Friday, June 4, 2010

Comments on Your Comments

All right, we're getting blog comments now. The way it should be. And since recent comments from the community have had a common thread, let me see if I can address them all in this one entry. Most of what I'm saying here pertains to comments posted on the previoius blog entry: Tip Three-What's Important

It's true a large part of mastering pop piano is getting over the hurdle of learning chords. With 12,000 chords (or more) to deal with, which ones are essential, and which ones can wait?

I already addressed part of that question in my previous comment. Learn the 12 majors, 12 minors, and 12 sevenths. That prepares you to play any song as long as you have the Chord Simplification Flow Chart that is in the back of the book you get when you take my Instant Piano three hour workshop.

Then I suggested learning the 12 basic chords that lend themselves best to the key of C. You can find those in my previous post as well as in my book How to Play Piano by Ear.

Here's another strategy. Learn new chords as you learn new songs. Make a list of songs you want to have in your repertoire. Then make a pact with yourself to learn one new song a week.

Go through each song and make a list of the chords you don't know from that song. Then do the research and learn the chords.

Play the chords with the left hand in the order they appear in the song. Chords may be difficult by themselves. But learning to change from chord to chord is even more demanding. So do this exercise for 15 minutes a day, and you will probably be able to keep up with your one-song-per-week goal.

As for the question of playing everything in the key of C. That might work as a short term strategy. But don't jump to the conclusion that C is the most important key. It isn't. But it's the easiest. And that makes it easy to fall into a "key-of-C" bias. Not good.

The Master List of 12 important chords (The Top Twelve List) I listed in a previous comment only works for the key of C, by the way. But in the course I teach how to transpose that list into other keys.

As I was learning piano I played almost exclusively in the key of C for the first five years. Nothing to be proud of. But I got good. In the key of C. Then I joined a band. The guitar player liked to play everything in the keys of E and A. I was pretty lost for awhile.

Once again, if you learn one new song a week, and you don't just choose them because they are in the key of C, then you will learn to play in all the important keys pretty fast too.

Hayden, you mentioned the Study Guide being only available to those who have the 18 month course. The fact is anyone can download that from our web site for free. But it doesn't help too much unless you also have the course (unless you just are curious about what you learn in the course.) Go ahead and download it if you want.

Now here is the best way I know of learning the basic chords, because it helps you with not just the chords themselves, but with changing the chords, AND in recognizing the most common chord progressions in life.

It's called the Circle of Fifths. Or the Circle of Fourths. Same thing. If you've taken my "Piano by Ear" workshop you have that chapter in the book. And more importantly you have the CD called "Circle of Fourths Practice."

If you have that, and you have gone through it, I'd love to hear your comments about it here on this blog.

If you have it, but haven't gotten around to it yet, maybe now is the time.

If you don't have it........ Hummm. Let me think about that for awhile.

Play on, and thanks for the interaction. Tip Four is coming up soon.


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