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#1245276 - 08/07/09 09:19 AM 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY?  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 61
keyTHIS Offline
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keyTHIS  Offline
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a professional piano player told me there are three ways to becoming a piano player:

1) memorize songs. i can memorize a song, but as i improve, i want to change it because it sounds too simple after a while. and if you are not constantly playing that song, you forget how you arranged it.

2) learn thousands of inversions and be able to play them instataneously. this seems impossible. there are THOUSANDS of these. how do these people do it? are they all genius's?
they've memorized the circle of fifths, and they can play ebm6 20 ways up and down the keyboard instantaneously. HOW DOES ONE MEMORIZE EVERY NOTE OF EVERY CHORD AND BE ABLE TO PLAY IT INSTANTANEOUSLY 20 WAYS UP AND DOWN THE KEYBOARD?

3) become a fluent music reader. this at first seems to make the most sense, but every time i play a piece of music, the arrangement is less than satisfying. it never sounds like the record.

HELP!

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#1245517 - 08/07/09 06:27 PM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: keyTHIS]  
Joined: Jan 2007
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Pianos_N_Cheezecake Offline
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Pianos_N_Cheezecake  Offline
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Well... You need a new music teacher, my friend! These are the 3 ways to become a piano player? Well then I am not a piano player! Sure memorizing songs and inversions of chords is important I guess, but not THAT important. The chords I choose to play on the piano aren't something that I have practised many hours of and memorized. Sometimes I will play a certain chord voicing that I have never played before simply because that's what my ear was hearing. You can't just memorize every chord, that's useless. It boils down to taste. How do you want a certain chord to sound? What do you want it to feel like? How do you want it to fit in with what you are playing? And practise that. The rest becomes adopted into your musical language. That is how you play the piano. Becoming a fluent music reader is great if all you want to play is what's on the page, but the skill I would recommend practising is reading and using your ears at the same time. So, play different chord voicings while you play the melody, embelish the melody a little bit, switch up the arrangement. Change the feel. Make some music!

#1245665 - 08/08/09 06:09 AM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: Pianos_N_Cheezecake]  
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etcetra Offline
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etcetra  Offline
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It's kind of useless to worry about all those things at once right now... you are just going to overwhelm yourself. I think what's important for you, or for anyone for that sake is to find out what you need to work on at your level... I don't know what your skill level are, but it's probably best to study with a teacher.

You'll realize that once you've done enough practicing learning chords and tunes won't sound as intimidating, because you will notice common patterns in new songs/chords and you will be able to learn then very quickly.

It's a lot like working out.. If you start thinking that you have to life 200lb of weight and run 10miles a day, then it sounds overwhelming. But if you find the right instructor, he/she can give you help you get there. That person can evaluate where you are at and give you the right exercises to get to that point. It may take years, but you will get there as long as you don't give up.

I think what's most important in music is dedication, persistance and patience.

anyways, your friend might be saying the right things, but it's important to remember that you have a limited perspective and you might not really understand what he means right now. Don't worry about all that, just take it one step at a time and do what is necessary...for some it's working on giant steps or chopin etudes, and for others it may be working out of beginner book.. you have to be very honest about where you are and start from there.

and most of all, enjoy making music, no matter what level you are.. you're not going to change where you are by being frustrated about it, and life is too short to be wasted on being worried and frustrated. You're capable of enjoying music no matter what level you are at.


#1245666 - 08/08/09 06:10 AM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: Pianos_N_Cheezecake]  
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etcetra Offline
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Also, if you really want to improve, you should stop thinking about making deadlines, like "I need to be at this level by this time", and allow yourself to give all the time you need to get there.

It helps to think in 5 or even 10 yrs increments, it takes a lot of patience but that's how most great achievements are made. If you were building a house from scratch it may take years, maybe 10+ to complete it.. and you have to put faith in the fact that what you are doing will yield a result in the long term, and let go off your immediate expectations.

And trust me, the fulfillment you get from that process is much more worthwhile than any instant gratification you can get.

Once you make this into a lifelong journey and pursuit, you can just enjoy and take pride in the little progress you make each day, and there is no need to worry and frustrated about these little things.


Last edited by etcetra; 08/08/09 06:16 AM.
#1245979 - 08/08/09 10:08 PM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: etcetra]  
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keyTHIS Offline
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keyTHIS  Offline
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oh etcetera!

thank you for the very cogent, insightful posting.

i think i'll print it out and put it over the keyboard.

#1246033 - 08/09/09 01:27 AM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: keyTHIS]  
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Jazz+ Offline
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You can memorize every chord inversion. It's not very hard... and if you are a masterful improviser it's nearly essential... a 3 note chord has 3 inversions, a 4 note chord has 4 inversions, etc..pretty easy...it's like learning your A, B, C's ... or stacking blocks. I guess most adults don't have time for this so they get overwhelmed.

#1246085 - 08/09/09 06:05 AM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: Jazz+]  
Joined: May 2008
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etcetra Offline
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etcetra  Offline
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keyTHIS,

lol, well I am glad it was helpful. smile

Jazz+

For someone starting out doing inversions for

3 note chords maj/min/dim/aug
4 note chords maj7/min7/V7/half dmin7/full dim 7

in every key does seem overwhelming.

Instead of worrying too much about it. I think it's best to just pick one or two keys and focus on that.. once you figure out that there is a pattern to how these chords are constructed the rest will be much easier.

#1246098 - 08/09/09 08:41 AM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: keyTHIS]  
Joined: Mar 2005
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lilylady Offline
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Originally Posted by keyTHIS
a professional piano player told me there are three ways to becoming a piano player:

1) memorize songs. i can memorize a song, but as i improve, i want to change it because it sounds too simple after a while. and if you are not constantly playing that song, you forget how you arranged it.

2) learn thousands of inversions and be able to play them instataneously. this seems impossible. there are THOUSANDS of these. how do these people do it? are they all genius's?
they've memorized the circle of fifths, and they can play ebm6 20 ways up and down the keyboard instantaneously. HOW DOES ONE MEMORIZE EVERY NOTE OF EVERY CHORD AND BE ABLE TO PLAY IT INSTANTANEOUSLY 20 WAYS UP AND DOWN THE KEYBOARD?

3) become a fluent music reader. this at first seems to make the most sense, but every time i play a piece of music, the arrangement is less than satisfying. it never sounds like the record.

HELP!


I think I know where you are coming from. It sounds like you would like to play like a professional popular or jazz musician, not a classical player.

Classical players do read and follow music. Rather closely.

Pop/blues/jazz players play entirely differently often improvising on a piece. (BTW have you thought about posting on the non classical forum of PW?)

I would suggest starting with a few common chords. Get comfortable with them, and add one or two more each week. As well, you should learn the scales that go with them.

For example. In the key of C, the most common chords would be C F G (built upon the I IV V notes of the scale of C. In pop music the G is G7. Add Dm7 and Am to those. They are the ii and vi minor in the scale of C.

A common chord progression in C would be C F G7 C
That would be I IV V7 I

A common chord progression in pop music in C would be C Am Dm7 G7 C
That would be I vi ii V7 I
(commonly called 1 6 2 5)
I put capitals to denote Major chords, and low case for minor chords, also commonly done.

You could then pick another Key and learn the common chords for them.

The 1 4 5
and the 1 6 2 5

Keep adding another key each month.

You will find that with repetition it will not seem that daunting.

Good luck, and as written above, ENJOY THE JOURNEY!


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
#1246481 - 08/09/09 10:30 PM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: lilylady]  
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keyTHIS Offline
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keyTHIS  Offline
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yes, my main focus is popular music, but i will play classical as well, and i will play it STRICTLY as written. but i'll need inversions as well to play pop and jazz.

thank you all for posting.

please keep the ideas coming if you have them, they are very much appreciated.

#1246482 - 08/09/09 10:34 PM Re: 3 WAYS TO LEARN TO PLAY? [Re: lilylady]  
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Posts: 61
keyTHIS Offline
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keyTHIS  Offline
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i did post on the non-classical forum and they stopped me because i had posted it on this and one other. rules are rules i guess.


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