Archive for February, 2016


Piano Shortcuts: 7 Shortcuts To More Exciting Piano Playing!

Monday, February 29th, 2016
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Best Piano Shortcuts To Better Piano Playing

Are there really any piano shortcuts that work, or do they just delay learning?

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MsxMagNKZU&feature=youtu.be

Good morning. This is Duane and I’d like to share with you today seven shortcuts to more creative piano playing. Let me tell you in advance most shortcuts turn out to be long-cuts. In other words, if you try to take a shortcut in learning, it bites you in the end. It really does because if you learn a pattern, for example, and you memorize it but you don’t understand why the pattern moves the way it does, that’s a shortcut. Okay, so you can do the pattern faster but in the long run, it’s going to hurt you because you don’t understand the concept of what the pattern is.

That usually has to do with chord progressions. In other words, if you don’t know why a chord moves like that, then you’re in trouble. You can memorize it but it’s not a shortcut that’s helpful. If you want to learn to improvise and play, arrange songs and so on, there are certain shortcuts that you can take but those shortcuts are really a branch of knowledge, a branch of learning that really come from understanding. Let me just share with you seven shortcuts to playing more creative piano.

First of all, you need to learn chords. I’ll go through these quickly. If you don’t know chords, you need to learn chords. There’s a zillion courses available for you to learn chords. They’re free on the internet. I have courses you can take, and so on, but learn chords. That’s the first shortcut.

Secondly, you need to learn color tones. Color tones is where you add a 6th or a 7th or a dominant 7th or a 9th or a Major 9th or a minor 7th or minor 9th, because that’s when playing gets interested when you add color tones.

Then too you learn chords upside down, learn inversions so you’re not always playing a chord in the same way. Instead of playing a C chord like that, you can play it like that too, can’t you? When you combine that with color tones, then of course you get all kinds of interesting voices like that. You need to learn inversions.

You need to learn to voice a chord too. Voice a chord. That’s a chord that just is stacked up in 3rds, but there’s other ways to do it. You can leave the 3rd out and play it up here, can’t you? If your hand’s big enough, you can play that all at once. Mine’s not so I have to roll the chord but that’s a way to voice a chord. When you include color tones, then of course you can do things like that. Get two hands involved and you’re voicing a chord. In the left hand, you have the color tones. In the right hand, you’ve got the root and the 5th. In the left hand, you have the 3rd and so on. Learn to voice chords as well.

Next, you need to learn how to add runs and fills. In other words, once you know a chord, then you need to know how to run it up the keyboard or break it up in various ways like that. There’s all kinds of ways to break up chords. There’s 2-1 breakups, there’s 3-1 breakups, there’s straddles. You can learn chords and learn how to do runs and so on.

Then you need to learn to improvise. Improvising, that’s a scary word, I know, but it really just means to make up your own melody. If you’re playing “Happy Birthday,” can you make up another melody to that chord? Sure you can, and so on. Learn to make up a new melody to improvise.

Then you need to learn chord symbols. You need to know that that stands for C Maj 7th stands for C Major 7th, and C m7th stands for C minor 7th, and so on, so learn chord symbols. Again, there’s courses galore on that sort of thing that you can learn.

There’s my seven quick tips or shortcuts to more exciting piano playing, but remember they’re not really shortcuts. They’re just ways to understand what you’re doing on the keyboard so that you can get better maybe faster than if you just took traditional piano lessons.

That’s it for today. If you enjoy this kind of thing, come on over to PlayPiano.com and sign up for our whole series. Hope to see you there. Bye-bye for now.

For a Kindle book on Piano Shortcuts, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Shortcuts-More-Exciting-Piano-Playing-ebook/dp/B00QXWYMFS/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442354044&sr=1-2-fkmr2&keywords=kindle+books+to+purchase+-+piano+shortcuts

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MsxMagNKZU&feature=youtu.be

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

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Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

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“How long have you been playing the piano? Are You Playing Piano Using Chords & Music Theory?”

Monday, February 22nd, 2016
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“How long have you been playing the piano?”

People ask me all the time “How long have you been playing the piano?” 

If you’ve been playing the piano for any length of time people probably ask you the same question they ask me, “How long have you been playing  piano?” It depends on what you mean by playing the piano. I started taking lessons when I was 7, but like most kids I didn’t like it. I hated it. It was boring. It was more like forced labor than playing, but when I was 14 and a freshman in high school I was asked by a member of the high school combo if I would fill in in their combo. They had a jazz combo. I guess the senior had graduated, and they had no option except to ask me. They knew I played a little piano, just read music, but I didn’t know anything about chords, or improvisation or anything like that. I said, “I don’t know if I can do that or not.” The sax player, a guy named Mike, he said, “Hey, Duane, just learn the 1, 4 and 5 chords, and you can get by for now.” I didn’t have any idea what that meant, 1, 4, 5, but he showed it to me.

They are just 3 easy chords. If you’re in the key of B flat it’d be the B flat chord, and the E flat chord and the F chord. I think we played Moon Glow, if I recall. We did play Moon Glow. Boy, I haven’t played that for years. I had to learn a few other chords other than 1, 4 and 5. One, 4 and 5 you can play the blues. A lot of songs are based on 1, 4 and 5, the blues pattern, 12-bar blues pattern. The theme was Moon Glow, so I had to learn that as well. I found out that once I started learning chords then a whole new world of music opened to me instead of just being black notes on a printed sheet. Then I understood what was going on in the sheet that I saw. I was able to add things. It happened gradually, but it happened fairly rapidly through high school years. By the time I got out of high school then I majored in music, and progress was pretty rapid.

Playing the piano is so much fun and so satisfying that I hope that no matter how long you’ve been playing the piano that you have learned chords or are in the process of learning chords. When I say chords I mean more than chords. I mean music theory as well. In other words, a lot of people are scared by that term music theory, but it really just means how music works. What are the ins and outs of music? How are melodies formed? How do chords progress, that sort of thing. Learn all you can about music theory and chords, if you want to get good on the piano. That’s my little sermon for today on piano playing. We’ll see you tomorrow with another little tip like this. Bye-bye for now.

I’d like to tell you about a little book that I wrote a few years back. It’s called Piano Chords and Chord Progressions, the Secret Back Door to Exciting Piano Playing. It’s a terrific resource about chords. If you want to know more about chords you ought to latch onto this book. It’s just barely over $10 bucks, $11 bucks, I think it is. It covers all the chords and the chord progressions that I talk about in my videos. It’s not a substitute for videos of course or DVDs, but it’s a great summary and is so inexpensive that it’s well worth your while to get. Here’s a table of content. You can just look down here and see all the things it covers. It starts out with major, minor, diminished, augmented, 6th, 7th and on to 13th chords and suspensions, and alterations and then gets on to chord progressions and so on.

It’s a very thorough book, and it’s got a lot of illustrations. I’ll just toggle through a little bit. There’s the back cover. It’s worth your while to get, so hope you take advantage of that. Thank you. Bye-bye for now.

Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI-cDoTbvSo&feature=youtu.be

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Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

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***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

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Using Contrasting Piano Styles In “Over The Rainbow”

Monday, February 15th, 2016
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“Over The Rainbow” Piano Styles

Good morning. This is Duane. Today, I’d like to talk about  using contrasting piano styles in a song to make it more interesting. I think I’ll pick “Over the Rainbow.” I think everybody probably knows that song. I’m going to do just two styles. You know there’s hundreds of styles, but I’m just going to use two. I’m going to use an arpeggio style. That means breaking up the chords like that. It’s a smooth style. Then, I’m going to use a chording style. Just those two styles, okay? By contrasting those two, you get a nice contrast, and you create more interest in your piece. Let me say I’m playing the introduction to “Over the Rainbow.”

(Duane illustrating contrasting piano styles on the piano.)

You see, just by using two styles you make the piece more interesting. As I indicated, there’s lots of different styles you can use, but just by using two, notice that I played the first time through … The first verse through using arpeggios. The second time, I used a chording style, and that’s all. That’s the only contrast. Okay? By going back and forth, between those two styles, you create a lot more interest in your playing, than you would if you used the same style all the way through. That’s my point, okay? Thanks for being with me. If you enjoy these little tips, come on over to playpiano.com, and sign up for our free series of tips. There are videos, and there are newsletters, and stuff like that. I think you’ll like it. Come on over, if you haven’t already, and sign up. Thanks for being with me, and we’ll see you tomorrow with another little idea of some sort. Bye-bye for now.

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Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4cE9AKkgEU

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***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Backdoor

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn

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Piano Keys & Piano Notes: What’s The Difference?

Monday, February 8th, 2016
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Is There Any Difference Between Piano Notes & Piano Keys?

Good morning. This is Duane and today, I’d like to talk about the difference between piano keys and piano notes. By the way, this short little video is just for beginners. Okay? I presume, if you’re more advanced, you can know the difference but there is some confusion with beginners about the difference between keys and notes. They think of them as the same thing. Technically, keys are these things you see as white and black articles on the piano. Those are piano keys, right? Piano notes are the notes that the keys make. In other words, when I press a piano key, it makes a piano pitch of some sort. That pitch is C defined by the vibrations per second. That becomes a note, a musical note that can be written on paper. The symbol is not the note, it is a symbol of a note. Right?

We have three things. We’ve got the piano keys and then we have the symbol of the note, which is a whole note, or quarter note, or half note, or whatever it is. Then the note itself, which is C, or D, or F, or G. Let’s walk throughout the piano notes, they keys and the notes. This is a C on a piano, a piano key C, but it makes a piano note C. D, E, F, G, A, B, C. In other words, there’s only the alphabet notes or the alphabet A through G. Right? Then it starts over again. It starts down at the beginning bottom of the keyboard, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. A, B, C, D, E, F, G. A, B, C, and so on through the top of the keyboard.

The black keys, the black piano keys are sharps and plats. For example, if I go up a half step from C, that’s called C sharp. That’s called D sharp. That’s called F sharp. That’s called G sharp. That’s called A sharp. Now, if I’m coming down, if I go a half step below B, that’s B flat. A flat. G flat. E flat. D flat. In other words, the black keys have two names. Each black key is both the sharp and a flat, depending on how it’s used. That note is both C … That key and that note is both C sharp and D flat. That key is both D sharp and E flat. That black key is F sharp and G flat. That black key is G sharp and A flat and that black key is both A sharp and B flat.

Those are piano keys and they produce piano notes. I think you can tell it from the illustration how they’re related. Just take a look at that for a minute and that will be it today. Thanks for being with me and we’ll see again tomorrow. Bye-bye for now.

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Click on this link to watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDbUqEqrKF0&feature=youtu.be

***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”

Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn Backdoor

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Have You Discovered The “Backdoor” To Piano Playing?

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
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Playing piano using chords is a way to “come through the Backdoor of Piano Playing” leading to being able to add fullness and excitement to a song by improvising. See the backdoor at www.PlayPiano.com

Come through the “back door” of piano playing – learn to “color on the piano without crayons.” Sign up for our free series of chord-coloring tips atwww.PlayPiano.com

 

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Have You Discovered The “Backdoor” To Piano Playing?
What Is The “Backdoor” To Piano Playing?

Did you realize that there is a backdoor to piano playing? 95% of all piano players come in the “front door” – meaning piano lessons and finger drills and scales and endless practice until they can finally play a song that people can recognize. I came in the front door – I took lessons as a kid from the time I was about 7 until I was 14 – and couldn’t play a decent song all the way through if my life depended on it, plus I was “tied to the written music” – if I had no sheet music in front of me I was totally lost and had no idea what to do. But then I learned about the backdoor and I suddenly got a much bigger sound and enjoyed what I was playing!

Come on over to www.PlayPiano.com to see how you can come through the “backdoor” too!

 

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