How To Read Piano Notes And Keys – Visual Teaching Material For Piano Teachers


Sight reading plays a huge role in instrument learning, not just piano. 

And yes, most beginners hesitate and neglect in sight reading because it requires left brain functions: memorizing stuff and thinking logically.

That’s why I created a visual guide on how to read piano notes and keys. With friendly illustrations, it would help students acquire the information much faster, easier.

Below is the summary infographic for the guide. You can click here to learn more about the original guide with two different approaches to learn the pitch names: Left-brained and right-brained.


Please include attribution to with this graphic.

How To Read Piano Notes And Keys Infographic


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Getting Through A Show When Everything Goes Wrong


Guest post by Patrick McGuire. This article originally appeared on Soundfly’s Flypaper

The thought of playing a show fraught with performance mistakessound problems, and an unengaged crowd is one that keeps musicians of all stripes awake at night. It makes perfect sense, too! After spending god knows much time, money, and personal sacrifice writing and creating great music, you feel a lot of pressure to deliver a flawless live show every time you hit the stage.

But here’s the rub: Things go wrong in live shows constantly, and the problems you’re likely to experience aren’t always predictable or preventable, nor are they abnormal in any way. Especially when you’re on the road playing night after night, with different sound in different rooms with different support acts and different audiences, it’s a miracle we’re even able to perform well at all!

Here are a few ways to get through shows where nothing seems to be going your way.

Be as flexible as you can about last-minute show changes.

If you’re the type of musician whose world immediately crumbles when your set time changes at the last minute, or when you’re forced to use backline amps and drum kitsrather than your own on short notice, then you might need to reevaluate your expectations. Unless you’re playing a sold-out theatre, set times are likely to move around a bit to accommodate everyone’s needs. And venues tend to operate on wildly varying degrees of professionalism.

If you’re an independent band embarking on a month-long tour, you should absolutely expect problems to show up in the form of inconvenient last minute changes. But while those changes are a huge pain to deal with, they’re usually unavoidable. Rather than fighting them or letting them bother and distract you throughout your performance, just play the best you can and try to minimize any other variables. Especially from the audience’s standpoint, if fans see you constantly fiddling around with your amp settings, showing your discomfort, it will throw them off, too!

Try to be flexible, well prepared, and expect last minute changes to occur, so they don’t destroy your night.

Maintain realistic expectations.

Minor issues have the power to ruin your shows if your expectations aren’t realistic. Dedication, ambition, and striving for perfection are all great qualities — perhaps essential qualities in any successful musician. You should have high expectations for yourself and your musical goals! But setting unrealistically high expectations for how some gigs should go is a sure path to disappointment. Not every gig is Madison Square Garden.

Being prepared, talented, and lucky all aren’t enough to keep problems from happening to you during a show. There’s just too much out of your hands to ensure that every one of your performances is going to be made great by your efforts alone. This is where my advice to just try and have a great time comes in. You’re on stage rocking out with your friends, at the very least, you can have a good time doing it!

The key here is to prepare for a live show as much as you can, but remember to have a good time and roll with the punches, and great things will come from that openness of attitude.

Remember why you love playing music and focus on the audience.

When a show is truly going off the rails, one of the best ways to inoculate yourself from despair is to actively remind yourself why you love playing music so much in the first place. This might sound a little self-helpy to some, but if you’re in the middle of a set that’s going poorly and you’ve still got five songs left, it could be the one thing that saves your show. Remember, audiences only tend to remember the first and last few songs in your set, so try to go out with a bang and make a lasting impression!

We musicians are notorious for getting in our own heads. You might think your show is going horribly, but what does the audience think? After all, live performances are for listeners, not for you. You can and absolutely should scrutinize and address problems occurring in your shows, but that should happen long after you’ve left the stage. While you’re on stage, your priority should be your audience.

Focusing on your audience’s experience, and simply having a great time no matter what happens, are two of the best pieces of advice for getting through even the worst of shows. Performing live is never perfect, there are always risks, but we musicians have to take those risks for the sake of our craft, in order to do what we love.

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The Huge Growth In Electric Pianos – Modern Digital Pianos


The electric or digital piano has come so far in the last 10-15 years with the increase of technology. I still have an older Yamaha digital piano that I purchased 15 years ago and it is crazy to compare them to what is coming out now. These keyboards are used all over music from studio musicians all the way to live performers. The good thing about these instruments is that they come in at all different price ranges. You can find a keyboard that is fairly cheap that still will get the job done for you depending on what you’re trying to do. 

Electric pianos allow the musician to access thousands of different sounds all the click of a button and most of them are geared towards musicians needing to be able to do this fairly quickly now a days. Most keyboards give the musician the ability to create live set modes so they can add and change sounds for each song accordingly. The more in depth you can get here with an instrument, the better. This is a huge plus for a keyboard for a player of any skill level just because all musicians want the ability so seamlessly change throughout different patches.


The Keyboard Workstation In Digital Pianos

Some digital pianos are keyboard workstations now a days. These are keyboards that are essentially full on recording studios built in to keyboards. They have a computer built into them so you can record directly into it. These types of digital pianos have usually thousands of pre-set sounds along with many different drum patches. You can track vocals into some of these keyboards and also automatically track drums by using the pads located on them. 

Workstations are being used in studios, but also being used by live performers. You can pre-program your entire set into a workstation and a lot of musicians will do this and also sample in any sounds they want as well. Keys on digital pianos in general vary, but some of them can be very high-end and feel just like the real thing. 

Why Do People Use Digital Pianos Over Acoustic Pianos?

Musicians are using digital pianos over acoustic pianos for many reason, but one big reason is convenience and weight. Real pianos weigh an insane amount and it’s not very practical for most bands to lug around an instrument weighing over 500 pounds every night. The electric piano has made some good advancements over the years so that their sound is sounding closer and closer to that over a real piano. 

I am a firm believer that digital pianos can sound better than acoustic pianos. A lot of musicians prefer a real piano as do I, but there’s no denying the sound on some of the high-end digital pianos. Not only do these keyboards have great piano sounds, they also tend to have really high-quality sounding string patches as well. 

For musicians who are just beginning, the digital piano is nice because they are cheaper than normal pianos and they all the musician to try it out before spending a lot of money on a real piano. There are entry level keyboards that are relatively cheap, yet still pack a good sound when it comes to replicating a piano sound or string patch.

Musicians Touring With Digital Pianos

Most bands who tour bring a digital piano with them if they have a decent amount of keyboards. Yes, there is a huge rise of MIDI controllers, but most digital pianos and workstations are also MIDI controllers now a days as well. Meaning, you can use your digital piano as a MIDI controller and have access to thousands of more sounds. This means the musician can play on their own and just use the normal stock sounds or they can plug in their keyboard with a computer or laptop and access more sounds from a DAW.

The Digital Piano Will Never Fully Replace Acoustic Pianos

Although the electric piano is far more portable than the acoustic piano, they will never full replace the acoustic piano in my opinion. Acoustic pianos will always have that organic feel to them that I don’t think anything synthetic will replace. Being able to slam on the keys of a Steinway or high-end piano is a great feeling that instantly brings out many emotions. 

Classical pianists almost always will prefer a piano over a digital piano for this reason as well. Yes, the digital piano has made some huge advancements, but it would take something incredibly groundbreaking for them to become more popular than an acoustic piano. They might even become more popular than the acoustic piano, however this would take time and something crazy. 

When I say more popular I get that there are hundreds and thosands sold, I am talking in a sense of higher level musicians preferring the digital piano over the acoustic piano. It will be fun to see how this changes over the years and I will be watching on!



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How YouTube Betrayed The Friendship Of Unsigned Musicians


This article questions the value of YouTube to unsigned artists. Why are YouTube still not paying unsigned artists for every stream?  There are 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every day, driving projected net advertising revenues of $3.96 billion in 2018. Google are starting to look evil.

YouTube a new distribution channel for unsigned artists

When YouTube launched in 2005, an exciting new music marketing channel was born. Forget TV, forget MTV, now there was the opportunity for any artist to get their music into the ears of music fans anywhere in the World. This promise grew further with the launch of the iPhone, and exploded with the rollout of 4G. Publishing had been democratised and anyone could be a star. 

Every band and artist in the world has a video on YouTube, whether home-made or professionally produced, artists are told… Video content is important, you must make videos. Videos drive views, and views means fans.

At the start, the message from YouTube was simple. Sign up, monetise your channel and earn money for your art. The earning’s and fame of YouTube stars Zoella were dangled in their faces as proof of the platform’s power.

How has YouTube escaped scrutiny for so long?

While Spotify were repeatedly getting attacked for their artist revenue share rates, YouTube miraculously escaped scrutiny. Despite the fact that their payments were far lower than Spotify’s and their streams were far higher.

YouTube traded off scale and views as its currency for success. It’s true, 23 of the top 25 videos on YouTube are music videos. But let’s be clear all of these videos are artists signed to major labels who invested significant money to guarantee a minimum threshold of views. Once you get to one million, it’s then far easier to get to the second and beyond.

It’s also worth questioning the value of a view. A view is registered on YouTube if a consumer watches just 30 seconds, YouTube will be quick to counter that more people watch videos for longer on YouTube than Facebook, which is only 3 seconds, but frankly who cares.

In reality a view means very little for unsigned artists. After all most views will come from existing family, friends, and fans. YouTube does very little to allow new fans to discover new videos by new artists. 

Most unsigned artists struggle to get more than 5,000 views for a video and that can take months. The chances of a video by an unsigned artist achieving significant ‘viral’ views without paid promotion is frankly preposterous, it just doesn’t happen.

Value to musicians should come because of the view, with payment for every view, not in the expectation that a view could lead to future revenue somewhere else.

The power of YouTube

YouTube has the music industry in a head-lock, and as ad revenues keep rolling in, why would they feel the need to loosen their grip. The music industry need them. Let’s not forget VEVO was the music industry’s attempt to take on YouTube, and now it’s nothing more than a channel on YouTube, most fans wouldn’t even be aware that it was intended as an alternative destination site.

YouTube is now the World’s second largest search engine, and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and we collectively watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube a day.  In an average month 80% of 18-49 year olds watch YouTube, and while linear TV viewing continues to decline, time spent on YouTube continues to increase. 

Faced with these kinds of numbers it’s hard to imagine an alternative, or rival video site offering a meaningful solution. Could Facebook be an unlikely white knight? Their increasing focus on video and TV is startling, but right now there isn’t even an option to monetise video at all! It seem’s only YouTube can make this right.

YouTube has an estimated 1.3 billion users who regularly watch music videos and it paid $856m (£650m) in royalties to music companies last year – an estimated 67 cents per user annually.  By contrast, income from the 272 million music fans who paid for ad-supported services such as Spotify, generated $5.6bn in royalties, or about $20 per user annually. (The Guardian)

YouTube has failed unsigned artists

In the last 5 years, the unsigned artist we manage, The Daydream Club have worked incredibly hard to become financially sustainable from their Spotify earnings, with over 50,000,000 streams. During that same period the same band have earned little more than £100 for their art on YouTube!

Rather than getting better it’s getting worse…

In 2017 YouTube’s offer to unsigned artists changed for the worse, not better. Now musicians can only monetise their YouTube channels if they have racked up 4,000 hours of watch time within the last 12 months or have 1,000 channel subscribers. Targets which are frankly beyond the vast majority of unsigned artists.

While Spotify pays unsigned artists for every stream, YouTube doesn’t pay anything unless these thresholds are exceeded. While parent company Google famously expressed their promise not to be evil, YouTube are starting to have a particularly vicious glint in their eye when it comes to unsigned artists.

Will it change? There is hope, YouTube recently lost a crucial vote in Brussel that will force it to pay billions of dollars in fees for users watching music videos. Great news for Sheeran, The Carters and T Swift but what impact will be felt at the grass-roots level. We are not holding our breath.

Words Mark Knight, Founder Right Chord Music

Photo Credit. Wesley Tingey

Further reading & learning

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On The Road: 5 Tips To Help Your Band Travel Light When On Tour


Getting your band’s name out there is not simple. One thing you might have to do is plan tours and commit to being on the road. One of the hardest things about being on the road is carrying a heavy load but you actually do not have to. The following are five tips for traveling light.

Light on Clothes

One thing you can do is stop traveling with all those outfits. All you really need is a pair of pants and a few shirts. You just have to make sure you wash your items every so often to make sure your clothes are clean by the time you are on stage again.

Localize Needs

Some people travel with shampoos or grooming devices to achieve the look they want. You do not have to since most hotels already come with shampoos and soaps. You can also buy these in local stores if needed. Those with grooming needs should simply visit a barber from time to time.

Use Movers

Part of what makes traveling as a band hard is all your equipment, which can be pretty heavy. The good news is that you do not have to lug these things around if you hire professional movers such as Walsh Moving & Storage. These guys should handle your stuff carefully, and you can even insure your equipment just in case. Those with multiple stops can create a moving plan to get your stuff where it needs to be on time.

Smaller Spaces

Sometimes, the best thing you can do to reduce the amount of stuff you are carrying from gig to gig is reduce your space. Travel in smaller vehicles, and make sure you all purchase smaller luggage. This will force you to limit the things you travel with and can stop you from buying things you do not need while traveling.

Use Carriers

Okay, there are times when you find something special on the road or you are given a gift. You cannot pass up the opportunity if you really need the item you found, and you shouldn’t throw away gifts. For these moments, you can simply use a carrier to deliver some of these things to your home, family member, or a friend so that you can continue on your tour without carrying much.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions make it easier for you to travel light. Make sure you pass on these tips to your band members because you should all travel light. It may seem like a sacrifice, but you’ll have an easier time this way.

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MPA CEO REPORT – AGM 2018 – Cut version


Good afternoon and welcome to the AGM.

The MPA Group continues to change and develop. This year we have said goodbye to the IMPEL digital licensing business and we wish them the best on their journey. Meanwhile MCPS will be starting a new multi-territory business in order to give MCPS members a digital licensing option “at home”. There has never been so much choice for music publishers – it’s a great time to be in our business.

Our AGM is an opportunity for us to update you on what we have done, celebrate some of our successes and tell you what are our key strategies going forward. The focus, however, is on getting stuff done, which is what we try to be about here at the MPA: Deeds not Words.

Over the past year we have held almost 100 members committees and meetings, featuring 110 different publishing executives from across 60 of our members’ companies. We’ve shared our members’ wisdom across subject matters ranging from public policy, finance, education and training, licensing, operations and so much more. These meetings are key in helping us achieve what we have. From setting and implementing our crucial lobbying strategies, to creating and monitoring the key performing indicators of MCPS’ ground-breaking new deal with PRS, to choosing the Richard Toeman scholarship awardees, each meeting delivers actions and decisions for us to implement to make our service and our businesses better.

We’ve worked hard at raising the profile of the MPA. Whether with our legislators (who are now regular guests at MPA events), with our customers (MCPS is a now sponsor of the AIM awards and the Production Music Awards), with our writers (MPA is now sponsor of the BASCAS Classical composer awards) and with education (PMLL this year created a schools competition called “Shake It UP”).   As the stats show, our twitter following is the highest, and most engaged, of any music publishing trade body in the world.

We intend to do much more regionally and although we are not yet able to livestream our events, we are planning to implement that soon, and in the meantime do record them to make them available to those who can’t attend.

One of the highlights this year to me was setting up a group for young music publishers provisionally called The YMPA.  This is a group who are passionate about the training of future music publishers, the need for a peer mentoring network and we are delighted that we will be working alongside this group over the coming months.

Our Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL) business is learning every day about the reality of music provision at primary and secondary schools and are delighted to have appointed Abigail D’Amore as our non-executive director, given her vast direct experience in the music provision of schools.  We think music education in schools is under threat.

At part of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnerships and through the YMPA we are hearing that the teaching of the business of music publishing could be improved. However our job is not to stand with our arms crossed tutting about the state of the nation or of the world. We have to make sure we are doing everything we can to help!

Here’s one thing we can all do: All of you at senior level should sign up for this charity (Speakers4Schools). It sends speakers into schools to talk about their careers. I do it and I can tell you it’s terrifying. The most I have to cope with here is you checking your emails. Try talking to a bunch of 13-year-olds in an innercity school, most of whom don’t have English as their first language. But even if just basically crowd control it’s incredibly rewarding and I’m delighted that we currently have Emma Mavrigiannaki doing work experience for us from the Speaker 4 Schools work experience programme S4S:Next Gen. Emma really is a credit to the programme.

Once in the music publishing ecosystem we often see your new starters on our famous Induction Course. This is a course which we have gradually changed over the sessions we have run this year to make it the most useful and most comprehensive it can be. We were also delighted earlier this year to run our seminar on how to grow a publishing company. We are also working on an advanced licensing course for music publishing which will run over several weeks autumn 2019, as well as running our bi-annual GCEP course in January and the joint MPA/MMF course. We are also about to launch our Census of music publishing.

With the help of Nigel Elderton we have also set up a publishers’ consultation group for ICE. Data is crucial for the growth of our two businesses, MCPS and PMLL, but so are the mandates under which they operate. These are two ambitious businesses and both are highly focussed on looking at future sources of revenue. PMLL so far only operates one licence – for schools.  There are opportunities for PMLL to license higher education establishments, music hubs, amateur choirs and online lyrics.  These are all areas where illegal photocopying is taking place but we have to license rather than sue and we need your mandates to do it.

There is so much we want to do and we are so ambitious to give you a trade association and businesses which are as dynamic as your own businesses, but we have to remember the journey as well as the destination. We must pause to listen to the music, to celebrate the growth and development of the executives around us and, I hate to say it, to watch the football. Thank you again for coming and I look forward to catching up with you over a drink this evening at our Summer Party.

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Recipients of the 2018 Richard Toeman Scholarship revealed


At the recent Music Publishers Association AGM, which took place on Tuesday 3rd July, the 2018 recipients of the Richard Toeman Scholarship were revealed by MPA Chair Jackie Alway. We are pleased to announce that this year’s publisher category winner is Safra Deen Farook and the winner of this year’s student category is Tom Bladon.

Now in its 12th year the MPA RTS scheme is designed to support the progress of outstanding individuals within the music publishing business, to encourage potential, or new, recruits to the industry to develop their skills and experience through study and to encourage each year’s recipients to give themselves the best chance for a successful career in the music publishing industry. The scheme has a proven track record of success.

The scholarship takes the form of packages of support designed to meet the needs of either existing music publishing employees who are new to the business, or final year student or recent graduates. Two winners are chosen each year.

This year’s publisher category goes to Safra who has been a paralegal at MPA Member Sony ATV Publishing for almost a year. She tried tirelessly to break into the music industry following her legal qualification and her Master’s degree in Musicology. She is a trained singer and pianist and uses her musical ability particularly to spot samples and infringements for Sony ATV’s works. Safra particularly wants to help others and mentor in the future as she recognises key individuals that have helped her get into the industry and she hopes to be able to pay that kindness forward as she progresses throughout her career.

This year’s student category winner Tom is a recent graduate from Leeds College of Music, where he finished with first class honours degree in Music Business. In the second year of university, Tom started his own sync library, called ‘Set the Scene’, providing music for student television and young filmmakers. This lead to Tom helping one of his lecturers set up their own publishing company, ‘Perception Music Publishing’, specializing in production music for sync use. It’s great to be able to recognize such an initiative.

A huge congratulations to both Safra and Tom, we hope this award will provide the necessary resources and support that you will need in this exciting next chapter of your career.

The MPA encourages all its members to consider whether they know someone who might benefit from the scheme next year and to spread the word as widely as possible, applications for the 2019 Richard Toeman Scholarship will open early next year.

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Meet the Panellists – MPA AGM 2018


Deeds Not Words: Getting S#!t Done!

Each year the MPA has historically picked a theme for its AGM, this year it’s ‘Deeds Not Words’, a phrase coined by the suffragettes. We’ve chosen this theme not only to mark the suffrage centenary but also because we want to champion those men and women who are less about “talking” and more about “doing”. 

At the AGM we will be taking a look at some of the MPA’s achievements from the past year but we also want to take inspiration from elsewhere and celebrate those who have gone above and beyond in their field and created something from the ground up.  The panel will discuss such topics as their challenges, their opportunities, the future and it impacts on women, how music has impacted their lives and much more. We will take a look at how far they’ve come and also take a look at how much there’s still to be done.

We are so thrilled to be joined by four incredible women all of whom have shaped the world through different means, whether through advocacy or more direct forms of engagement. Get to know more about our panellists below.

This is sure to be an extremely inspiring and thought-provoking panel and one we hope can influence real change within our industry and the music publishing community. 

Meet the panellists:

Catherine Mayer

Catherine Mayer is an author, activist, journalist and the co-founder and President of the Women’s Equality Party.

Her books include Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World!, the bestselling biography Charles: The Heart of a King and Amortality: The Pleasures and Perils of Living Agelessly.

An award-winning journalist, she began her career at The Economist, for 11 years worked as a London-based correspondent for the German news weekly, FOCUS, and in 2004, joined TIME as a senior editor, later becoming London Bureau Chief, Europe Editor and, finally, Editor at Large.

She served as the elected President of the Foreign Press Association in London from 2003-2005. She is on the founding committee of WOW—the Women of the World Festival and was a judge for the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Twitter – @catherine_mayer and @WEP_UK

Rachel Coldicutt

Rachel Coldicutt is CEO of Doteveryone, a think tank that champions fairer technology for everyone in society. She has spent the last 20 years turning emerging technology into products and services and helped many organisations adapt to the digital world.

She has created and delivered large-scale content-driven services for Microsoft, BBC and Channel 4, was a pioneer in the UK digital arts sector, and has consulted for many FTSE companies across a range of sectors including finance, energy and healthcare. She is also a trustee of the Fawcett Society.

Twitter – @rachelcoldicutt and @doteveryoneuk

Marie Benton

Marie Benton is the founder and CEO of The Choir with No Name, a charity running choirs for homeless and marginalised people.

At the time of launching the first choir in London ten years ago, she was a professional musician and choir leader, as well as a senior project worker at homeless accommodation provider StMungo’s. Having felt that homeless services often lacked a sense of fun and humanity, she combined her personal experience of the benefits of communal singing with her professional knowledge of the needs of people who’ve experienced homelessness, and so the first Choir with No Name choir was born.

She has since overseen the launch of further choirs in London, Liverpool, Birminghamand Brighton, collectively reaching over 800 homeless and vulnerable people every year. In between running the charity and bringing up her two small children, Marie is a proud feminist, a David Bowie fan and a recent convert to mindfulness and meditation.

Paris Cesivette

Music Producer, Musician and DJ Paris Cesvette is the most unique & freshest force in house music right now.

Her stylistic and bumpy sound has made her a trailblazer in combining Neo-Soul & Smooth Jazz to deep dance floor beats.  In her discography, you will find Will Downing, Terry Hunter,nFrank McComb, Kim Waters, Little Jimmy Scott, Junior Giscombe, Brandon Williams, Omar Lyefook and many more.

When she is not making music she is breaking it as an International DJ and radio host.
Tune In to her every Monday night at 8 pm GMT on Londons
Enjoy her No1 chart-topping album “Celestial” Out Right now!!

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