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!

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

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!