Learn Cocktail Piano: Open Piano Chord Voicings

The concept of open piano chord voicings is certainly familiar to you if you have spent any significant amount of time having fun with ProProach. If you have yet to experience this popular piano chord voicings program, let’s just take a brief sample of how open piano chord voicings can add that “special something” to your piano playing:

Let’s take a look at a basic 7th chord… Fmaj7 (“F major seven”)

Learn to play cocktail piano with all the wonderful tools available at Piano Amore!

Learn to play cocktail piano with all the wonderful tools available at Piano Amore!

The Fmaj7 chord, in its most basic form is as follows:

F A C E

When you play this chord on the piano in this particular formation, you are actually playing a chord in “closed” position. This makes sense when you consider that the chord tones in this chord are as close to together as they can be, which means that there are no chord tones in between the ones we see here (there is no F in between the chord tones we are playing… there is no F in between F and A, between A and C, or between C and E. Likewise, there is no A in between any of the other chord tones; nor is there a C or a E in between any of the other chord tones. They are all close together.

Now if we play a little game with this chord structure by taking one of the chord tones and repositioning it, we will have something a bit different (yet still the same chord)… Play this formation, starting with the F that is one octave below middle C:

F C E A

You will notice that we have moved the A to the top of the structure. Sooooo… even though there is an A in between the F and C, we are not playing it. Instead, we are playing the A one octave higher. This chord is now said to be in “open” position. Play the first Fmaj7 in its basic position and then play this open chord voicing for Fmaj7 and listen to each. Wow! This is a real eye-opener (and ear-opener!) for many who experience this for the first time.

Can you see (and hear) how playing this chord in open position might lend itself to a more tasteful sound when playing that chord in some of your favorite standard songs? Here is one example: If we are playing a ballad and the chord is Fmaj7 with a melody note of A. Taking a look at our open piano chord voicing above, can you see that the melody note is actually the same note as the top note of the chord voicing? Therefore, would you say that this piano chord voicing might be a tasteful choice when beginning this song? Absolutely!

Actually, as a cocktail pianist, you’ll want to immerse yourself in more and more of these open chord voicings. They are sure to add dimension to your playing. This is a sure way to enhance your personal piano playing style!

The more you “open” yourself up to playing more open voicings (pun intended), the more doors you will open when it comes to getting a more tasteful, professional sound at those keys. It’s a great way to turn heads in a room! You see, even though those listening may not know theoretically how you are playing those voicings, they can certainly hear that the player (you) has a handle on what he or she is doing musically.

Have fun as you “open your world” to more and more possibilities when it comes to the art of mastering those piano chord voicings!

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

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!

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

Create Your Very Own
Piano Fills & Improvised Lines
The Easy Way

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)Theory is not something you need to be conjested with!
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…)

Animation keyboard included
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:


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Cocktail Piano Techniques:
Chord Voicing Creativity

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!

Blues Piano Concepts
For Beginners!

Just $20
CLICK HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS
Animation keyboard included
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.]

Ordering is safe and secure!

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 : )

I Played A Wrong Note!
(“Wrongo,” says Longo)

Who is well noted for saying this:

“There is no such thing as a wrong note.”

???

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”…

Listen to all these wrong notes:

(yep, he’s the one who said it)

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com