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Joined: Aug 2009
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All the teachers I can find only teach classical piano. I want to be able to play keyboard in a rock band, a la Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. Does anyone know of any books that can teach me the techniques i need?


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I think Berklee press might have something you'd want. They have books specifically for that.

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I'm not an authority in this subject, but it
SEEMS to me there's not much diff between how you PLAY classical and rock.
They're just different songs.

You articulate and play with feeling in both types of songs.
At least, you SHOULD. (And not use a synth to play all notes
at velocity=100)
And ideally, with keyboards, you're layering sounds.

I think the teachers are just making you aware that they don't know
a ton of rock songs. And they prefer to teach you technique
USING classical music since they know it better.

My teacher is like this. And I just study rock songs on my own.
She'll help me with picking out rhythm problems and maybe a
missed note or two. But when it comes to teaching TECHNIQUE,
she'd like me to learn something she already knows.

You gotta kinda "go with" your teacher.
They'll help you BETTER if you agree to go along with the
songs they already know.

As few pop musicians as there ARE that play keyboards,
most of em learned classical music first i think.

Did Led Zeppelin even HAVE a keyboard player?

With rock, you're up against the guitar dude.
And he'll always get more chicks smile
(But the keyboard player is what makes the DIFFERENCE
between good rock and lame rock.)

I think you'll still want a teacher.
There's a lot to piano playin' and much of it
AIN'T intuitive.
There's a lot I've learned from my teacher that
I wouldn't have thought would be important or
even to ask ABOUT...

Well, that's my rather long winded 2c...

Good luck to ya smile


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Hi I disagree :P

I think you should play what YOU want to play, not what your teacher wants to hear. After all, you are playing for fun and you are paying them! If they don't like the music you want to play then change teachers!


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Led Zep's keyboard player and also bass player was John Paul Jones for your information. Bands don't like keyboard players much as they are superfluous and often called on to create backgound. They might have you as a session musician to enhance studio tracks but I have found guitarists very jealous of their position and reserving the solo spots. There are many immature and egotistical people in bands, even the great ones. Oddly this creates some of the creative tension that propels music but at the same time it is frustrating if other musicians don't sympathise with your instrument. It is very difficult to be another Ray Manzarek. But a lot of his sounds and Billy Preston's sounds were actually organ, Hammond, Rhodes and anything other than a straight piano. I honestly think that Preston sold himself short on the Beatles anyway, albeit brilliantly.


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Rocker, I don't think there is any specific "technique" that needs to be learned to play rock/pop/country/hip hop/whatever. Really what one should be more concerned with is the actual sensebilities the musician has in each of these settings. Everything is different with the main addition being the idea of improvisation. With improv comes different theory, new feels of new styles, different forms, the need for strong ears, etc. If you would consider pursuing this as a career I would highly recommend finding yourself a teacher who is well-rounded in these areas. In the meantime I would be taking records from every era, and if there is a keyboard part, transcribe it. Research the history of keyboards, find out where the sounds originate and how they have changed. What have they become? Find out where they fit in. If you don't own a keyboard, maybe pick up a rental for a month and fool around with it. This is the best way to learn.

Cheeze...

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Originally Posted by The Rocker.
All the teachers I can find only teach classical piano. I want to be able to play keyboard in a rock band, a la Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. Does anyone know of any books that can teach me the techniques i need?


Rocker, here is a cool online site with Shawn doing online rock piano lesson. He has many types of tunes. I like his approach. He has a website you can sign up for his program. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX5ISC6tUnM

Most guitar players and rock piano is learned off the record by ear. Sheet music is not always in the same key as the record and many signature licks are not printed in the charts.

Good luck katt

Good luck

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For me one of the biggest difference is the pedal. You just don't need pedal for other types of music the way you do for classical. When I'm practicing blues, boogie, or jazz I just don't use pedal, but unless I'm playing baroque or early classical, I can't live without pedal.

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Thanks for the replies everyone


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Virtually everything you learn from a classical piano teacher will help you with playing any other style of music, including rock.

That is because its the same fingers, same key layout, same notes, requiring at least somewhat of the same technique to play well. For chords, the more exotic chords are simply the basic chords with additional notes, and a lot of entry-level classical is built upon those basic chords.

So take lessons, and, if you can, find someone who can also teach you rock piano, but what you learn in classical will always be an advantage to you.

I know, because it works for me...I was classically trained, and teach it today, but also play and teach early rock and roll, blues, boogie-woogie...all of which are, as explained above, based upon the same fundamental rules of music and of playing the instrument.

For example, I have a student who is 14 who just learned "Stairway to Heaven" from the Led Zep book...the full-strength version, double-handed chords, the works...he now plays the entire piece, and plays it well, and it sounds great.

But to even attempt to play it, he had to first know how to read music, plus have a solid technique to play the runs and the chords, all of which I taught him via the classical route (which he also likes).

Its all music, and the rules of music, and the craft of playing the instrument, are pretty much universal regardless of the style of music.

Last edited by rocket88; 09/05/09 12:50 AM.

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The basic skills one needs to play rock so to speak would be simply to learn some basic chord theory and most importantly train your ears to asimulate some tunes of those rock gods you revere.

Classical trainig has got it's relevance.Try to play some ELP,Yes,Kansas etc. without any classical chops.One reason your teacher might disuade you from teaching you these rock basics because you can't teach something you don't know yourself. Technique is very important in itself.

Rock keyboards is an unorthodox idiom and there is no regimental way of learning other than using your ears comping those solos note for note in the beginning.

Now if your goals might stray you toward rock,blues,R&B you might consider studying with a jazz/blues player/teacher in that again the chordal approach holds true but even more complex than rock & roll. wink


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Originally Posted by Nikalette
For me one of the biggest difference is the pedal.


How about playing standing up? Not all rock keyboards do this, but in concert most of them seem to.


gotta go practice

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