A Chord

The A major triad, more commonly called the A major chord or simply the A chord for short, consists of the notes A, C-sharp and E. Here it is on the treble clef staff: Here is the A major chord on the bass clef staff: Here are both of the above chords on the piano: As a major triad, the A chord consists of a major third plus a minor third. Read more »

Essential Ear Training

There is one ear training skill that every musician and every music student, including absolute beginners, must develop. It should be done from the very beginning of music study and is a suitable exercise for the first lesson and to test a new student’s overall musicality. This skill makes all future ear training and musicianship work possible for both student and teacher. Without it, the teacher cannot guide the student’s progress in the critical area of ear training, the most essential aspect of musicianship. Read more »

Solfège: An Introduction

Doe, a deer… Solfège is a system for singing notes. If you’re familiar with the famous Rogers and Hammerstein song “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music, you already know the solfège note names: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la and ti. A Brief History The first and last syllables have variants which are a matter of custom: In France, ut is sometimes used in place of do. (ut is rare, so we’ll ignore it here. Read more »

Online Piano Lessons

I’m pleased to announce the availability of online piano lessons with me personally, from anywhere in the world! Direct, one-on-one piano lessons online are a highly practical solution for students seeking expert teaching but who are not, or are only infrequently, in Vienna to work with me at my studio. The lessons take place via Skype, which makes free video calls in high quality possible. I can offer FaceTime support for those with Apple devices (Mac, iPhone or iPad) as well. Read more »

Bass Clef

This video is an excerpt from my course, How to Read Sheet Music, available to key-notes members. Let’s take a look at the F clef. Here is the symbol: Whichever line this clef is placed on is the F below middle C. For piano music it’s placed on the fourth line from the bottom: Notice how the two dots in the F clef symbol straddle this line? When placed on this fourth line up, it’s called the bass clef. Read more »

Treble Clef

This video is an excerpt from my course, How to Read Sheet Music. This symbol is called a G clef: It’s called a G clef because it curls around the note G. Whichever line the G clef is centered on is G. Let’s see it on the staff… This is a treble clef. “But you just said it’s a G clef!” I can hear you saying. Let me explain. Read more »

My Practice Routine

Question: Hello Albert, I often read about practicing on your website, and you write a lot about how to practice efficiently, and how you get the best results. But if someone (like me) tries to focus on all the things you tell us on your website, it can be kind of hard to keep everything in mind. And another thing is, that your website isn’t the only one with tips and so on. Read more »

Urtext Editions

Question: In your opinion, which are the best urtext editions with regards to fingering, paper quality, critical commentary, etc.? Thank you, Marcel (Ireland) Albert’s reply: First, it’s essential to point out that there is no such thing as a true “Urtext” edition. I’ll explain a bit what an Urtext is before giving my personal recommendations for the standard piano literature. The meaning of “Urtext” The German prefix “Ur-” means “original” or “authentic,” as in the original version of something. Read more »

How to Practice Polyrhythms

Question: What is your advice for playing polyrhythms? For example, simple polyrhythms like triplets against duplets or quadruplets and odd ones (Chopin’s favorite) like 4 notes against 35 or 13 notes. My approach is lots of practice hands separately with the metronome but the odd ones seem impossible to be subdivided. Thank you for the wonderful insights on this website! Christopher Cheng (Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia) Albert’s reply: First it’s important to master the most basic of polyrhythms, 2 against 3. Read more »

A Musician's Fitness Routine

Question: I’m a music student—a piano student—and also I want to start a fitness program. Can it damage my piano technique? I mean, how can push-ups, pull-ups, yoga, isometric training and so on bring me problems with practice, and if this is the case, what kind of fitness routine do you recommend? Thank you! Juan José Jiménez Vallejo Albert’s reply: I’m actually training for an Ironman triathlon and am in fact writing this on the train on my way to run the Prague Marathon. Read more »