Thursday, November 29, 2012

Easy Piano Accompaniment for Christmas

The piano is a very easy instrument to learn how to play. Except for one thing.

Unlike those who play flute, cello, violin, sax, trumpet, etc. etc., a piano player virtually plays two instruments simultaneously. Let's look at these dynamics.

A violinist, for example, uses his left hand, his right hand, his concentration, most of his fingers to produce one tone on the violin. This tone is usually part of a melody.

It's very demanding to learn to play this tone on a violin. Violinists spend a lifetime getting this tone exactly right.

By comparison piano players can produce any one of 88 tones just by (metaphorically) pressing a button. It's really simple. I have no guilt in calling my basic piano workshop "Instant Piano," because one can create great sounds on a piano from day one, thanks in part to the "push button" nature of the piano.

There is no such thing as instant guitar, instant violin, instant cello, instant clarinet because those instruments and most others are so demanding. But piano can be learned very quickly. That's what makes piano so relaxing, fun, and enjoyable compared to most other instruments.

But........the piano player is usually called upon to do two or more things at once when playing the piano. And that's the hard part for them. Typically a piano player plays accompaniment (chords) with the left hand and melody with the right hand. Yes, he has to do both things at once.

It seems like you might call this a challenge of coordination. It's not. It's a challenge of uncoordination. The challenge to a piano player is to UN coordinate the two hands, so that they play two different things simultaneously. But the UN coordination must be coordinated precisely.

Which brings us to playing Christmas carols. One of the beautiful things about Christmas carols is that people sing them. When that happens it takes all the pressure off the piano player for playing the melody at the same time he tackles the chords. Then he needs to concentrate on only one thing at a time: playing the chord accompaniment.

So now it's a matter of pushing buttons again. When you can focus on one task (chords) you can succeed faster. And have more fun sooner.

Don't get me wrong. We still want to achieve right hand/left hand independence eventually. So we work on the basics. But we can achieve some desired results sooner by letting someone else (singers) take over some of our responsibilities.

This idea applies to all forms of vocal accompaniment, not just for Christmas carols. But we do have our Christmas carol program on sale right now until Saturday. And if you want to pick up on some of these basics and be able to play some fun music THIS YEAR, now is your chance to do so for a 50% discount. We don't have sales very often. And this on ends in a couple of days.

Click here to view order page and for more information.

Just thinking out loud.


  1. I completely agree that playing the piano can be both relaxing and fun, but also challenging due to the need to coordinate both hands to play melody and chords simultaneously. Your suggestion of letting the singers take over some of the responsibilities can definitely take the pressure off the piano player and allow them to focus on playing the chords.

    It's great to hear that you have a Christmas carol program on sale, and I'm sure it will be a great opportunity for those who want to learn some basic piano skills and play some fun music this year. Thank you for sharing this information and providing a discount for your program. I'm sure many people will find it helpful and enjoyable.

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