Category Archives: Roland

The benefits of learning on a Digital Piano…

(via Roland)

The piano can excite, move, and inspire; whether you’re playing Chopin’s Scherzos or the intro to “Clocks” by Coldplay. The only obstacles are learning how to play in the first place and practicing enough to play well. Enlisting a qualified piano teacher gives you a strong start in establishing good techniques and avoiding bad habits. Digital pianos can make learning more enjoyable.

The Benefits of Learning on a Digital Piano

The benefits of learning on a digital piano are significant. Below we discuss some of the standout features that make a digital piano the perfect fit for most homes.

Before we begin, note that a modern digital piano is designed to accurately simulate an acoustic piano. Instead of hammers and strings, there are strategically-positioned speakers which produce a convincing and organic piano sound. Weighted keys recreate the feel of an acoustic keyboard for realistic playing experience. Also, the ability to change the sounds keeps learning varied and interesting. Some digital pianos even let you create your sounds to suit your taste.

Practice in Peace with Headphones

Most digital pianos let you plug in headphones. This can benefit both the learner and the people they live with. As well as avoiding distraction, headphones can block noise nuisance leaving you free to concentrate on private practice. Twin headphone sockets allow students and teachers to listen closely, spotting mistakes more accurately.

Develop your Sense of Rhythm with a Metronome

Timing is essential to playing the piano well. This is often an issue for beginners as they are still developing muscle and mental memory. It is useful to slow down or speed up depending on the level of difficulty.

Metronomes help develop your rhythmic and timekeeping skills. For instance, you can flick between settings and tempos on the metronome and slow pieces down to learn and master them. They can also be useful for more advanced time signatures.

Record and Listen to Your Performance

Recording your performance helps analyze exactly what’s going on in your playing. This will help identify your strengths and weaknesses. Digital pianos allow you to play back, perfect, and pick out any problems, nipping bad habits in the bud before they become ingrained.

Listening back to a recording can resolve issues with timing and performance. If you have a good memory, but struggle to read music, you can learn a piece by ear and study the music while listening back to your recording.

A digital piano allows you to transfer your performance to a computer, edit it, and print out a score. This allows others to read and play it too. Sheet music is useful if you’re interested in composition. You can quickly record ideas as they come to you.

Keep Practice interesting with Different Sounds

One of the benefits of learning on a digital piano is the variety of sounds available. For example, there are typically five to 10 types of piano, electric pianos from the ’70s and ’80s, strings, harpsichord, church, and electronic organs. Some even have synth sounds for even greater versatility.

It’s great to be able to learn Scarlatti pieces using a convincing harpsichord sound. A change in tone can inspire you and help recapture the passion if those fingering drills are becoming tiresome. Younger children also love experimenting and mixing sounds to make learning more exciting.

Use Apps to Improve Ability

A key advantage of learning on a digital piano is the access to online apps. Apps can help liven up practice and improve your playing. For example, Apps for sight-reading skills ask the pianist to identify written notes. Flashcard-style apps help with understanding music theory. Aural training apps develop abilities such as listening for particular scales or intervals.

A tablet device is particularly useful here as it allows quick access to electronically stored sheet music. When linked to your digital piano, some apps display a piece of music and listen to you play, before moving to the next page when you reach the last bar. Kids apps include fun games to learn a song, play together or freestyle to make practicing a pleasure rather than a chore.

Set Time Aside to Practice

It’s always difficult to learning something new. So, it’s crucial to put in dedicated time and effort. Just 20 minutes of piano practice a few days a week can help develop your skills and techniques. If you’re struggling with motivation, playing with others—even making mistakes together—is a great way to stay motivated. Digital pianos are packed with features that maximize your practice. You’ll achieve more in a shorter time.

Taking the Next Step

Learning the piano involves dedication and discipline. However, once mastered, the rewards are endless. A digital piano can offer a variety of sounds, useful practice features, and integration with the latest apps. Most importantly, you’ll get all of this without the worry about ongoing tuning and maintenance costs.

Digital Piano Advantages
  • Maintenance-Free: A digital piano doesn’t use hammers and strings to produce a sound so no tuning is required
  • Headphone Support: Practice any time of day, perfect your performance, and keep the neighbors happy
  • Touch and Sound Quality: Speakers are strategically positioned to recreate an acoustic piano sound
  • Record and Edit: A useful way to analyze your performance
  • Built-in Metronome: Helps develop rhythmic ability
  • App Integration: Helps develop ability and performance skills, keep you motivated and make learning fun for kids

Get information about lessons here!

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Tips for singer songwriters

Piano Self-accompaniment Tips for Singer-Songwriters

Backing yourself up as a singer can be a daunting task. Here are a few strategies to help improve self-accompaniment skills. Photos of Jordan West by Oscar Genel

Accompanying yourself as a singer can be a daunting task. The main challenge is dividing your focus between playing and singing. The secondary challenge is to keep the performance interesting and engaging for the listener. In this article, I’m going to share a few strategies that helped me improve my self-accompaniment skills.  

Practice Scales in All Keys

Running through major and natural minor scales is a great place to start. At the beginning of each practice session, play major and natural minor scales in every key. For added benefit, try practicing with a metronome in different tempos.   

This is a great exercise to warm up your fingers, boost your muscle memory, and improve ear training. It will also help you pay attention to rhythmic flow. Once you feel comfortable doing so, try practicing without looking at the piano.   

It’s worth noting here that apps like the Roland Piano Partner 2, which you can use with your Roland digital piano, make this particular task extremely easy.  

Start with Simple Grooves

A great place to begin is with simple grooves using the left hand. There are so many grooves you can play. But simple whole note, half note, and quarter note variations are standard in most accompaniments—especially ballads.   

As you get used to playing standard rhythmic patterns in time, start incorporating different combinations into your routine. For example, you can play quarter notes with your left hand, while you’re playing whole notes with your right hand.  

Roots, Power Chords, and Octaves

Try using your left hand to play root notes, power chords, and octaves. In most cases, you’ll feel inclined to play the root and the fifth degree of each chord more than anything else. This is especially common in genres such as pop and folk. But even for jazz and R&B pianists, it’s a solid starting point.

“By changing the order of notes, you can express different colors and emotions.”

Inverted Chords

You can also add variations by playing inverted chords with your right hand. Most piano players who are self-taught learn chords online and assume that there’s only one way to play them. But by simply changing the order of the notes, you can express different colors and emotions.   

For instance, there are three ways you can play a C major chord: root position, first inversion, and second inversion. Likewise, there are four ways you can play a C major seventh chord, with the added third inversion option.   

The more you practice playing inverted chords, the better. In situations where you want to improvise on the spot, you can rely on inversions to avoid panicking about playing the wrong note.  

Incorporating Arpeggios 

Arpeggios can save a performance from becoming stagnant. In fact, well-placed arpeggios will bring rhythmic excitement to almost any piece of music. Instead of playing the chord tones altogether, play them one by one, in the order and rhythm of your choosing.  

Read the full article here

Or find out more about Roland solutions for Singer-Songwriters here!

Roland LX 708

A great performance by Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons with a Roland LX-708 digital piano…

Roland was chosen to provide an LX-708 digital piano for Justin Timberlakes’ performance with Ant Clemons as part of the Inauguration Performance series!

Jordan Kitt’s Music is proud to represent Roland in Virginia, Maryland & DC, and have this model in stock today for you to see, hear and play for yourself.

Visit here to see the Roland LX-708 in action…

Live Mother’s Day Celebration Webcast with Jim Brickman!

Live Webcast with Jim Brickman — Mother’s Day Celebration

Live Webcast with Jim Brickman
Mother’s Day Celebration
Friday, May 11, 2018, at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT

Make Mother’s Day extra special this year with a free, live concert from Jim Brickman. Invite all the moms in your life and join us online for this free webcast featuring songs, stories, giveaways, and video dedications.

When you RSVP, you’ll be entered to win a brand-new Roland RP102 Digital Piano! Plus, you’ll receive a link where you can share a personal video message to your mom which may be selected to air during the webcast.

Click the button below to register, send your video, and let Jim make this a Mother’s Day to remember.

Register Now

Registration closes May 10, 2018.