2) Learn the 3 most essential of those diatonic chords in every key
Start with one key, then two, and continue from that point…
There’s no magic to it. Let’s say there is a favorite song you like to listen to and feel inspired to learn that song on the piano…
The one thing you can do to make the process easier is to set your “radar” to recognize where those three essential chords are being played in the tune. These chords are often referred to as the three “primary” chords of a key.
You want to know them. Even if you are brand new at learning and don’t know how to play a chord, you can take a step-by-step approach… yes, learn those chords “one letter at a time” by using a guide such as this one
It should be noted that this guidebook assumes nothing in terms of what you know. It’s one you’ll want to have propped up on your piano or keyboard stand as you follow in steps. Essentially, it’s for beginners or those who have played via reading but are totally new to how a chord is constructed.
Follow the suggestions all the way through and you’ll have a handle on those 3 primary chords, which are the ones you’ll want to be listening for in those favorite songs of yours.
It doesn’t matter if you are wanting to play “Happy Birthday” or “Let It Be” by the Beatles… it’s still those three chords you want a handle on. So many people bypass/ignore this basic step of learning when it comes to playing by ear. If acknowledged, the door is opened for unlocking the mystery to those more complex tunes… but, as the saying goes, one step at a time.
Creating Your Own Super Sounding
Piano Fills & Improvisational Lines
Is Now Within Your Grasp!
(Even If You Don’t Like To Be Weighed Down With Theory)
Improvisation has always had me intrigued from a very young age. Listening to recordings by all that jazz greats not only served as inspiration but, if I wasn’t careful, doing so also left me in a position of feeling a little helpless? Why? Because it seemed so mysterious to me that I was absolutely convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that anyone who could improvise with a certain level of competence had some kind of innate ability he or she was born with that was unreachable by most. I’m not exaggerating one iota when I tell you that, to me, it seemed like a magical experience.
The first individual I got to know on a personal level who had this special flair was my private sax teacher when I was in my junior high school years. This guy would be playing lines that positively blew me away… and it was all done in such a tasteful fashion. I mean, I had been playing piano for a number of years already and I felt that, if I had been playing that long, I should be able to be doing that and, because I “couldn’t” then it just had to be out of my reach. But then I soon realized there was simply certain things I didn’t know.
As I began to develop a bit in this area of improvisation, I was exposed to all that theory. Now, don’t get me wrong… it has it’s place! And I do encourage one to explore all the territory he or she can with enthusiasm.
But something else surfaced…
I might put it in the form of a question that crossed my mind, though I don’t know if these exact words were how I would have thought of putting it back then, but it went something like this:
“For someone to be able to play such creative lines (without having it spelled out) ever so naturally, how in the world could theory be at the root of it all?” Truthfully, we learn to speak relatively fluently at a pretty young age before we even know how to put any words together. So, surely, there has to be some kind of natural ability we all have in this area of improvising music as well.
Ever since, my devotion to helping others (including myself) has included much time and thought in this area of how one can develop the competency and confidence to express himself or herself in a creative fashion in the most natural way possible. Throughout the years, I’ve gone through many stages of this. Let’s face it, as a coach, I’m just as much the learner as any student of mine (continued below…)
The actual video session will include the keyboard animation for easier learning
(Video is approximately 26 minutes in duration)
This special session, I believe, serves as evidence of this devotion of mine. I truly feel that, if one takes on a playful attitude with this approach presented here and keeps an open mind, the results that can be achieved are likely to be rather astounding.
You might say that we’ll only be considering a basic concept and allowing it to flourish. If you’re feeling pretty okay with playing some 7th chords, you’re already 85% there. You’re going to have fun with this. A main reason is that you’ll actually realize results that will not only be pleasant to your own ears but those in the same room with you will likely be turning their heads toward you in a “double-take” fashion before long.
We’re not getting into chord/scale relationships or anything of the kind. This is material that you can start using right away. Whether you want to simply embellish those melodies of yours in a pro-like fashion or you are interesting in creating more elongated improvisational lines, this session can serve you well if you will simply allow it to. One of the greatest things about this whole thing is that, in my opinion, your enthusiasm for creating your very own fills and improvised lines(rather than learning in a “paint-by-number” fashion) is about to be “juiced” and rejuvenated. While it all happens, you won’t feel rule-bound. What we have here is an easy guideline that serves as a bit of a “safety net” for you so things always seem to gravitate toward success.
Please consider joining me at those keys as we get you to start adding more life to those favorite tunes of yours and have you believing your your own personal inner musical genius in a fashion that you may never have up to now…
Click on the button below to enjoy instant access:
When 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!
The inquiries that come my way regarding cocktail piano techniques, as you can imagine, are vast in number. Among all the messages, one of the most prevailing topics is that of chord voicings. Specifically, people often ask for a good starting point.
There is good reason for Lesson #1 of ProProach focusing on the chord voicing that you’ll find there. You see, by mastering that particular one, you set yourself up nicely for many to follow. That lesson is still free (at the time of this writing) so, if you haven’t taken advantage, you are encouraged to gain access to it. Whether it’s jazz piano that’s your thing or any other style, you’ll want to master that 9th chord voicing in all keys. Start with a few, of course, and proceed at your own pace.
Naturally, as we acknowledge in ProProach time and time again, it is in the application of what you are learning where the “gold” is really found. You can virtually escalate your confidence in the area of piano styling by just learning that one voicing and then following up by incorporating it in the context of your favorite songs. Of course, this applies to other voicings and concepts as well. Those taking advantage of my new video session (which is nearly an hour and a half long) are getting “in tune”with this idea because we actually take a good segment of that popular standard Fly Me To The Moon by Bart Howard and see for ourselves how the concept of “strategy integration” can literally turn your piano playing around within minutes, not days, weeks or months.
It doesn’t stop there, however. You see, learning these voicings can put your piano playing “on steroids” in more ways than one. For example, if you simply learn that one piano chord voicing that we take a look at in Lesson #1 of ProProach and then apply it in the fashion that we propose in Cocktail Piano Secrets #1, you soon realize that your perspective on creating piano fills is dramatically changed, whether those fills be chordal or melodic in nature. (That particular piano video session is literally changing the playing of many individuals because of the eye-opening and ear-opening insight contained within it)
You are encouraged to learn one new thing today.. one chord, one voicing, one improvisational idea… and use it. Yes, actually incorporate it into your playing, rather than just approaching in an “exercise-like” fashion. This is where the real value comes into play. After all, isn’t being able to enhance your very own personal playing the reason you’re learning these ideas in the first place?
I get lots of emails from folks asking why ProProach is offered as a 24-week program. “Can’t you just send me the whole program all at once?” I do explain the reason and it can be found via a link on the promotion page. In short, the most value will be gained by “following my prescription” and more and more people, once they take themselves through the program, are contacting me with courtesy messages letting me know that, indeed, they wouldn’t have had it any other way now that they see it all in perspective. If you were to join a fitness program and were to insist upon doing the entire program in one week as opposed to following a proposed 12-week program, you might imagine how that just might not be in your best interest : )
Again, a huge Thanks to all for your positive feedback on Pro Piano Styling Creativity: The Nitty Gritty. To you Friends, please expose yourself to that session again and again and apply its suggestions regularly to realize results beyond your wildest dreams.
In addition, I want to thank all those for the suggestions for future video sessions. I really do listen and I’ll do my best to accommodate your wants and needs, since that’s why I’m here in the first place!
The actual video session will include the keyboard animation for easier learning (Video is approximately 39 minutes in duration)
Sure, it only takes a few minutes to learn this 8-bar musical ditty, which just so happens to be the most popular song in the world (but this is not just all about learning how to play “Happy Birthday,” folks We’re this easy song as a vehicle for learning some fun blues piano concepts*****). As you sit at those keys, how are you going to present it? Are you going to simply hold out those three chords while all that crowd sings the tune in twelve different keys at once? (You know what I mean… if there are two in a crowd of 50 that are in synch with each other, it’s miraculous)
Well, you have a choice. You can proceed in that fashion, as most would do under similar circumstances or you can “wow” them. What’s your choice? Well, if you opt for the latter, it might be a good idea to prepare yourself, hmmm? Well, I have good news for you. I just created a brand new video session that will have you playing “Happy Birthday” like they never heard it before. That’s right, you’ll be swingin’ that tune but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll have the brand of confidence that allows you to play the song in a multitude of ways – on command! We take a look at blues piano chord voicings, melodic embellishment, improvisation, and even walking that bass… all within reach of the beginner. What’s more is you’ll have the know-how when it comes to presenting it all in a manner that let’s them all know you know where you’re at.
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just strut over those keys as you hold your head up high, sit down with half a smirk on your face, and start swingin’ in a fashion that makes the entire affair one to remember simply because YOU showed up? You bet… (it’s a good feeling – you’ll see)
Whether it’s a birthday party you find yourself celebrating, a business meeting, or a friendly get-together, if there’s a piano present… you’re up! So why not do it in style? This special session is NOW AVAILABLE
*****[I think it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyhow: this is not just about having a lot of fun playing Happy Birthday in a bluesy fashion. It’s more about learning some easy-to-understand blues piano concepts that you’ll be having fun with time and time again, whether playing the 12 bar blues or making other favorite songs of yours sound more interesting. So, if blues piano is something that intrigues you, this is a must have.]
From this day forward, those birthdays will never be the same… yes, and it’s all because you were invited. Warning: once you expose yourself to these concepts and apply them, you just might find your mailbox cluttered with more of those invitations, if you don’t mind that : )
Within this piece of trivia is something not so trivial.
It contains the “secret.”
That’s right. It contains the “missing link” which connects the chain that your inner creative musical genius needs to pull himself or herself out of the depths of “creative block.”
Once you grasp this secret, the walls of limitation come crashing down so loudly and so profoundly, your musical life becomes transformed instantly… and, yes, people start listening to you like they never did before (that includes you, too, my dear Friend)
Okay, speaking of genius, let’s learn the answer to today’s “trivia”…