Making a piano tutorial video is not as difficult as it may seem, and if you’re like me and you don’t have any expensive equipment or advanced knowledge of camera angles and lighting, and you just want to make a good video without having to spend hours setting everything up; then here’s quick guide on what you can do –
1. Planning and structure
First of all you need to make a plan and decide what your video will be about. For example, you may want to create a tutorial for a particular song. It could be a famous movie theme tune, or a pop song. Once you’ve decided what the tutorial will be about, you will need to plan a structure to the video. For example, what would you like to present first? Do you want to play the piece at its correct speed and show everyone how it’s played, and then play it slowly after?
I find that the easiest way to structure a video is to split it into three parts. Start with a very short introduction to the video. For example, say hello and quickly explain what the tutorial is going to be about. Tip – Don’t spend very long on the introduction as it may put your viewers off. I’ve seen a lot of piano tutorials on YouTube and I’ve had to flick through about a minute of talking before they’ve even started to play. Sometimes even longer!! This gets very tedious and frustrating for the viewer as they just want a quick and easy tutorial that gets straight to the point. And if you can create a video that does exactly that, then you are onto a winner!
So your introduction needs to be short and to the point, which then leads you straight to the piano and your tutorial. For the first part you could focus on playing the piece at the correct speed in its entirety, and then for the second part you could proceed to explain how to play it at a much slower pace. Try not to over explain anything or repeat a section too much as it’s important to remember that the viewer can easily re-play the video or stop it at any time. Overall you need to keep the video fairly short, so don’t be afraid to move at a fair pace.
For the final part of your video you may want to quickly recap over any tricky parts, and add anything else on that you feel is important.
2. What are you going to say?
My advice would be to stay away from a script. I find it easier to jot down a few points that I want to cover and either memorise it or have it in front of me (but not shown on camera). If you attempt to read word for word from a script, you may find that it doesn’t flow very well and sounds artificial.
The length of any piano tutorial is always dependant on what you are teaching, but it’s important to remember that tutorials are usually more attractive if they are short and straight to the point. Try to avoid any unnecessary talking which will lengthen the video. For example, get straight into playing and explaining the piece.
Try to get access to a fairly decent video camera if possible, however it’s important to note that camera phones are getting increasingly good these days. So the cheapest and easiest option may be to use a camera phone. However, video cameras are also fairly cheap these days as well, and if you are planning to create quite a few tutorials, then this could be a very good investment.
5. Camera position
There are two camera positions which are extremely effective. One of the most common angles is directly above the keys pointing straight down. However, this can be difficult to set up as you will have to figure out a way to position the camera high up above you.
The second position to consider is over your shoulder at a slight angle. I find that this is a much easier setup as you may only need a tripod.
I’m no expert on camera lighting, but it’s important to ensure the room is well lit. Try testing out the camera a few times and see how it looks. You want to try and create a light which doesn’t cast any shadows if possible. If you have a bright lamp that creates shadows on the keys, it may be difficult for the viewers to see which note you are playing.
And that’s it! You’ve got the foundation for making a good piano tutorial video.