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It is a known fact that anybody with the right amount of focused dedication and will can learn how to play the piano or keyboard, but not everybody can use their skill on the musical keys to lull millions of fans into a mystical trance of feeling, allowing your audiences to frantically yet peacefully yearn for more, whilst you creatively crank out hit-after-hit like it was just a simple walk in the sound park for you and your jelly-like fingers.
This post celebrates those who managed to accomplish what may seem impossible to the normal nomadic mind – Fame, Status and Respect. These are of those who dared to dream and decided to break free from their surrounding environments of limiting status quo. They worked on their craft and moulded their skill – and creatively shared with the world what their hearts willed to express. Read and be inspired.
(1) Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson  (23 September 1930 – 10 June 2004) better known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was a blind yet very talented American musician who pioneered the now “Soul Music” genre in the 1950’s. His career started at 15 years old when he would play for various bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla at $4 a night. Over the life of his career, he switched over 3 record labels and crossed over multiple music genres such as pop, soul, rhythm and blues, and country.
He was named number 10 on the Rolling Stones “100 Greatest Artists of all Time” in 2004 and number two on their November 2008 list of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.
(2) Alicia Keys
Alicia Augello Cook (30) (born January 25, 1981), better known by her stage name Alicia Keys, is an American recording artist, musician, actress and pianist. At age seven, Alicia began to play classical music on the piano. She attended Professional Performing Arts School and graduated at 16 as valedictorian. In 2001, at 20 years old, she released her first debut album, “Songs in A Minor”, and it was a commercial success, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. She became the best-selling new artist and best-selling R&B artist of the year. The album earned Keys five Grammy Awards in 2002, including Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “Fallin”.
She has since recorded four more albums, made television guest appearances and had a thriving movie career with her first movie being “Smoking Aces”.
Throughout her career, Keys has won numerous awards and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B artist of the 2000–2009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time. In 2010, VH1 included Keys on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
(3) Lang Lang
Lang Lang (29) is a Chinese born concert pianist, well known in North America and Europe for his classical musical pieces and performances. Born in Shenyang, China, he began piano lessons with a Professor Zhu Ya-Fen at the tender age of three years old. At five years old, Lang Lang had already achieved his first award of honors, doing a piano recital and winning at a local Shenyang Piano Competition.
Since then, Lang Lang has gone on to give sold out shows and concerts across the globe, having garnered praise and admiration from musicians and critics around the world. His performances include being a guest soloist at the 2007 Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm, and having played for a worldwide audience of billions at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. He’s also performed with jazz piano legend Herbie Hancock, singer Katharine McPhee, and others.
(4) Norah Jones
Geethali Norah Jones Shankar (32), born 30 March 1979, is an American singer-songwriter and actress and pianoist. She launched her first solo album in 2002 at the tender age of 23, and went on to sell over 20 million copies, earning herself five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist of the year. Her other albums have each earned platinum status by selling over a million copies each.
Throughout her career, Norah Jones has won numerous awards and has sold over 37 million albums worldwide. Billboard magazine named her the top Jazz artist of the 2000–2009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time.
(5) Diana Krall
Diana Jean Krall (46) born 16 November 1964 is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals and piano playing. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist during the 1990s and 2000s. On December 11, 2009, Billboard magazine named her the second Jazz artist of the 2000–2009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time. She is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums. To date, she has won three Grammy Awards and eight Juno Awards.
(6) Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John (64) (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947) is an English singer, composer and pianist. In his four-decade career Elton John has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His single “Candle in the Wind ” which he recorded in 1997 went on to sell over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best selling single in Billboard history. He has won six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him Number 49 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Elton John even received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music and charitable services” and became Sir Elton Hercules John in 1998.
(7) Richard Clayderman
Richard Clayderman (57) (born Philippe Pagès on 28 December 1953) is a French pianist who has released numerous albums including the compositions of Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint, instrumental renditions of popular music, rearrangements of movie soundtracks, ethnic music, and easy-listening arrangements of most popular works of classical music.
Richard Clayderman has recorded over 1,200 melodies, and has created a new romantic style through a repertoire which combines his trademark originals with classics and pop standards. He has devoted much of his time to performing concerts, going as far as playing 200 shows in 250 days. He has clocked up worldwide record sales of approximately 70 million, as of 2006, and 267 gold and 70 platinum discs to his credit.
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. A phenomenal piano soloist, Oscar Peterson has released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. Honing his skills from the age of five, young Oscar would spend many of his years in his piano studies of which included four to six hours of daily practice. He was persistent at practising scales and classical etudes daily, and thanks to such arduous practice he developed his astonishing virtuosity. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.
(9) Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles  (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first black Americans to host a television variety show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death.
After his death in 1965, Nat Cole was inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
(10) Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Judkins (61) (born May 13, 1950), name later changed to Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist. Blind since shortly after birth, Wonder signed with Motown Records’ Tamla label at the age of eleven. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. Stevie Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States. In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s fiftieth anniversary, with Wonder at number five.
Welcome to ZeroToMaestro.com! This is where the who’s who of the magical instrument piano come together to hangout and learn while at the same time have mad fun!
This is actually the first post of the blog, the first of many powerful and informative posts, which will comprise in mixtures of text, audio or video format.
So there’s much more to come, bookmark this site and I’ll be seeing a lot of you as the weeks and months go by.
See you inside, cheers!
Ps.**FORTHCOMING ATTRACTIONS** for this month include a FREE MINI ECOURSE that will transform your playing and some fresh Kirk Franklin and Israel song tutorials
Keep your eyes open for the near future!
When it comes to learning and mastering the intricate art of playing soulful sounds, bending your chords like Beckham, lacing melody lines likeSlick Rick or even strutting your fingers flashy like a catwalk down the podiums of Milan, you need look no further than the magical instrument…the PIANO.
Its smooth sultry sounds will have you in the mood in no time, plus with all those many black and white “thingies” on its frame, you’re spoilt for choice as to which one will give you the buzz.
So in celebration of this wonderful piece of musical artillery, below are the Top 10 Reasons why you want to learn this low key yet brilliant invention, and the Top 10 reasons why you should start playing today!
1) ITS SO EASY TO LEARN
Contrary to popular belief, the piano is one of the simplest things you could ever master in your lifetime. It does require much discipline, focus and lots of patience, as does any other skill you’d want to acquire, but when it comes down to it, becoming a maestro is literally about as simple as opening a can of Coke on a hot dry day and aiming it down your throat.
All piano really is, is a bunch of patterns, well put together into a musical array. You master the patterns, you’ve mastered the piano.
2) YOU’LL IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS
Bribing a few notes together in speed and proportion is sure to leave your friends and one or two other people in sheer amazement and appreciation. Many people of all walks of life dream of being able to play the piano, and since you’ll be one of the few individuals who can actually play, you will be sure to win the appreciation and respect you deserve from all those around you. You are playing just to express the eloquent art form, but their positive response would be the cherry on the cake.
3) YOU DON’T HAVE TO TUNE IT ALL THE TIME
Unlike the bass or other guitars, no regular tuning of equipment is required. All you do is just get yourself in a comfortable playing position and then begin with your musical excursions.
4) YOU WON’T FORGET HOW TO PLAY
Learning how to play the piano is like learning how to ride a bicycle, one you figure out how to actually work it, you won’t forget. This means that playing the piano is life-long skill that will go with you wherever you are, and you’ll only be getting better with time. Talk about long-term dividends.
5) NOT MUCH EFFORT REQUIRED
If you have two hands, ready fingers, and a willing spirit eager to learn and absorb, then you’re about set to draw out some ear-seducing thunder. Occasional stretching of the fingers and perhaps comprehension of some unfamiliar chords are about the only effort inducing activities experienced. Persistent practice will just come naturally to you.
6) DEVELOPS YOUR EAR FOR MUSIC
Sustained piano playing allows you to develop an ear for music. All of a sudden, you’ll be able to spot out patterns on a whim and predict where songs are going. You’ll decipher melodies quickly and understand why songs flow in various ways. Indeed a very useful skill to add to your personal collection.
7) GREAT FOUNDATION FOR OTHER INSTRUMENTS
If you can understand notes, chords and keys from the piano, it will serve as a good basis if you want to, say, learn the guitar. In most cases, it is easier to move from piano to a second instrument than from a foreign instrument to a piano. Most musical arrangers, producers and directors are actually piano maestros and use their understanding to lead and guide other instrumentalists and singers on what to play and sing.
8) ATTRACTIVE HOBBY
Piano playing is a beautiful pass-time activity which brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to the individual. Whether it’s Classical, Gospel, Urban, Rock, Cuban, Jazz, Contemporary or African piano, each genre has its place and really serves the soul to restful and blissful peace. It’s no wonder you won’t find a current piano player who regrets having learnt the instrument.
9) LEARNING SUPPORT IS EVERYWHERE
Material to study and understand the piano is in abundance everywhere you look: convenience and gift stores, music parlours, whole schools, colleges and teachers, even websites and portals on the internet. This makes it easy for you to become a piano maestro. Resources such as this website give you all the valuable information you need to become a piano master.
10) FUN, FULFILLING, FANTASTIC!
Nothing brings you more joy than to skillfully play that song you’ve been wanting to learn for ages, or jam with everyone to bring out that original sound. Playing the piano is fun. Running your fingers up and down that platform in melodic madness… there really is nothing quite as fulfilling.