When it comes to learning how to play in a cocktail piano style fashion, the really good news is that you can indeed sound like a million bucks at those keys relatively soon. You see, it’s not necessary to know everything about the art form in order to dive right in and start exploring your potential. When we first learned to express ourselves verbally at a young age, we certainly didn’t feel a need to know all the words in the English language in order to start communicating. More and more, we learned how to express ourselves with words that were consistent with what our aim was. We had no problem letting others know we were hungry or thirsty, for example. We simply let them know! As our vocabulary increased, we became more confident with the finer points of communication.
It’s much the same way when it comes to expressing ourselves musically in a creative fashion. This is really a key point. To sound professional, you don’t need to know it all! What is important is that you perform what you know with confidence. So, as you think of a favorite song that you aspire to play in a way that is impressionable, realize that the melody is the first and foremost element of the music that is heard and recognized by the listener. This being the case, it stands to reason that you want to learn the melody to the point where you can play it with utmost confidence. There are specific learning tools that can make “getting your feet wet” playing cocktail piano much easier.
As you explore these, remember that whatever little bit you learn, project it with confidence, even if it’s the melody being played with the right hand and simple chords with the left hand. The first of these cocktail piano video sessions places a strong emphasis on this concept of playing with confidence.
Learn that melody well. At the beginning, settle on what you will use to accompany that melody, whether it be simple chords or some new chord voicings that you have learned. Then play it to the point where someone listening would not question that you are confident with what you are doing!
Remember, you certainly may aspire to learn more complex cocktail piano playing techniques and strategies, including piano fills and chord voicings and more, but the person listening to you is not judging you based on what you are not able to play at a particular moment… they are there to appreciate what is being played now. Therefore, give them something to appreciate.
In short, learn to enjoy the moment and play whatever you play with a certain amount of attitude, even if you are playing a simple C Major triad with your left hand and the melody with your right. Play it like you mean it.
As you continue your journey exploring more and more of that potential of yours, there are lots of cocktail piano learning tutorials that you can absolutely benefit from, so do take advantage of them…
PLAY WITH PASSION!