three-piano-songs

Three Piano Songs That Are Nearly Impossible to Play

The question of “What piano songs are the most difficult to play?” has inspired friendly arguments among music lovers, likely for as long as piano songs have been composed. The issue of what, exactly, makes a piece of music “difficult” to play is difficult to define. For example, a song which is ten hours in length is going to be “difficult” regardless of the complexity of the song itself. Then there is the question of entertainment value. If a song is not pleasant to hear, then pianists will have little interest in playing it simply to take on the challenge. Therefore, the only true way to determine which piano songs
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The History of Sheet Music

Take a Quick Trip Through The History of Sheet Music – A Fun Infographic

Just like any language, musical notation has evolved over time. The stave, clefs, notes, accidentals, dynamics and other building blocks that we today recognize as notation didn’t always exist. Similarly, it wasn’t always as easy as downloading the sheet music you want in the key you need from anywhere. (Yes, those were dark times, indeed.) From stone to sheets to iPads, the portability of sheet music certainly has improved in the past 5000 years or so. Take a look at other ways notation, sheet music and sheet music publishing have advanced from ancient Mesopotamian beginnings to today. Click here for a printable PDF version. Click here to view the infographic
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MusicDictionary2

Contrafactum: What’s That?

A lesser-known musical term, contrafactum, refers to a song in which the melody is similar or even identical to another song yet contains different lyrics. One of the most popular examples of contrafacta are “What Child is This” and “Greensleeves.” While the lyrics convey very different meanings, the melody remains the same for both. There are several reasons for why a composer would choose to repeat one melody across two different pieces. Often times, the composer has chosen to reuse the melody from another piece because it brings together the beginning and end of a show. For example, “Come to Me,” also known as “Fantine’s Death,” is sung in the first
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Choosing the Perfect Audition Piece for You

Tips on how to do well at an audition are more or less universal, but the perfect audition piece is not. (Check out our Updated: 40+ Songs for Stage and Show Auditions blog post.) Each individual musician is different just as every performance of a piece varies ever so slightly from the one previous. There is no “one-size-fits-all” audition piece. Not saying it wouldn’t be nice, but it just doesn’t exist. There isn’t a perfected audition piece that will work for everyone the same. There is, however, a uniquely perfect audition piece for you. Musicnotes.com is here to help guide you through three basic steps to take when selecting the
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Benefits of Playing Music Infographic

Learn The Many Ways That Music Benefits Your Mind – Fun Animated Infographic

As musicians, we appreciate a vast array of music benefits that come from playing and practicing. For some of us, music helps to relax us. For others, it helps to pep us up! Sitting down at the piano or picking up our violin can offer a fun diversion, or it can challenge you in unique ways. Aside from the general pleasure we get out of practicing and performing, learning and playing music has proven benefits when it comes to mental, cognitive and emotional health as well. For example, did you know that playing music increases memory, coordination, and can actually alter your brain’s structure? School students who study music are
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resolution

Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions and Meeting Musical Goals

The new year presents us with the opportunity to consider what we may want to improve upon or accomplish over the next 12 months. Have you chosen your musical new year’s resolutions or goals yet? Read on to find popular articles relating to seven common musical resolutions, including everything from learning to play a new instrument to getting into tip-top musical shape for 2016’s auditions and performances! Resolution #1: Learn How to Play an Instrument Did you receive a new instrument over the holidays? Perhaps you used to read sheet music, but could use a bit of a refresher. We have simple guides to the basics of reading sheet music,
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Choral Audition

Choral Audition Tips from 6 Stand-Out Choir Conductors!

What do you really need to do when you’re auditioning for that choir, small ensemble, choral competition or festival? We’ve asked several of our choral director friends at the top of their game to tell us what they look and listen for. They’ve graciously shared their wisdom with us so that we can share it with you. You’ll notice that some of our experts give similar advice on a few topics. Pay special attention there, and do what they say! Read on, and get ready for your BEST choral audition ever! Rollo Dilworth – world-renowned conductor and clinician, prolific composer and arranger, chair of music education and music therapy at
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Learn how to read leadsheets

Learn How to Read Lead Sheets: The Theory Behind Music’s Most Versatile Pages

If you’ve searched through the Musicnotes.com catalog, you may have noticed pieces scored as “leadsheets.” If you’ve looked at a lead sheet, you may have asked yourself “Where are all the notes!?”  A lead sheet is a type of sheet music arrangement used by many instrumentalists, bands, and even vocalists. They may only be a page or two, but their uses are many! In this blog, we’ll go over some of the advantages of using lead sheets versus traditional piano/vocal/guitar arrangements, discuss what other useful information a lead sheet provides and find out how using a bit of music theory can open up new doors for our playing.  So, what’s
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TakeLessons2

Song suggestions for vocal auditions, special events and even karaoke!

We’re always on the hunt for new additions to our own repertoires, from vocal auditions and gig/performance songs to fun solos and duets for our impromptu company karaoke nights! Our friends at TakeLessons.com have put together a comprehensive guide of 400+ Songs to Sing for Every Occasion, complete with song suggestions, vocal practice tips, how to choose what to sing and more. There’s a ton of great content to explore in the guide. Molly R., a vocal instructor in Hayward, CA, offers her suggestions for what songs NOT to sing for a musical theatre audition.  Musical coach Heather L. shares her top 10 songs for sight singing practice (download sheet
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How to Read Guitar Tab

How to Play Guitar Tabs: Learn to Read Tab Notation & Play Your Favorite Songs!

Have you always wanted to play guitar, but are unsure about where to start? Guitar tabs offer beginning and experienced musicians alike a quick guide to playing their favorite songs. In this article we’ll explain the basics of how to play guitar tabs, give pointers on reading tab notation, and get you started on the right note with a FREE song and symbol guide! What is Tab? Tablature (or tab) is a type of sheet music scoring specifically designed to help guitarists and bassists quickly learn how to play their favorite songs. In addition to helping the reader associate fret positions with the notes on the staff, tablature also provides
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