Archive for February, 2012


How To Play Piano: 7 Ways To Make Phatter Piano Chords

Monday, February 27th, 2012
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Here are some ways you can “phatten” your piano chords:

1. Use color tones such as 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, etc.
2. Use crunches by playing the chord notes from the top down.
3. Use tremolos. You can often “run the tremelo” up the keyboard.
4. Use voicing in 4ths instead of 3rds.
5. Use “blue notes” – slide off black keys onto white keys.
6. Use polytonal notes (non-chordal notes) and then resolve to chord notes.
7. Use “toast notes”. Play chords crisply using staccato touch but with the pedal controling the sound.

How to play piano using all kinds of exciting techniques!

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How To Play Piano The Fastest Way: Piano Chords

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
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How to play piano is a subject that most everybody thinks about from time to time during their life. It is a universal desire to create music and express oneself through songs and musical pieces.

Playing piano is a wonderful skill that can stay with a person throughout his or her lifetime and bring joy to them and their family and friends.

The traditional way to learn piano is to take piano lessons and learn to read music from sheet music and piano books, and 90% of people who play do learn that way. But there is also a minority of people who learn to play the piano by using chords. Piano chords are groups of 3 music notes played at one time or at least almost at the same time.

By learning to play piano by playing the melody of a song and then matching that melody with chords in the left hand which use the same piano notes, an individual is able to get started harmonizing the songs he or she likes very quickly.

Learning to read music is a wonderful skill and I highly recommend it, but learning music theory through chord analysis is valuable too, and a skill that should be learned as quickly as possible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=313VSLGgDyg

***For a GREAT course in music theory (understanding how music works) come on over to our Music Theory page.

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When I was 12, I think I was still looking for Middle C…

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
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Not really, but Elisabeth is WAY ahead of where I was at this age!

(My 12-year old granddaughter)

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Ear training for piano players

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
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(This is a guest post – not by Duane)

I’m sure that anyone who was in a jazz club was amazed by the piano players who are the most awesome to behold. They give you the feeling that they are playing a song just like that, without even hearing it before in their lives. There are actually plenty of individuals who are capable of this, they can listen to a song once and then play it flawlessly and without any hesitation. They are considered to be gifted and somehow apart from the rest of us that need written keys, music along with notes and times signatures as our guide.

So yes, it is possible to learn the piano by playing it by ear, however this is not a common method. Ear training for piano players requires to learn music simultaneously, this is the most known and common method. This skill is acquired after many years of practice, listening, reading music and imitating the way that most professional musicians do. For some, playing by ear is actually a gift, an inborn talent that came to them naturally. A good example in this case is Mozart who played and composed many complicated compositions even as a child, long time before he even saw sheet music.

However, you should not make the mistake of thinking that you do not have to learn to read music in order to active this ability for yourself. Anyone that wants to be a good musician, even professionals require this skill. When you can read music you get access to every piece of music ever written. This way you will gain better hand to eye coordination by learning to read music and play the piano, therefore improve your overall musicianship. So basically by reading music you will unconsciously learn to play it by ear. Learning to play the piano by reading music will offer you a perception of the notes and this way you will have an idea of what the music sounds like.

A general piano instruction will include learning to read music, this is an essential part in order to get the basics required to be able to play by ear. This can prove out to be quite difficult for those that do not have a good understanding of good techniques and music theory and learning to play by ear for them can be difficult. It is very important to invest time in practicing your scales and positions, these techniques should definitely be implemented in every practice session since they will help you develop good habits while training your ear in the same time.

It doesn’t matter what’s your reason for wanting to play, ear training for piano players can begin by practicing and reading music. It is never too late to begin your training in these techniques, in fact, it is never too late to achieve your goals! You will find most of these courses online which will offer you most of these musical skills. So wait no longer, sign up for a course and be what you have ever dreamed, learn to play piano by ear and impress others as you were impressed by them.

For a great course in Ear Training, please go to How To Grow Big Ears!

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You’re a Jazz Fan – You Just May Not Know It!

Monday, February 13th, 2012
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Jazz music faces a big problem in the United States and that is a, dare we say it, closed mindedness on the part of many music lovers. The orchestral musicians and lovers don’t like it because it’s not as structured as their style of music and those who like pop music don’t like it because it’s just a bit too academic.

Jazz has the unfortunate problem of being stuck in between the two musical extremes which is why today it has more of a cult following than a mainstream appeal. This is truly a shame because jazz is far more than what we think.

Jazz is what really put American music on the map. In the early part of the 20th Century in a town called New Orleans, Jazz music was accidentally invented by the African American population. With an emphasis on syncopation, improvisation, and complex rhythmic patterns, the African heritage of the music is easy to hear but those musicians weren’t out to invent anything new. The “jam session” was where the music was born and as time went on, American musicians began molding the style in to what we call Jazz.

You already know the first real jazz style. Dixieland jazz produced such songs as “When the Saints Go Marching In”. This was seen between 1918 and 1928 and incorporated rhythm instruments like banjos, drums, and guitars. At the same time, there was a northern style emerging in Chicago which was very similar but faster in style.

What many people don’t understand is that Jazz spent many decades as the popular music of its day. What Madonna, Katy Perry, or Aerosmith were in their day, jazz greats like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were to theirs.

In the 1930s through World War II, another type of Jazz called swing music was the popular music of its day. Songs like “Swing, Swing, Swing” or “Take the A Train” were popular in that era as well as many others. The swing era also was the start of what we call the big band. Today’s version of the big band may be Harry Connick Jr. or Michael Buble but in those days people like Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, and Duke Ellington were the Buble’s.
In the 1940s through the 1960s Bop was the jazz style of choice. People like Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie were from this era that later gave way to cool jazz in the 50s and 60s. People like Miles Davis gave us cool jazz along with soulful and Latin jazz with many of this era’s standards still well known today.

Jazz Fusion came about in the 70s with what we now know as rock mixing with jazz at its peak. Well known artists like Frank Zappa gave us this fusion or mixed sound and as the 20th century went on through the 80s and 90s we would see the modern jazz sound develop. Some people consider modern jazz as something you would hear during a romantic night out but punk jazz, jazzcore, and M-base jazz developed all over the world.

All popular music we know today got its start hundreds of years ago through classical music but the idea of hearing music played by bands instead of orchestras came from jazz music. It’s not stuck in the middle of two styles as many listeners believe. It is, in fact, what we listen to everyday just in a slightly different form.

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