Frequently asked questions...

"Am I too old...etc..."
Always the most frequently asked question for adult keyboard courses...
If you are starting, or re-learning, piano in the autumn of your life then the chances are that you'll only get to the Albert Hall on the number 52 bus, just like the rest of us!
It's also true that some things are going to take longer to learn than they might have done in more youthful times and you may have to set your sights a bit lower than a full speed rendition of Rach2.
Having said that you wouldn't be asking the question if you didn't actually want to play the piano. The alternative to just doing it is to go on wondering if you should have done?

That isn't as much fun as actually doing it.
The Keyboard Versatility course has worked for many 'later' students and is well suited to it. Being an 'Adult' course you're not going to find yourself surrounded by fleet fingered whippersnappers or having to make sense of the latest Lady GaGa output.
For whatever hard work might sometimes await you the sheer pleasure of finding a piece of music, especially something that you've always wanted to play, come out from under your own fingers can seem like a stunning reward.
I won't delve too deeply into the benefits of the mental stimulus involved (which I would rank as close to chess and well beyond Sudoku) but just say that I have met many, many, people who have regretted giving up piano or not starting but, as yet, have never met anyone who regretted doing it!

"How much time will I have to practice for the course...?"
Different people need different practice routines however it's particularly important to practice daily even if you can only get twenty minutes. two, twenty minute practice sessions per day should do fine for the beginners course as all the exercises are quite short. You might want to add on more for the later section of the course when we start using pieces of music.

"I read here 'Major scale deviation, what is it ?"
Major scale deviation is simply a very convenient shorthand to describe a scale or mode, for example;
I could describe the Lydian dominant mode (acoustic scale) using tones and semi-tones;
T T T s/t T s/t T
which, though accurate, contains some unnecessary information whereas, using MSD;
#4, b7
which simply shows the notes that 'deviate' from the major scale is far simpler. A scale or mode can obviously be shown using notation or even little diagrams of keyboards with dots on however, given a familiarity with the Major scale, MSD is quick and explicit.

"Will there also be keyboard versatility courses for children ?"
No, children and adults learn in very different ways and the course has been designed and developed for small adult groups. There are local piano teachers who are able to provide the ongoing, one to one, tuition that is more suitable for children. We do though offer workshops for parents who wish to develop sufficient skills and understanding to provide support for their children's musical development.

Got a question?

Simply go to the contact page and email it in, we'll try our best to shine a light...

"Why 'Lapis', does it mean anything ?"
Simply that, as a name, it is easy to memorise and short domain names are hard to get these days. Apart from that it's my favourite stone.

"I have an electronic keyboard with small keys, will that be ok for learning ?"
Not really, if you start developing your playing on smaller keys you might find it very difficult, and time consuming, to play on anything with standard sized keys.


"My piano has stickers on some of the keys with the note names, is this helpful ?"
No. In fact it will make recognition of the keyboard very difficult. Keyboard geography relies on a recognition of the whole area in relation to the pattern of the black notes. Time to get cleaning!
Apart from that they will be inaccurate, they always are.
Book yourself in to our course and we'll show you where the B# lives.

"I'm trying to learn some jazz pieces from Fake books and am a bit confused with some of the chords, C9, C+9 and Cadd9, if these are the same chord why are they written differently ?"
I can see why you might be confused but they are, in fact, 3 different chords. The first - C9 is a Major chord with a C root and all the odd numbered intervals up to 9 i.e. C,E,G,Bb,D. The second chord C+9 is, again, a Major chord and also using all the odd numbered intervals up to 9 but the '+' sign tells you that it is an Augmented triad so C, E, G#, Bb, D. Some composers will put #5 in brackets just to avoid confusion. The third chord simply means to add the 9th interval but without any intervening odd numbered intervals i.e. the Bb so...C, E, G, D.
Sometimes the extended chords can be a bit of a handful. If you're playing with a bass player they would normally do the root note, otherwise it is essential, as is the 3rd, which defines the chord as Major or minor. The highest number and the 7th (Major or minor) is always considered essential but the fifth can be dropped unless, as in the case of one of your chords, it has been altered.

In practice many piano players will cheat and just get the 3rd, the 7th and the highest extension note, this is often called rootless voicing. Another technique is to play one (or more) of the chord notes in the right hand, incorporating into the melodic line. We cover this type of chord building in the Intermediate course and are currently planning a special short course for advanced chord work i.e. how to use the Gershwin Dominant.

"My nails are quite long, will this be a problem?..."
Obviously it depends on how long but, generally, yes. Having very long nails will force an unnatural hand position and make playing a lot slower.

Lapis piano