Monthly Archives: December 2013

12 Ways A Pianist Can Work Less And Get Better Results

teach yourself pianoA high school student named Steve works 10 hours per week, is taking 3 honors classes, plays sax in the high school band, runs track and still continues improving his piano playing.  How is Steve pulling this off?

He employs the principle 80/20.

Nancy works full time, is married, maintains an active social life and exercises at the gym five days per week.  However, she still continues developing her piano technique and expanding her repertoire.  Her secret is following the principle 80/20.

Isn’t it about time you started doing what these other successful piano students do to improve their skills while working on the best piano lessons?

In “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less,” author Richard Koch reveals an easier and faster way to achieve excellent results in all different aspects of your life.

Many authors, including Koch, draw on the Pareto Principle theory.  In 1897 Vifredo Pareto, an Italian economist, discovered the principle and showed that 80% of results come from 20% of your efforts.

The following are 12 different ways the 80/20 principle can be used to achieve great results without putting in a lot of effort. These are some of the best ways to teach yourself piano.

1.  Practice 10 to 15 minutes each day.  Practicing for 2 hours one time each week will not be nearly as effective.

2.  Instead of playing the whole song poorly, learn 4 of the pieces measures very well.

3.  Plan out in advance what music you will play during each practice session.

4.  Instead of speeding through all of the 12 scales every day, practice one different scale each day.  Use correct timing, fingering and technique.

5.  Instead of trying to memorize a whole chords catalog, learn one chord of every type (major 6th, 7th, diminished and so on).

6.  Instead of using place marks for your repertoire pieces inside your piano books, place them inside a loose-leaf notebook.

7.  Instead of relying on being inspired by your own playing, find special selections and listen to recordings of them.

8.  Instead of creating particular left hand parts for every measure, choose an accompaniment patter for the song’s bridge and verses.

9.  Instead of relying on music for playing 25 songs, memorize five songs which you can play anywhere at any time instead of using music to play 25 songs.

10.  Instead of playing the blues scale randomly, create a short melodic figure (repeating motive).  Use this for improvising on 12 bar blues.

11.  Instead of following chords printed inside a Fake Book, arrange a song ahead of time by setting patterns up of ii-V-I progressions.

12.  Set up performance opportunities for yourself that are low pressure (play for fellow students, family members, friends etc) on a regular basis. That way your goals will have time frames or deadlines for you to bring your pieces to performance level by certain dates.

Action Exercises

You can immediately do these three things to put the ideas into action.

The first thing you can do is choose one or two methods listed in the 12 ways above that fit in well with your level, style and personality.  Start using them right away for your practicing.

The second thing you can do is start each practice session by playing the most important piece of music for you.  One exception to this is if the selection requires you warm up prior to playing it with exercises or scales, do them before starting on your main pieces.

The third thing you can do is record yourself now and then 30 days later to monitor your progress.

After you start to notice the differences in how you play the piano, you will be able to clearly see that your progress is due to focusing on the most critical parts of your practicing.

If you start to use the 80/20 principle, it will amaze you at just how fast you will start getting better results with less effort from practicing the piano.

Turning Your Storage Shed Into a Greenhouse

Gardening has always been about advancing and finding better ways to save on costs and space. There is no better way to do this than turning your storage shed into a solid greenhouse which will facilitates better use of the available space. This will allows for a single multipurpose structure for your use instead other having twin structures such as a shed and green house. Basically, you will be able to store your gardening equipment alongside your preferred plants which also saves you on time and effort during gardening applications. So, what is entailed in the transition? You always want to start with the best storage shed plans that are big enough for your planned greenhouse.

A number of steps are involved. You want to start with proper planning. Begin by partitioning a part of the shed for the gardening equipment and the other part for your greenhouse. Blending in these two functions enables you to adequately partition the single structure based on your needs and gardening techniques.

Temperature Control:
Choosing a suitable location to erect your shed/greenhouse is of paramount essence. Greenhouses require adequate warmth and humidity throughout the season irrespective of summer or winter. It is advisable to erect the structure facing directly towards where the sun rises so as to warm it up after the cold winter nights. The type of wood used during construction also plays a crucial role in determining the final outcome of the structure as quality timber enhances durability and longevity through protection from bad weather and insect infestation.

The Structure:
Partitioning the structure is not as easy as placing a barrier between the storage and the greenhouse sections. A number of considerations come into play such as positioning and even the number of the doors placed on the structure. It is advisable to have a single access point from outside which should be erected towards the storage section and not the greenhouse. This is to enable the greenhouse section to retain warmth throughout. Once in the storage, another door facilitating access to the greenhouse is necessary so as to get the partition right and define the boundaries between the two sections. Remember to keep the greenhouse as warm as possible even if it means investing in specially designed trays and shelving if partitioning the two is not in your plans.

Addition of Light Sources:
It is a fact that greenhouses require adequate lighting if optimal yields are to be achieved. In view of this, changes have to be made on the shed to put in place natural sources of light and air such as windows. It is also advisable to place a transparent roof which allows penetration of adequate sunlight essential in the growth of plants. Remember to close in on loopholes and gaps that facilitate cold air especially during winter but only after putting in place proper air circulation mechanisms such as fans and vents for summer.

Transitioning from a storage shed to a greenhouse need not be as daunting as most tend to think. Arming yourself with a detailed construction plan and a workable budget may be all you need to achieve this goal.