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They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano... but When I Started to Play...
Remember the old ad that used to run endlessly in magazines and newspapers:
"They laughed when I sat down at the piano...but when I started to play..." ?
I remember very well the first time I played piano for a group. They DID laugh. It was a disaster. I overheard the leader say "Let's get somebody with some rhythm in there to play."
That hurt. But I told myself right then and there that I would learn to play the piano so well that no one would ever laugh at me again.
Nobody laughs anymore. And they don't laugh at my students, either.
Because I discovered...
-- The BACKDOOR to piano playing --
What in the world is the "backdoor to piano playing?
Chords are a way in to the world of piano playing without having to go through the front door: years and years of scales, drills, rote practicing, etc. Chords are really a shortcut to understanding and playing music without all the formal training.
Formal training is fine if you have the time and money. But most adults don't want to wait forever before they can play something enjoyable on the piano. I took lessons when I was a kid, but found it boring. Not only that, but all I could do was play the written music exactly as it was written. Without the sheet music in front of me, I didn't have a clue what to do. So I lost interest in piano playing until the incident described above. But shortly after that, I had the opportunity to play in a school combo -- but to do that, I had to learn chords, and learn them fast.
I didn't really know where to turn, so I sent for a $2. chord chart advertised in Popular Mechanics, and within hours after I got it I was playing the Dm7 chord and the C6 chord in my left hand while I played the tune with my right hand. Talk about excited! Within a few weeks I could play dozens of songs using chords. And I discovered that my sight-reading speed greatly improved at the same time, because now I understood what I was seeing on the printed page!
So I came in through the back door instead, and now I enjoy what I used to hate! Why? Because I understand what I'm doing because now I understand chords and chord progressions. I eventually went on to get advanced degrees in music and literature from Southern Oregon University -- and it was easy because of all I had learned about music theory and harmony due to playing and understanding chords.
Can you do the same? There's really no reason why you can't if you have the desire. Start looking at sheet music with new eyes: look for notes that make up chords and then analyze those chords. Before long you'll start seeing a pattern of recurring chords ? in other words, chord progressions. Do this for a few months while simultaneously learning about chords and how they are formed, and music will take on a new dimension for you. You'll no longer view sheet music as something you are tied to, but rather you'll see it as a map that you can follow to create the sounds and styles you choose.
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and products such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for adults. He holds an advanced degree from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He can be reached at http://www.pianolessonsbyvideo.com
He is the author of the popular free 101-week e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 55,700 current subscribers. Those interested may obtain a free two-year subscription by going to http://www.playpiano.com.
Dance Musics Most Popular and Enduring Theme: The Declaration of Independence
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The Downfall Of The #1 Southern Gospel Station
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Just 3 Chords? No Way!
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Throat Singing In Inuit Culture
Originally, Inuit throat singing was a form of entertainment among Inuit women while the men were away on hunting trips. It was an activity that was primarily done by Inuit women although there have been some men doing it as well. In the Inuit language Inuktitut, throat singing is called katajjaq, pirkusirtuk or nipaquhiit depending on the Canadian Arctic region. It was regarded more as a type of vocal or breathing game in the Inuit culture rather than a form of music.
Repetition is the Key to Learning Something Deeply
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RAP Music and Brain Washing Issues
I am not sure if anyone has been watching out there, about the types of music that we are listening to. Let us look at them for a minute. Our grandparents listen to music like; "Happy Days are Here Again, the Skies Above Are Clear Again." Kids today listen to RAP, which actually starts with a 'C' except the 'C' is silent in this new spelling and pronunciation. Its really, CRAP. A radio station in TX is actually called K-RAP. Perfect.
Ibanez SR400 Bass Guitar
The Ibanez SR400 bass guitar is very comfortableto play. The neck is thin up at the headstock, youcan move your hand along it well because of thenecks finish. The SR400's neck at the back hasa matte finish making it very easy to slide your hands up and down the neck. Its easier to playthe higher frets because the neck is a bolt-onwith a curve where the neck bolts.
New Age Music - What Is It Good For?
Let's face it. The world will not end if there isn't another new age music CD on the market. So why bother? Why play when most people don't care or want to hear the kind of music you like? The answer lies in the nature of art itself, for the world really does not need art. It can survive without painting, sculpture or music. It can survive, but it would be a pretty dreary place.
?Who Else Wants to Get Screwed When Signing a Recording or Songwriting Deal?!?!?
You've got your recording (or songwriting) contract in hand and everything's coming up roses, right? You get your check, finally, but it's not quite what you expected. If you sign not knowing what's owed you then you might be shorted some well-deserved income. So make sure that anything you sign contains a statement to the following areas (preferably in your favor):
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How to Create an Original Melody
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Performing, Whats the Big Deal?
Performance anxiety is not something that only happens to musicians, singers, actors and dancers. It happens any time we feel pressure to "perform" in a specific situation or over a period of time. Writing a book or creating a painting or sculpture may evoke symptoms as well.
How to Compose Your Own Music Using 8-bar Phrases
Some people think composing is this miraculous thing that only genius's do. What a myth! It's a skill that can be learned. What can't be learned is the intuition that guides the creative force. What can be learned is the technique. And the most important part of composing technique has to do with THINKING IN PHRASES.
How to Create Interesting Textures
A lot of new age piano music consists of repeating patterns, or textures in the left hand while the right hand improvises a melody. This approach is really a good one! It frees you up to create in the moment. First you decide what chord or chords you'll be using in the left hand. You then create an ostinato or arpeggio that lays the foundation for the entire piece.
Be An Organized Church Pianist
Playing in front of a congregation each Sunday is no easy feat. Make sure you are well prepared before giving your best for God and before others.
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Many artists are still confused as to what goes on during a mastering session. This article will try to shed some light on the last step before fame and riches (well, at least the last step before duplication), and help you with preparing your music before sending to a mastering studio.
Writing Hit Songs
There are a lot of factors to writing a hit song. First, you should focus on writing a good song. Once you've done that, you are not far away from writing a hit.Like most other things in life, it takes persistence, patience, drive, knowledge, belief and maybe some luck.Stop and think about your favorite songs. Really analyze them and figure out what it is that you like about those songs.Different factors may come to play here. Maybe it is the good beat, lyrics that hit home, a beautiful melody, something spiritual or patriotic, or maybe even that it is humorous.If you include one of these elements in your songwriting you are well on your way. If you combine two or more of these elements, you may have yourself a hit.A Good BeatRhythm is important in music. I have to laugh and think of Jerry Van Dyke on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" years ago trying to play the banjo and sing, "I've got rhy-rhy-thm, I've got mah-mah-music..."But, unless you are very funny like Jerry Van Dyke, your audience is not very likely to stay with you. Your music not only needs to have a good beat, but must fit the genre of music you are trying to write. A Metallica beat in a George Strait type song may not get you very far. A song with a good enough beat might be a hit even with no melody and no lyrics. Remember "Green Onions?"Along with the beat is the tempo. Country music is easy to write (I did not say it is easy to write well) because it is about people's lives and everyday experiences. However, too often people write slow songs for country music, when in fact the industry is starving for upbeat country material like "Country Roads" and "Rocky Top." It is much harder to write a good up-tempo country song than it is a tear jerker.Lyrics in popular music can range from broken relationships to political issues, and just about any point in between. Those that tend to be the most popular are about situations you and I may encounter in our everyday lives; "Workin' 9 To 5," "I Just Called To Say I Love You," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "God Bless The USA" (which ingeniously incorporates spiritual, political and patriotic views).A beautiful or interesting melody can get you into the ranks of hit songwriter with no lyrics required. Going back in time to prove a point about beautiful melodies, you might consider songs like "Last Date" and "Sleepwalk."Songs with great melody lines are very easy to be found in many hit TV show themes like "Peter Gunn," "Hawaii 5-0," along with many of the 60's surfer songs like "Wipe Out."Well done humorous songs usually find an audience, such as Ray Stevens "The Streak," and Jerry Reeds "She Got The Goldmine, I Got The Shaft." If you have a knack for both humor and music, you might make a fortune.Spiritual and patriotic songs, if they are well done and come out at the right time, are easy hits. Every time the U.S. gets involved in any type of world conflict, the songwriters get their pens out.Keep your ears and eyes open, and keep a shoe box to put your ideas for songs in. Every time you think of an idea for a song or a song title, write it down and drop it in the box. It could be your first, or your next, big hit.
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