translate to the piano, we’re hoping they’ll be excited to learn their favorite Disney, Pop Artist, and Old Children’s Favorite Songs, or any music that inspires them to keep playing and stimulating their minds.
We’re continually working on the processes and hope to have something that will also appeal to adults – as it’s never too late to learn or jump back into it! There is extensive research that indicate the learning, playing and creating music on the piano has tremendous cognitive benefits no matter what age, and that perhaps may even reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Once we provide the basics of learning music on the piano to anyone, we hope that some will find an internal passion to seek formal lessons and challenge themselves to climb as far up the performance ladder or aspire to become an inspirational instructor to children.
Are you trying to replace Piano Teachers?
If you are a teacher, we’d love to help promote you and your services. Contact Michael for more information.
What is your philosophy?
You can see Music Programs effectively being pushed out of School Curriculum and Budgetary Considerations, and more parents are electing to encourage or support their children in after school sports activities – perhaps for physical development and team/social bonding. Unfortunately, music studies, particularly the piano, can be a solo and lonely endeavor with efforts seldom recognized by peers.
However, we strongly believe that artistic expression through music and the bi-hemispheric stimulation of the brain through the coordination of two hands and ten fingers while playing the piano, can increase cognitive processes that will help our children compete in the impending future of Automation, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
What is this Left/Right Brain Theory?
Again, in a very Basic, Rudimentary outline we believe:
Since we are an overly dominant Right-handed society, perhaps more of the Left Brain attributes may be accentuated. Increasing Left-handed coordination, particularly in a creative and deftly controlled manner may accentuate more attributes associated with the Right Brain.
Learning to Play and Create music on the piano, especially in a spontaneous or improvisational (imagination) mode while using both the left and right hand in complex manners may also help to facilitate better communication between both brain hemispheres, or increasing neural stimulation through the Corpus Callosum.
We understand this is all theoretical without empirical data, but deductively we think it might make sense from an extremely rudimentary understanding. In addition, the Creator of this site has noticed an extremely profound change in his cognitive processes after embarking on a two year exercise schedule to increase Left Hand/Finger dexterity and creative expressionism. Or, perhaps it provides a stimulating thesis and reason for families to learn music on the piano!
Can Anyone Be A Musician?
Many people say they don’t have a Music Mind and can’t keep a beat. We believe in the contrary and that everyone can play – it’s just a matter of effort and initiation…and perhaps some solitude for the Stage-Frightened people like we once were. But similar to riding a bike, once you learn to play you’ll have a life-long ability to enjoy the fruits of playing and creating music on the piano – just be sure to practice and enjoy as often as possible to stimulate the mind!
What is Passive Vs. Active Neural Stimulation Theory?
For children and the developing mind, comprehensive studies validate the positive benefits to cognitive processes, emotional awareness, self-confidence, language, math and science, and memory when active in piano / music lessons. These traits then often contribute to successful career endeavors and lifelong interpersonal skills.
For us adults, studies show that learning music on the piano can induce Neuroplasticity (creating new neural mapping) in areas of the brain not engaged in passive entertainment. Furthermore, studies reveal that it’s never too late to learn and play music on the piano, and that adults who learn to play, though later in their lives, improve both their cognitive processes and their emotional “i.q.” Other studies, like any activities that challenge the brain, can reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s.
When should our children take lessons?
In regards to the piano, finger and hand size may also determine the proper age to start. The width of finger span might influence the complexity of songs and exercises first introduced, but will increase along with the growth of the hands and fingers, and increased dexterity.
Do you recommend a Piano or Digital Keyboard?
However, pianos can be expensive, cumbersome and impractical for many families and their living situation. Digital Keyboards (or Digital Pianos) are often economically and conveniently more practical. Most digital keyboards have a headphone jack so that students can practice in private, and will typically have numerous sound samples to help keep the younger learners creatively engaged.
If you do find the appeal of a Digital Keyboard over a piano, we highly recommend one that has “weighted” keys to simulate the feel and pressure of a real piano. This will ensure proper finger strengthening and allow for emotional expressionism through touch sensitivity (or graded pressure response – the heavier you hit the key the louder the sound). Also, we recommend one that has the full 88 keys and 128 polyphony. A sustain pedal (dampening pedal) is a must. But recording, sampling, midi control surfaces and nobs are not necessary – but will add to the creative process, which is our fundamental goal.
Did you study Music?
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the extraordinary music of Beethoven, Mozart and J.S. Bach that I really became fond of trying to become better. Their piano music, even the more “simplistic” renditions for which I’m only currently able to play, required a more complex, organic and emotional reflection on my finger and hand movements than the “typical” popular song. But the demanding requirements to understand the note duration and location on the staff facilitated a more comprehensive learning, reading and playing music on the piano.
Having limited tutelage in formal piano lessons or piano pedagogy and trying to instruct others to play is probably frowned upon by many professional teachers and students. But I believe it is absolutely critical in our current society to promote Art and Music from every possible angle and path to develop a more balanced society. So I am quite comfortable in using my basic understanding of the complex dynamics of music to promote to others the essentials to start on their own journey into musical expression and cognitive stimulation. In time, I hope to team up with more seasoned and qualified teachers in various genres. But until that time, I’ll promote what I know and how I know so that anyone can benefit from music.
What is Free Association Playing?
I believe along with rote performing and strict adherence to proper musical standards, which is essential in learning music, developing the creative and Artistic performance is just as important. Perhaps the improvisational and free association playing can further stimulate neural areas of the brain not necessarily utilized in Rote Performances.
Why do you promote the Piano/Digital Keyboard over other instruments?
Most importantly from our basic thesis, we believe that the usage of both the left and right hands/arms will generate more neural impressions and improve cognitive processes.
Also, unlike traditional instruments, most digital pianos will come with headphone jacks. This will allow for the complete, unabated practicing or creative composition without the fear of disturbing others.
Why are you an ardent promoter of Classical Music?
Most people understand that music has an emotional effect that’s hard to consciously or subconsciously ignore. If one listens to an aggressive Rock or Rap song, they may feel a certain emotional agitation that is state-dependent of the composer’s emotional state. Likewise, if one listens to a slow, emotional ballad song one might be inclined to feel a sense of love. Or perhaps feel a sense of depression and remorse if listening to an emotionally darker song. Music has a way of emotionally bringing the listener to the mindset of the writer or composer.
We believe that most of the classical music that has endured to today, especially the upbeat, highly energetic pieces like the 1st and 3rd movements of most piano concertos by Beethoven, Bach and Mozart, were written with a certain philosophical and spiritual understanding of life that may not be prevalent in today’s social parameters. One is certainly elevated, psychologically or spiritually, by this State-Dependent musical congruency theory through the loftier music written by highly spiritual, intellectually regarded, and passionately driven Artists. Our theory is that this music has a transcending affect, both neurally and psychologically, that may have an “Awakening” effect, as it’s often more organic, complex and revolutionary than today’s Tribal Music.
Perhaps the regard and devotion by some of our greatest minds will attest to the enduring social significance of the music written by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and other highly esteemed Musical Artists. By the way, we don’t use the word Artist as a loose term for someone who simply thinks and exudes outside of our square society. More so, we consider the Artists as those that blaze a path through humanity with a purpose loftier than the self….if that makes sense!
Also, we believe that the music of the Great Masters may simply have a healthier and more stimulating message for our children than today’s current popular music.
What is that you hope to achieve through your passion?