Lesson 2: How to Play Piano | G Major Scale

Hello my fellow musicians,

This week, we continue with our piano lessons. Now that you know your musical alphabet, your correct fingering, and how to play a C Major scale, it’s time to move on to the black keys.

The black keys represent all the sharp and flat notes. If you play middle C and then go up a whole step to the next white key, you’ll play a D natural. But what is that black note in between C and D? It’s the half step pitch called C sharp (C#). You may also call this note a D flat (Db). In the video I explain why this key (along with others) have two names and when to call it by it’s proper name.

I recommend practicing daily in small amounts (15-30 minutes) over once or twice a week for 2 hours. The constant movements will make your hands more loose and you will gain accuracy and speed.

As always, I’m here to help. If you’re having trouble or have a question, just ask.

Happy Practicing!

-Michael

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How to Play Piano for Beginners

Hello my fellow musicians. This week we are learning how to play piano. I have heard countless times people tell me they always wanted to learn to play. Many of them have furnished pianos in their homes but, never learned how to play them.

For others, they just want to pick up an inexpensive keyboard. The great thing is, it doesn’t matter if you have a baby grand in your home or a small Casio keyboard. If you’ve never played piano but always wanted to, then watch this video.

This video is an instructional piano lesson for absolute beginners. Here I teach you the 3 main things you need to know to start playing today. In less than 10 minutes, you will learn the keys on the piano, the musical alphabet, what an octave is, and how to play a C Major scale.

All piano’s and keyboards vary in size. I show you how to navigate all piano’s so you can start on your specific piano today!

Questions? I’m happy to answer any and all questions. Just leave them in the comment section below.

-Michael

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How to play Cold Sweat by James Brown on the Drums

It’s time to get funky!

 

In this video, I show you how to play Cold Sweat by James Brown on the drums. Clyde Stubblefield is a fantastic drummer! He always seems to have that perfect feel of when to stay in the pocket and when to really funk things up. The real secret here is in the high hat.

I show you how you can build the beat from the ‘bottom up’ in this video. I feel the most challenging part of this beat is knowing when to open and close the high hat while playing the syncopated rhythm. This beat is for intermediate drummers and can be learned by practicing it slowly and then bringing it up to tempo.

For all my musician friends who read music, here is the breakdown of the main beat. The entire beat itself is a two measure pattern that repeats.

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  • High Hat – All eight notes. Open high hat on beats 1, and of 3, and of 1, and of 3.
  • Snare – Attack on beats 2, then a ghost note on the last 16th note in beat 2 as in 2e+a, the and of 4, then on beats 2 and 4 in the second measure.
  • Bass Drum – Attack on beats 1, 3+, 1+, 3+.

I hope this helps! Have fun with it and good luck!

-Michael

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How to Sing When You’re Sick

Hello singers. We are on the cusp of a new season. As exciting as it is to get out of this snowy, cold Winter and into Spring, we have to be on the defense. We all have to be more careful to avoid getting sick. In addition to our bodies getting used to the warmer weather, many of us suffer from Spring and Summer allergies. For those who take medicine to counter act the allergies, be aware that most brands dry out your whole nasal passage and your voice. This makes it harder to sing and sound like your singing-self.

I hope no one reading this gets sick or suffers from allergies. But, odds are it will happen. So, to avoid getting sick and/or reduce your suffering from allergies, try this 4 step combination:

  1. Sleep – 7 to 9 hours at least 5 days a week
  2. Hydrate – Drink water (60-100 ounces daily). Your age, size, gender, and activity level is the reason for that 40 ounce difference.
  3. Exercise – Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 4 days a week. Anything that gets your heart rate pumping,(140-160BPM) is a great target zone.
  4. Sterilize – Mom always made you wash up before dinner for a reason. Our hands come in contact with so many things throughout the day that can make you sick. Make sure you wash your hands often. (Thanks Mom).

Doing these 4 things will GREATLY reduce your chances of becoming sick. However, we can be on the defense all we want and still sometimes find ourselves sick. In this video, I offer remedies to help you get you feeling like yourself again as quickly as possible. If you have a gig coming up and you are sick, I urge you to watch this video. Through so much research and trial and error, this stuff works the best for me. I hope you find it does the same for you too.

Links to the products in this video:

I wish you all a healthy Spring.

-Michael

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Kaleidoscope Heart Cover

I hope you like vocal harmonies. Kaleidoscope Heart by Sara Bareilles has always been a favorite of mine. It’s short and to the point and filled with great a capella harmonies.

I wanted to challenge my vocal range. So, I sang and recorded all the vocal harmonies from bass to soprano. It was fun and challenging at the same time. For those of you who know the original, you probably noticed I changed up some parts to put my own stamp on the song. I stayed true to her version in the beginning and modified it towards the end.

For those interested in hearing all the vocal parts, watch the video with ear buds or play through a stereo. If you’re listening on a laptop, tablet,or phone you won’t get the full audio spectrum.

Thanks for watching!

-Michael

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Sing Better with Vowel Modification

Hello Singers. Just a couple of small changes in how you approach vowels can make a HUGE difference in projection, brightness, and reduce vocal strain. I show you how in this video. Remember this, you should never sing like you speak and you should never speak like you sing.

Consonants: They bring a percussive element to singing. You want to use them as ‘push-offs’ into the vowels you sing and sustain. Imagine being in a pool and kicking off the side wall to propel yourself further and faster as you swim through the water. This is how you should approach and use consonants.

Vowels: This is where you want to live as a singer. A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y, should always be your target letters in every word of every song, especially when the note is held out. Why? Because, you can’t sing a consonant. It either sounds percussive or you are actually singing a vowel. If you try to sing a ‘B’ you are actually singing an ‘E.’ If you try to sing a ‘J’ you are actually singing an ‘A.’ Letters like ‘M’, ‘S’, and ‘H’ are percussive letters that make short quick sounds.

Vowel Modification: Changing the sound of a vowel into another vowel to help form a brighter sound that carries further. You can do this in so many different ways. The most basic, but not easy way to do this is with the ‘I’ vowel. Experienced singers will approach a word like ‘blind’ and sing it like this ‘blah-eeind.’ If you change the ‘i’ to an ‘ah’ sound it will sound so much brighter and cause less strain. At the very last moment, the singer will then reshape the vowel fluidly to an ‘i’ sound before hitting the ‘nd’ in ‘blind.’

Of course, this is very hard to write out. That is why I made the video. If after watching the video, you still have more questions, please ask them below.

Your friend in music,

-Michael

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Fondue vs. Fun-Dough

Click here to see how you can make money while eating fondue just the way I did!

Aside from my horrible Photoshop skills, I wanted to share my excitement and hope you enjoy this video. Musicians, actors, performers – this is a beautiful thing you don’t want to miss! Thank you Bones Rodriguez. Enjoy!

Make money now!

– Michael

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How to Sing Through Your Break and Connect to Your Audience

Warning: by watching this video, it may take the mystery and fun out of why you like some singers. I demonstrate this by singing some popular songs that use this method.

Have you ever heard about the “break” or “bridge” in your voice? No? You’re not alone. There is so much to be said about using this to your advantage, but not many teachers are talking about it.

In this video, I explain, what the break is, how to get it, and why it is such a powerful technique to use to connect with your fans.

There’s the subtle break and the not-so-subtle break. The subtle break almost everyone loves and they are not even aware it’s being used. The not-so-subtle break is obvious to all listeners, but listeners either love or hate it. The choice of which to use is up to you.

Questions? Comments? Please leave them below for me to respond to. Thanks for watching!

-Michael

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The 48 Hour Rule

Preparing for a performance has never been easier! Instead of always bringing your “A” game seven days a week, you can focus on only 2 days. I explain in this video.

Action Item: When is your next live performance or recording session? Focus on two days prior. If your gig is Friday evening, then Wednesday morning is the day you want to be really good about hydration. Drink 80 to 100 ounces of water (that’s about 6 standard bottles of water as most are 16.9 ounces) and track it. A lot of times I will keep refilling one bottle of water and put a mark on the label with a pen every time I finish it. This is a great way to keep track. Limit your caffeine intake this day to only one or two cups of coffee or tea. This is a sure-fire method to make your performance top notch!

Please leave a comment or ask a question below and thanks for watching.

-Michael

Hitting High Notes

How do you extend your range? How do you hit the high notes in a particular song? As singers,we can all increase our range with consistent practice and training the correct way. If you have been singing a particular note with strain or cracking, try using less air as described in my video.

If you’ve taken lessons before, this might sound backwards. I was originally taught to push more, use more air, the diaphram, and energy when I was first taking lessons. While this method works for some people, other people wind up hurting themselves.

A good way to practice hitting high notes using less force, is to either start in your falsetto or your head voice and gently give it more energy. The reverse works too if you want to try it that way. I show you the latter method in the video. You will teach your voice to stay ‘connected’ in your full voice/head voice transitions and eventually will become very natural.

I hope this video helped you. Please feel free to comment or ask any additional questions you may have below.

-Michael