Lesson 39


Focus: Creating Medleys

Piano lessons on keyboard with music notes


Week 39's lesson, entirely in the third supplementary book, focuses on three similar songs and how they can be turned into a one-arrangement medley. Before even beginning work on these songs, Duane explains the principles of a medley and where you can use them to the best effect; for instance, this medley, which includes the song "Prayer of Thanksgiving," could easily be used as a church arrangement.


You'll start with the first song by carefully identifying the primary chords and passing tones. While helping you do this, Duane explains the importance of analyzing these elements, especially when it comes to creating a medley. You'll then work through the song as written, hands alone and hands together, and begin creating a variety of possible arrangements including techniques like Alberti bass, melody octaves, arpeggios and upward inversions.


Your work with the second song will be extremely similar to the first. Like before, you'll identify and analyze the song's form and chord structure and play the piece hands alone and hands together before beginning an arrangement. This arrangement, however, will include full chording and a variety of octave techniques.


After performing the same analysis and practice tactics with the third song (and, of course, arranging it), Duane demonstrates one possible way to combine these songs into a medley. He then begins an explanation of medley-making principles, such as creating an introduction, including dynamic and tempo variety and using chord substitutions and inversions to easily flow in and out of songs. He also introduces the concept of theme and explains how it works as an underlying principle in all medley creations.


The lesson ends with one more, non-medley song, this time practicing the key of F major and the swing bass.


Review by Mollie Wells

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