Cocktail Piano Techniques: Piano Fills, Arranging, Chord Voicings

Having fun with chord changes to a familiar song we both can relate to (Over The Rainbow), we take a journey down the road  of piano creativity as we take a close look at how to incorporate great piano sounds, including chord voicings,  improvisation, fills, and more… this is a fun, informal session that I just know you will view as a treasure. We take a lead sheet (which you are provided) to a song composed with similar chord changes to this famous standard and interpret them in a way that will change your piano playing forever! I really take into consideration the questions and input I receive via email when offering this content, so thank you for your contributions! You can enjoy the videos while following along with the lead sheet for easy reference. Of course, you can simply choose to watch and learn, as there is lots for anyone to benefit from, even if you don’t read music at all!

As you may already suspect, if you can feel super confident with mastering your way through one great standard song, you’ve mastered a lot, especially when that song is chock full of the most popular chords and progressions you’ll find in most of your other songs as well. So we’ve taken the chords to an all-time favorite and made them available to you here along with an opportunity to peek over a pro’s shoulder so you can start cramming that “toolbox” of yours. Most of all, though, you’re going to have a lot of fun with the discoveries you are about to make. I only wish I could see the sparkle in your eye as you reap one “aha!” moment after another : ) Remember, a major benefit to this is that you can pause the video at anytime… study any given chord structure that I am playing…have it there as long as you like… and move on when you’re ready. Surely, within just a few short moments of any playing segment, you can extract some value. Learn more here

How To Play Cocktail Piano: Easy Techniques & Strategies

Those who have been with us at Piano Amore for even a short amount of time realize that much of what we offer here includes helping people who aspire to learn the very basics of the art form as well as helping even those who play professionally who wish to further explore their creative potential.

I have often been asked, “What is the least I should aspire to learn before I can start playing some decent cocktail piano?” Although there may not be a definitive answer for this, one reason being what you will consider as “decent cocktail piano” and what someone else will could be completely different. What is needed in order to start sounding good may be a lot less than you may be imagining. You see, it’s not necessarily what you play that matters as much as how you play it.

Another question I am regularly asked: “Of all the tools available in your store, which would be the most appropriate to learn the basics?” This could, naturally, vary according the individual. However… to put it simply: If you have a handle of some of your basic 7th chords, can play a melody, and have an open mind (and ear), you are equipped to begin. Actually, I created a Cocktail Piano Starter Package that includes a program that will assist with your learning the most common (and less common) 7th chords. You’ll also get a handle on reading those mysterious 7th chord symbols. Much more is included, however. You’ll gain access to a video session that focuses on the importance of learning the melody and how to start using what you know to begin sounding good (it’s not necessary to learn all those complex voicings yet in order to sound good). In addition, you’ll gain access to a couple of other video sessions that will open your mind up to start approaching the art of cocktail piano in a fashion that gets results fast.

If you would like to supplement your learning experience with a weekly program that will have you knowing how to play those chords like the pros do, then consider ProProach, currently being enjoyed worldwide!

Piano Improvisation Techniques For Beginners

When it comes to learning our language, we initially started with “bits and pieces” – like small words, then larger ones – and eventually put them together to created longer, more complex, and often more effective statements in the form of phrases and sentences. Actually, it was a rather natural process in that we began with what felt natural to us and our further developments manifested in a rather natural way as well.
For our purpose here, it is rather important to recall that, at whatever stage of development we were at any point in time, we were perfectly okay with ourselves with that. We enjoyed our level of competency with our language and were fully accepting of it – even in our earliest stages.

For the beginning improviser, development can work in much the same way. This is good news, especially when you understand that even your earliest stages of growth can be quite satisfying and you can enjoy a fully accepting your particular level of competency. The more you can appreciate and accept the results you are realizing, the more successful you are likely to be when it comes to taking things to further levels.

Starting with simple musical ideas – or “motifs” – and implementing them can lead to longer, more complex improvisational phrases. It may be surprising just how quickly those more interesting lines can actually manifest once you take on the attitude of simply being playful with those little ideas you are learning as you watch and listen to your results from a perspective of acceptance.

I created a very easy-to-understand piano improvisation video session which puts this process in motion. The vehicle I used for this particular video is the blues scale. However, we reduce this scale to “bits and pieces” while observing how effective these little ideas really can be on their own. The “magic” begins when we start to “string” these ideas together to create longer interesting improvisational lines… and the possibilities are unlimited!

Exposure to this piano improvisation video and implementing its easy strategies will equip you with the potential to play hundreds of your own improve “licks”… and you just may surprise yourself before long!

The Secret To Creative Musical Genius

The Magic of “Overlapping” – A Key Secret to Creative Musical Development

Genius At The KeysA most interesting observation when it comes to learning and growing is this:

When it comes to learning to express ourselves through the language of music, some of us want a “step-by-step” approach for everything. Of course, this pretty much comes from the “schooling” process we were brought up with and bought into.

Now, we’re not speaking against the value of that, just so you know where I’m NOT going with this… HOWEVER…

When we began learning our language from day #1, we were exposed to concepts by listening to other people in our lives, including family, friends, and others (often having no choice). We were also exposed to rudiments, including spelling and grammar “rules” and developing a certain amount of vocabulary via school training.

A most important point here is that, regardless of what “training” we had when it came to
expressing ourselves via our language, most of what we learned resulted from an “overlapping” of all of our experiences. After a certain point, we didn’t walk through life, whether at home or on the job, with the mind set, “wait, I heard those words from that store clerk. I’m not sure if I’m ready to use those phrases, as it doesn’t seem to be the perfect continuation from what I’ve heard so far”… the same applies to when you heard instructions from others, whether the boss, someone in the line at the supermarket,
someone you were talking to on the telephone, etc.

In short, we simply allowed our experiences to accumulate and, after continued exposure to many varied experiences, we used what we learned in ways of our own.

When it comes to learning to tap into our personal inner creative, musical potential, we want to be receptive to the same approach. I know, for me, this is how my playing style developed throughout the years.

I get lots of emails from people wanting to know “what the next perfect video session” is for that person to take advantage of. Though it’s true that certain lessons can be more in line with specific interests, the truth is that I’ve put this collection together – virtually everything you’ll find here at Piano Amore – with the mind set that your creativity will be realized more and more with exposure to these sessions… and the order in which you experience them is the least important overall.

The value that can be obtained by enjoying a particular video session a couple of times and implementing some of its concepts – and then exposing yourself to another, which can be conducive to a completely refreshed outlook, while illustrating some of the same concepts previously learned – and then reviewing those sessions again and again – is
so valuable that I cannot explain it in words.

I do receive a number of emails from people who have, in fact, confirmed this, and I appreciate the fact that you’ve really experienced these sessions (which I experience utmost joy in creating) in the manner they were intended.

Take on the mind set of a child and allow your creativity curiosity to be nurtured. Play with that curiosity. Keep having fun at the top of your priority list. And as my ProProach members hear time and time again, appreciate where you’re at, and build upon that!

As you adopt this approach, it’s almost uncanny how naturally those results (and personal confidence) actually manifest.

As you continue having fun exploring your inner creative, musical genius, remember…

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
PianoAmore.net
ProProach.com

How To Have Exceptional Fun At Those Keys Whatever Your Playing Level

Whether you consider yourself a beginner at those keys, advanced, or somewhere in between, there are always things you can have fun with to lose yourself in the moment and have tons of fun, WHILE INCREASING YOUR CONFIDENCE, TOO!Have fun at those keys!

Some things to have fun with:

* Open up those musical ears by taking a simple chord progression and playing it in different keys

* If you’re playing voicings, master it in a number of keys, too

* Develop the habit of looking at an obstacle you are faced with as an opportunity worth smiling about

* Learn to recognize melodic intervals so you can duplicate them on those keys whenever you like

* Learn different ways of playing those chords you may have never considered

* Learn to be musical even playing the simplest idea

* Adopt an attitude that you can do no wrong

* Learn to spice up a chord progression with the concept of chord substitution

* Use songs that you know as a resource of confidence for newer songs you are learning

* Appreciate concepts that seem to be “over your head” at the moment and welcome them rather than avoid them

* Adopt the perspective that each and every minute at that piano or keyboard of yours is an exciting opportunity for self exploration

We’re actually just touching the surface here when it comes to the benefits to be gained by continuous exposure to one of my newest video sessions, Piano Creativity “On Steroids”

My enthusiasm was “on steroids” during this entire session because ideas just kept coming to me as I continued to recall those questions I’ve been receiving via email on a regular basis. Truly, your messages to me inspire me. Thank You for all of them : )

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave

www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Copyright PianoAmore.net All Rights Reserved

Piano Creativity “On Steroids” – Voicings, Improvisation, Fills, & More!

Thanks so much to those of you with questions  regarding my latest video session, Piano Creativity “On Steroids”

To clarify, a reason why this video will benefit beginners as well as more advanced players is that the content of this session actually consists of a nice “mix” of piano playing ideas that will be helpful to all levels. I did this purposefully with the intention of providing a tool for beginners to become inspired by as well as one those with experience could use to take their own level up a notch or two (or ten!). So, yes,some of the material we cover will be ideas that you can aspire to taking advantage of, so this is one you can grow with. Also,
it’s not meant as a replacement for anything you are doing; rather, an enhancement :) It serves as a great supplement, especially if you could use some encouragement in creative areas such as easy ways to come up with piano fills, improvising, and right hand chord playing.

More advanced players will take advantage of the various voicings being used and more. We also get into aspects of playing piano by ear, easy ways to come up with an improvisation for a favorite melody, and more.

This session was an “unpredictable one” in that it was my intention to create an informal “off the cuff” scenario similar to the type of experiences that led to much of my creative development. So, as the session progressed, I was inspired by your emails I’ve received over the months as well as my passion for helping people to overcome obstacles, including the very thinking that gets in the way of playing creatively.

This is not a video that you need to view from beginning to end each and every time. Actually, I suggest that you do this the first time and you’ll soon realize that, depending on what your focus is on at any given time, different segments will mean more to you at various points in your development.

It is my belief that whether you’ve never played piano or before or you’re a pro player open to new ideas, there’s content here you will benefit from. Exposure to this session over and over again is sure to lead to multiple rewards as well.

Consider following the suggestions included in the formula provided on the promo page and you’ll be on your way to discovering your potential for musical creativity like you never did before : o )

Please have fun with this one. I sure did!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Piano Playing Creativity:
You Have What It Takes

From Piano Fills To Improvisation To Walking Bass, It’s All Here…

How To Predict The Next Chord In A Song And More…

Some people find this interesting:

A competent classical pianist who has been trained for decades to the degree of being able to pull off a performance of “Grade 6″ compositions (or higher) in an amazing fashion can have an excruciating time trying to play a beautiful rendition of a standard song like “Misty” or “Skylark” or “Till There Was You,” etc… even with the simple melody propped up on that piano stand….

Yet, another individual who had no clue how to read the piano staff up until about a few months ago can do so with amazing confidence.

What’s that “secret element” that distinguishes the two?

Well, it’s no “secret,” per se… though, to the classical playing maestro with no background in personal creativity at those keys, it can certainly seem like that.

Did you know that allowing yourself a few weeks of exposure to learning how to play simple melodies and a few chords (and how to play them tastefully) can put you in a position of being able to pull off playing arrangements of such standards to the point of spinning the head of pro classical player who has even perhaps  endured 6 years of college study in the area of performing traditionally? If you have the desire to have fun, it’s possible.

It’s not magic. It’s a matter of what turn in the road one chooses to take. (If you’re a classical player who can relate to this, by the way, your potential is certainly there to expand your scope, of course, if you haven’t yet done so, but maybe you have!)

At different times, I am prompted by people who only have a little experience reading and simply want to be able to play a simple standard song and make it sound good for a “fast track formula” for being able get themselves from “point A” to “point B”…

Here’s one that works:

1) Learn the melody… learn it well…

2) Hook yourself up with my two programs entitled: How To Play Standard Songs With Confidence #1 and How To Play Standard Songs With Confidence #2

From that point, things get easier…

We’re talking about getting you to FEEL CONFIDENT with setting yourself up with a basic platform to work from. The first program gets you to look at things in perspective and making that melody flow… The second provides you with the kind of left hand techniques necessary to put that melody “on steroids”…

Beyond this, is there more you can do? You bet there is. And there are lots of programs available here to help you take things to many different levels, but that is certainly a profound start to getting the ball rolling. (1-2-3 Cocktail Piano #1 and 1-2-3 Cocktail Piano #2 are a good way to continue)

Let’s face it, when we hook on to a program, we want it to lead us in a direction… we don’t want it to “handcuff” us into doing something we don’t want to. It’s about having FUN… and having that fun IMMEDIATELY… the entire learning process should be nothing short of that.

By the way, if the concept of “being creative” is intimidating for you, we can cure that beginning TODAY… that’s what my special video session Pro Piano Creativity: The Nitty Gritty is about. No, you don’t need to be a pro for that one! You can be at any level and elevate yourself to a different point with that one, whether you’re wanting to open yourself up to playing a walking bass and never tried, playing fills, being able to predict what chord comes next in a song, or you’re simply wanting to explore your piano creativity potential in general (I predicted that some people would like this one but the feedback I’ve received on it has spun my head… my personal thanks to all of you)

(Just a note: People who want to excel in the area of specific strategies, like playing a “walking bass” with confidence, and who have taken advantage of my online coaching KNOW that things can happen – and they can happen fast!)

The key is: Start with something. Take an action that you never have. Don’t wait. Whatever level you are at, make today the day that marks a new beginning for yourself.

( All the above and more is available in our store … ALL AVAILABLE VIA INSTANT ONLINE ACCESS!)

And, of course, remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

An Easy Approach To Piano Improvisation

Beginning piano improvisors are often plagued with the question, “What do I play?” “Where do I place my hands?” “How can I begin?”

If a beginning improvisor (even with no experience) is willing to invest some time having fun with a few simple ideas and make the most of those ideas, he or she can realize quite the transformation in terms of the results experience and confidence gained. The Blues is an excellent vehicle in more ways than one. My latest video session 5 Blues Piano Licks You Just Gotta Know acknowledges how to get some pretty interesting right hand improvisational lines happening relatively quickly. We deal with five basic hand positions which instantly set you up to play “jazz licks” that you can refer to again and again whenever you are looking to spice up your playing, whether having fun with the Blues itself or you are looking to enhance your favorite standard tunes with fills or even longer interesting lines.

5 Licks? Far from it, really… we are dealing with 5 positions that are conducive to your having access to unlimited access to an unlimited supply of licks. You’ll be coming up with your own before you know it. One significant advantage you have with this approach is that any confusion as to where to position your hands is alleviated, the result being you get to place more of a focus what you do once those hand positions are assumed. However, you’ll be taking things much further since, when you start to combine these positions by playing them subsequent to one another, the improvisational lines you will come up will be nothing short of amazing as you make it a point of having more and more fun investing time exploring the possibilities.

Once you are feeling confident with playing and having fun with these licks as demonstrated, you are highly encouraged to transpose these ideas to different keys. The benefits that will be gained by doing so cannot be explained in words. However, it goes without saying that you’ll be equipping yourself to handle so many more musical situation. In addition, playing these licks in other keys will force you to experience other hand/finger positions, which results in technical benefits, too.

Again, it should be noted that these licks are not specifically geared toward playing the Blues. The individual who views the Blues Scale as a reference of notes only associated with playing the Blues is indeed missing out on something huge. In addition, the Mixolydian Scale is another we take a look at. Whatever your favorite standard songs are, you will find a place to use much of what you learn, especially when you take it upon yourself to experiment with those other keys. Get a handle on these five basic positions and you’ll see for yourself how doing so is conducive to musical growth and a new perspective on piano styling in general. What’s more is the more you familiarize yourself with these ideas, you will experience the process of making associations between the positions and what you are hearing. If improving your capacity to play piano by ear (especially as it relates to improvising) is a goal, you’re likely to realize some benefits in this area : )

As for those who enjoy playing the Blues, you’re likely to find here a tool that will help you to enjoy your experience more, as these five positions will lead you to creating many fresh licks of your own, especially when you combine them, playing them subsequent to each other, mixing it up and seeing and hearing where things go. Even a beginner will use these positions as “stepping stones” toward creating more mature musical ideas. As with so many of the learning tools available at Piano Amore, the lesson goes beyond what you see here at face value, all determined by the individual’s curiosity and motivation.

Remember,

Always…

Always…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,
Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

 

21 Days to Piano Styling Transformation

Become A Chord Voicing Pro

A Chord Voicing Strategy That Equals Success

It’s been proven time and time (and time) again that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

Well, that’s good news if the habit you’re forming is one that brings the results you want, of course.

And since we’re here to get results, I would like  to share something with you that will absolutely transform your piano styling skills in 21 days.

If I was to share this with you, telling you that I know it works (I mean, you can’t fail), would you take me up on it?

Provided your answer is yes, let me share it here. By the way, because it’s so simple, a few will overlook it, convincing themselves that success is supposed to be a whole lot more complex than this…

HOWEVER, the ones who follow through will realize results they can “take to the bank.” In fact, not only will you have developed a habit that is conducive to this special transformation, but what you will have achieved during that 21 days will already have provided you with results you’ll be enjoying indefinitely.

Ready? Here it is:

If you’ve previewed my 24-week program Pro Piano Chord Bytes, you know there’s a complimentary lesson there.

Okay… take that lesson, become acquainted with the chord structure there, which is presented in the key of C (it’s a voicing for Cmaj7 chord)…

Then spend 7 days incorporating that chord structure into two different favorite songs of yours, MAKING SURE that you play the voicing in at TWO other keys (like Fmaj7 and
Bbmaj7)…

When the next lesson arrives, do the same for the next 7 days (choose one of the voicings when more than one is provided, since this does happen at the beginning of the program). Remember, the action of incorporating the voicing in a song or songs is a key factor here (and playing that voicing in at least TWO other keys, which means that we are looking for that chord to be in two different keys as well… ex. Cmaj7, Fmaj7, Gmaj7) …

When Lesson #2 arrives, repeat the procedure for 7 days, going about it in the same fashion…

At that point, you will have formed a habit for sure! However, your confidence will already have escalated since you’ve acquired some great chord sounds for that “piano styling toolbox” of yours…

The even better news is, now that you have a habit that will absolutely transform your playing for the better, you’ll have another 22 lessons to look forward to to nurture that habit!

Special Note: a special feature of this program is the commentary provided BELOW the illustrations! Reading and being receptive to those suggestions will lead you to really understanding what “separates the men from the boys” when it comes to pro piano styling!

You’re in for an experience and a half if you follow through with this… I can’t even describe the confidence you will have attained by doing so…

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Learning Piano: Method or Madness?

madpianistWhen it comes to learning piano, I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that you have lots of options. The truth is you don’t need someone else to teach you how to sit at that piano or keyboard of yours and start making music. Sure, there are basic musical fundamentals and technical aspects of playing on those keys that have been proven to work consistently, have been documented, and have been passed down through centuries in many forms. Virtually any “piano method,” per say that you discover, whether presented in book form, on CD of DVD, or online format will simply be a “spin” of what’s already been known to work to a degree for others.

So what came first… the music or the method? When you consider the likes of Bach’s The Two-Part Inventions and Sinfonias, which was published in 1753, here we have a compilation of material that was meant as a series of exercises and pieces written for the benefit of his son. Where the line is drawn as to that collection being viewed upon as a work or art or a method is subject to one’s interpretation. But one thing is certain: the musicality of this material is genuine.

So, when it comes to your experience, where is the line drawn between what you perceive as “methodical” and musical creativity as it applies to whatever you want to learn, whether it’s Bach, Beethoven, Billy Joel, or YOU? You don’t need permission to create. You don’t need a method to proceed. Does that mean to adopt a method is frowned upon? By no means is that the point here. But what really is key and worth understanding is that there doesn’t need to be a line drawn between learning and creating.

There is no shortage of material available out there when it comes to learning basics. If a step-by-step methodical approach is what you want to gaining some confidence with reading or playing songs by ear, then by all means adopt one. I’m cognizant of the fact that you will have no challenge finding anything of the sort. That’s why it has never been my intention to duplicate what’s been duplicated thousands of times. The material you will find at Piano Amore and in our store has been created (and continues to be) based on the premise that any individual, whatever her level of reading or playing competency, is capable of creating right from the very beginning. Any thought opposed to that is simply that: a thought.

I believe that if you’ve never played a chord on the piano before, then your experience learning your first chord should and can be a musical experience. And why not? A careful look at the first few measures of  Beethoven’s Fur Elise reveals that what we have here, for the most part, is two chords being approached in a creative fashion. Now, for those who enjoy classical music, that piece is one that many beginners aspire to play perhaps more than any other (or it’s at least one of them). It’s great to set a goal like this. That said, what’s wrong with simply taking that A minor triad and E major triad and approaching it in your own way right now? Go to your piano or keyboard and have fun playing those two chords right now and then playing them in an arpeggiated fashion (notes separately) with both hands in a way that comes naturally to you and appreciate the results that you get. Wahala! You’re improvising on piano! Your possibilities are endless so keep at it! As you proceed, the only thing getting in the way of what you hear as being considered something wonderful is your interpretation of it.

In short, the more you give yourself permission to create, the more you will come in touch with the creative musical genius that exists within you… and the more you will come to appreciate music… and the more you will come to enjoy, appreciate, and respect what you, as an individual, are capable of. So, head on over to those keys right now and create your very own masterpiece!