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#2629393 - 04/02/17 01:31 PM Best way to learn pop piano?
FrostyKeys Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 18
Background : 2 years classical lessons. 5 year break. One year on my own. I'd rate myself late beginner.

I think I have the basics down and understand theory pretty well.

I know most say the best way to learn pop is by using chords and fake books. My issue is, I totally understand how to do this in theory, but in practice it seems impossible. So if I went this route, what would you suggest?

Start by single line melody and roots, then move to, triads in left, single note in right, then chord in the right and single notes in the left, then root five in the left and third seventh in the right? That's the impression I get from all the books I read. Sounds easy when I say it, but can hardly get anywhere doing this and feel I could never do it on the fly...unless I had proper instruction or a structured method book.

I have both, How to play from a fake book and The Pop Piano book, but both are more of a reference rather than a method.

I would get a teacher, but I would need one who specializes in pop..that is hard to find.

My other approach is to just play written sheet music. I can play some "easy piano" like the Beatles from Dan fox. And am looking to move into dan Coates, which is chanllenging, but achievable.

Any suggestions? I'd appreciate it greatly.

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#2629402 - 04/02/17 02:08 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
Well, here is one option .....


http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.p...tml#Post2628472


Here is another ...

http://www.poppianopro.com/




Here is another ...

http://www.playpianocatalog.com/1yecrco.html


Here is another ....

http://piano-by-chords.com/


Here is another .....

http://www.pianobychords.com/


Here is another ....

http://www.chordpianoisfun.com/



Or you can just fool around on YouTube.com and pick up something here and there. Ask a few questions on this forum and do the best you can.

Good Luck to you



Edited by dmd (04/02/17 04:17 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2629502 - 04/02/17 07:23 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
newbert Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 1115
Loc: Upstate New York, USA
Another online course to consider is Keyboard Improv.

(It doesn't only focus on jazz).
_________________________
Bert

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#2629547 - 04/02/17 09:28 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
FrostyKeys Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 18
Wow! Thanks!

Pop piano pro seems to bring up a blank page.
I like play – piano – chords best of all those choices. I used to follow his YouTube channel, piano play it.

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#2629570 - 04/02/17 10:54 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By FrostyKeys
Wow! Thanks!

Pop piano pro seems to bring up a blank page.
I like play – piano – chords best of all those choices. I used to follow his YouTube channel, piano play it.


Actually the Pop Piano Pro should not even be on the list.

It is not what I thought it was. Sorry.

As far as PianoPlayIt .... He has pretty good stuff. However, I find his style a little annoying. But if you can get past that, it might work for you.



Actually, the most professional instruction is one called ...

The Professional Chord System by David Higginson.

You purchase the entire kit for $269 at this site ....

http://www.pianostar.com/index.php

That is exceptionally well done.

I have it and I would highly recommend it.

Good Luck To You




Edited by dmd (04/02/17 11:54 PM)
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2629708 - 04/03/17 11:13 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
Groove On Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/15
Posts: 689
The Pop Piano Book author, Mark Harrison offers online lessons. He seems to have a lot of experience teaching adults and working musicians, that's a nice combo.

Website: Mark Harrison Online Lessons.
_________________________
Acoustic Upright + Roland FP-30
The question is, am I making music or just playing a bunch of notes?

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#2630515 - 04/05/17 07:52 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
FrostyKeys Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 18
Thanks everyone.

DMD, The professional court system link that you posted has me intrigued. I have watched some YouTube videos, and of all of the above mentioned methods, this one seems the least gimmicky. My interest is in playing solo piano, not accompaniments or playing for another singer. I hear this course is more focused on accompaniment. Could you possibly tell me a little more about this course? Is it realistic? I am willing to put in whatever time it takes. In fact, One of the biggest turnoffs for me on an online piano course is when they say you will be playing like a pro in two weeks. Thanks.

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#2630548 - 04/05/17 11:01 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hi Frosty,

The Professional Chord System I described does spend considerable time for each song explaining how you would accompany another instrument or a singer on the tune.

What that does is get you totally familiar with the chords needed to play that song.

Then on some of the songs (maybe 6 of them) he explains, in detail (key by key), just how you would use those same chords that you just learned to play the song as a solo piano number.

It is very detailed and if you do each one as he suggests, you will end up with a few songs you can play very well and a good idea of how to work up your own arrangements for some other similar songs you may wish to work on.

There is a lot of material and it is presented in a very professional and effective manner.

You will learn how to do this if you do the work and it is absolutely doable. You just have to take it slow and do each step well before moving to the next step.

Good Luck to you
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2630565 - 04/06/17 01:40 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
In case you guys are interested, there is a seminar on Youtube by the guy who teaches that course that DMD is so highly recommending (at least I think it is the same guy...), so you can see him in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkdWK9Lqgpg

This video is an hour and twenty minutes long!

If DMD is recommending it, after seeing some of his posts on this general subject of self-teaching and home study over the years, it must be pretty decent. I was certainly surprised to read about this course. It does sound good.

Tony




Edited by TonyB (04/06/17 01:41 AM)
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#2630618 - 04/06/17 08:25 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
Here are a couple of old threads discussing the Professional Chord System coourse here on Pianoworld:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1119910/1.html


http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1119072/1.html

Tony
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#2630636 - 04/06/17 09:31 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
TonyB:

Thanks for your "vote of confidence" in my opinion about the David Higginson course.

I looked through the 2 threads about that course that you provided.

I saw some that were pleased with the course and some not.

I can tell you (and others) this ...

It is a legitmate course teaching you real-life piano skills.

It is not the end-all teaching you everything.

It will help you with playing flowing accompaniments utilizing arpeggios.

If will help you play solo piano while accompanying yourself with arpeggios.

It will tell you exactly what to do and it will not be FAST.

He tends to treat you as though you know NOTHING about chord theory (i.e. he tells you how to form each chord or chord inversion).

Things will make much more sense and you will gain more from it if you know how chords are formed prior to beginning the course.

When you finish (who does that), you will be able to play the songs in the course very well and you MAY be able to translate that information to other songs.

It is not for the impatient. You have to enjoy taking your time and getting it right.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2630642 - 04/06/17 10:14 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
DMD, You have my interest because it is a different angle from what I have been doing. I looked at the site and it seems that there are really 3 things to get, the course itself and then there are two supplements for "patterns" and for "rhythms". It would seem to me that these would be valuable, since the description says that these enable you to play ANY tune, beyond what is taught in the course.

In other words, if the course teaches you 15 patterns and rhythms, and a song you are working on doesn't seem to fit any of these, then having a whole bunch more patterns and rhythms in your toolkit would give you a good chance that something in it would fit (or even a mix of something from the course and something from the supplemental material).

If the idea for solo piano is to stick a melody on top of the chord you are playing and keep the rhythm going while doing that, then I would think that a larger vocabulary of chord patterns and rhythms would give that flexibility.

The somewhat negative things I read in the threads that I linked, seem to me to not really be problems with the course. At least one person felt that this course and the Sudnow method together would be a good match. The Sudnow method has you playing by its chord "rules" as locked hands, or "block" chords, where the Professional Chord course seems to be oriented toward, as you say, flowing arpeggio playing. I think that account for the difference in left hand chording. The Sudnow method has you playing either root and 5 (or 8), or root and b7 (for dominant chords), with everything else in the right hand under the melody. Apparently, the Higginson course has you play 1,5,1 in the left hand, which is typically what new age players arpeggiate, so that makes sense for that arpeggiating style.

By sticking with locked hands playing, Sudnow eliminates all the issues the main guy in one of the referenced threads was having with trying to play cleanly and without errors because your hands are moving together from one chord cluster to another instead of flowing from one to another.

One thing that Sudnow does is go really deep into the how and why of good practice and how to deal with all of the issues the main guy in the referenced thread was struggling with.

I can see why a person with at least some familiarity with the territory before starting the course would fare better. With some knowledge, I would think that adding the melody would make more sense. The main guy in the referenced threads seemed to do fine. He had links to a couple of recordings of him playing, and I felt that he was being too hard on himself and actually talking himself out of enjoying the progress even though he seemed to be doing just fine to me. But the stuff he struggled to understand about adding the melody would be clear if he understood more about voicing. That seemed apparent to me. I would think that 12 lessons on playing solo after being firmly grounded in the patterns and rhythms would be sufficient if the student understands a bit about how chords are constructed and altered, and had a good handle on timing and counting.

Tony


Edited by TonyB (04/06/17 10:19 AM)
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#2630645 - 04/06/17 10:23 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: dmd]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
Originally Posted By dmd
TonyB:

Thanks for your "vote of confidence" in my opinion about the David Higginson course.

I looked through the 2 threads about that course that you provided.

I saw some that were pleased with the course and some not.

I can tell you (and others) this ...

It is a legitmate course teaching you real-life piano skills.

It is not the end-all teaching you everything.

It will help you with playing flowing accompaniments utilizing arpeggios.

If will help you play solo piano while accompanying yourself with arpeggios.

It will tell you exactly what to do and it will not be FAST.

He tends to treat you as though you know NOTHING about chord theory (i.e. he tells you how to form each chord or chord inversion).

Things will make much more sense and you will gain more from it if you know how chords are formed prior to beginning the course.

When you finish (who does that), you will be able to play the songs in the course very well and you MAY be able to translate that information to other songs.

It is not for the impatient. You have to enjoy taking your time and getting it right.



From my perspective, a course such as this would use the songs it includes as vehicles for learning the process, so you can then apply the process to ANY tune. I would hope this course does that, so instead of learning just a few tunes, you are learning techniques that readily apply to any fakebook tune, as Sudnow does. Maybe that is where the two supplemental packages Higginson offers are necessary?

Tony
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2630658 - 04/06/17 11:18 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: TonyB]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By TonyB
From my perspective, a course such as this would use the songs it includes as vehicles for learning the process, so you can then apply the process to ANY tune. I would hope this course does that, so instead of learning just a few tunes, you are learning techniques that readily apply to any fakebook tune, as Sudnow does. Maybe that is where the two supplemental packages Higginson offers are necessary?


Well, from what I know about things, after having been at it for quite a few years ... is that every little bit helps.

That is really all I can say.

I know nothing about those "supplemental packages" but I would suggest this ...

Learning to play music utilizing arpeggiated chords as accompaniment for your solo playing is useful and it takes some time to become skilled at it. So, the course is useful.

Whether it translates to other tunes you wish to play depends a lot on what else you have done and how much you know.

As you know, also ... All you can do is try to find various quality products and/or teachers and keep working and you just keep getting better and better.

The best and quickest (and most expensive) way to progress is to get a teacher and stick with it week after week. That will work.

If that does not seem to be the path you wish to take then these various courses will help, a lot .... if you pick the right ones.

I happen to think this course is one of the "right ones".
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2630662 - 04/06/17 11:25 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
Stopparde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 37
In a recent thread there is a discussion about a Rod Russell " How to play popular piano" which looks like also a good way to learn different popular piano styles, more suitable for solo piano:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.p...tml#Post2628472

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#2630665 - 04/06/17 11:36 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: Stopparde]
dmd Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 3127
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By Stopparde
In a recent thread there is a discussion about a Rod Russell " How to play popular piano" which looks like also a good way to learn different popular piano styles, more suitable for solo piano:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.p...tml#Post2628472


It appears that way.

However, the downside of that one (for me) is that he indicates that he doles out the lessons at a rate of 2 per month along with a money-back guarantee of 30 days (I think, maybe more).

Usually, I do not know after 2 lessons if it is something I wish to pursue.

I like to see where I am going (the end game) before I decide to jump in there. His course keeps me in the dark about that.
_________________________
Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur

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#2630685 - 04/06/17 12:29 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: dmd]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
Originally Posted By dmd
Originally Posted By TonyB
From my perspective, a course such as this would use the songs it includes as vehicles for learning the process, so you can then apply the process to ANY tune. I would hope this course does that, so instead of learning just a few tunes, you are learning techniques that readily apply to any fakebook tune, as Sudnow does. Maybe that is where the two supplemental packages Higginson offers are necessary?


Well, from what I know about things, after having been at it for quite a few years ... is that every little bit helps.

That is really all I can say.

I know nothing about those "supplemental packages" but I would suggest this ...

Learning to play music utilizing arpeggiated chords as accompaniment for your solo playing is useful and it takes some time to become skilled at it. So, the course is useful.

Whether it translates to other tunes you wish to play depends a lot on what else you have done and how much you know.

As you know, also ... All you can do is try to find various quality products and/or teachers and keep working and you just keep getting better and better.

The best and quickest (and most expensive) way to progress is to get a teacher and stick with it week after week. That will work.

If that does not seem to be the path you wish to take then these various courses will help, a lot .... if you pick the right ones.

I happen to think this course is one of the "right ones".



Unless I am reading your posts wrong, it seems as if you are responding to me questioning the validity or usefulness of the course. I never played that game here, as many others do whenever somebody brings up some self-study course they are working on. So far, I have felt that whatever course somebody here took the time and effort to describe, has merit, at least to that person and is probably a good fit for others too. With enough real information about the course, we each can make that call for ourselves.

I watched the entire 1 hour and 20 minutes of the seminar on Youtube, the link that I posted earlier in this thread. To me, what he described for the chord patterns and rhythms made perfect sense, and seems very doable. It also makes sense to me that, with 12 of the 72 lessons devoted to solo piano, that should be enough if a person REALLY gets what he is teaching in the other 60 lessons (I got a fairly good idea of where his course goes just from the little he provided in the seminar).

My last comments were simply floating the idea of whether or not there is value to getting the supplemental material at the same time. Apparently, you don't have that information. If I decide to order this course (and most likely I will), I will just go ahead and get those. At $19.95 each for the two packages, that seems pretty inexpensive. From what the short descriptions indicated, these add a whole bunch more vocabulary to the basic course, rather than new techniques or new information. After watching the seminar (which is about as detailed a description of the course as he could give without giving away too much information), I am convinced that this course would be worthwhile.

Hearing folks play in the style he teaches helped me decide too. It doesn't matter to me if these folks learned overnight or over the course of months. All I care about is what the results sound like - is that a style I am interested in.

My question/statements about the tunes in the course being vehicles for learning the process were really more rhetorical than anything else. If the student understands what s/he is doing, then the student can apply the same techniques to any song. If the student is just wiggling his or her fingers to blindly make the arpeggios and get through the course hoping for some magic at the end, then probably not. That is true with any educational process. Memorizing to pass a final exam is not about understanding the material in school.

That seminar, along with your comments, are enough to convince me that it is definitely worth consideration. If that were not the case, I would not be wasting everybody's time in this thread. So, thanks for the information and I will post if and when I get the course, along with my observations about it. Until then, I won't take up any more time here.

Thanks,

Tony



Edited by TonyB (04/06/17 12:34 PM)
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#2631417 - 04/08/17 09:33 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
hello my name is Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 531
Loc: California
Just watched the David Higginson Seminar, at least a part of it, learned some new things already!
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Piano Teacher in Training

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#2631523 - 04/09/17 10:05 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
His explanations do make a lot of sense. He has a basic form for spreading a chord across both hands, and then makes variations such as dominant, minor, 6th, etc. simply by moving a finger or two a fret or two over. Seems easy enough. The challenge will be to be able to do this on time and in context, and with the rhythms that he provides.

I orered the course, along with the two supplements. One supplement is another batch of chord "patterns", and the other is another batch of rhythms. From the description of these, it sounds as if these supplements give you all the patterns and rhythms so you can handle any song situation. The main course gives you 15 of each, and the song book gives you a means of using those. The supplemental material you work with on your own, since the course shows you the mechanics of doing so.

To me, this course is a bit like showing you how to play chordal guitar. I remember somebody telling once that if you approach the piano like one would the guitar, then you should be able to handle any pop music situation. On guitar, there is the CAGED system of being able to play a chord across the fretboard using these 5 interlocking shapes. For each shape, you can play any scale, so playing lead comes out of these shapes too. This piano course sounds like a similar sort of thing - a few shapes go a long way if you know how and when to use them, and how to modify them to get other chord types.

That makes perfect sense to me, so hopefully the course will show up in the next week or two.

Tony
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#2631562 - 04/09/17 12:22 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
Grandman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Usa
I thought you were already working through the Shinn course, Tony? Well this will be interesting to see if you think this course adds anything to what you already have in your arsenal. Please keep us all updated.


Edited by Grandman (04/09/17 12:28 PM)

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#2631608 - 04/09/17 02:47 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: Grandman]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
The Shinn course is a long term project. This course is quite short by comparison and is something that Shinn really doesn't delve into. I have a variety of interests. In fact, right now, I am involved in a couple of threads in the acoustic guitar forum that are discussing arranging pop tunes for solo instrumental guitar, because I do that too.

This particular course seems to me to be a means of becoming proficient enough within a couple of months, to be able to play with, and for, other people. It isn't so much a shortcut, but a means to build enough of a certain kind of skill that is directly applicable to this kind of activity. For many people, this would probably be of more interest than the Shinn course.

Tony
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#2631878 - 04/10/17 12:24 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
The course arrived today, so it only took a couple of days to get here. I ordered the course and both the rhythm and chord supplements. The rhythm supplement was included, but the chord supplement is on back order, so they included a note to say that. This is a good sign, since otherwise I would have thought they forgot to include it.

I have watched the intro and some of the lessons and looked through the books. This is a very well done course. In terms of quality of materials, it is on par with Duane Shinn, except that the videos in this course are much higher quality (not content, but how they look since the Shinn videos are transferred from older VHS tapes).

The rhythm supplement consists of a book and a CD demonstrating the rhythms. There are a lot of rhythms in a bunch of different styles in the supplement. A different notation is used here than in the main course books. Here, they use a simplified format that looks sort of like standard music notation, but is made specifically to teach these rhythms. I think it is a worthwhile add-on.

My initial impression of the course itself is that you can't miss. David Higginson seems to take great pains to make sure you know EXACTLY what to do, how often, and when. As I get into the course, I can post more. However, I think that DMD's assessment is accurate, and I really appreciate his bring the course to our attention.

As for the Duane Shinn course, I am planning to take a break from that and give this a go. It is not a long term study as the Shinn course is, but is apparently intended to get you up and running playing tunes in a reasonable amount of time. That will allow me to begin to play with other people sooner than later.

Tony
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2631956 - 04/10/17 04:25 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
Stopparde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 37
Mmmh,
I'm at the 2nd Duane Shinn Method Book and getting a bit bored, even if I still struggle with most of the pieces, taking quite some time to complete each one of them.

BUT, I'm trying to resist the temptation to try another method.
Beside Higginson, as I said in my previous post I'm intrigued by the Rod Russel one.

Tony please, do update on your experience once you start.

Ah, so many piano methods, so little time smile


Edited by Stopparde (04/10/17 04:26 PM)

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#2631995 - 04/10/17 06:00 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
The David Higginson method is relatively short, so it is just taking a break from Shinn, rather than going off altogether. With the Higginson method, the only extra things to buy are the two supplements for $19.95 each. Isn't the Rod Russel method requiring that you are constantly paying for stuff?

Tony
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2632027 - 04/10/17 08:27 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
Stopparde Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/16
Posts: 37
yes, the rod russel system is 32 lessons , two lesson a month for $30 a month for 16 months.

Maybe I can ask if he ships everything at once.
I could request the 1 dollar trial for lesson 1 &2 but I found lessons 5 and 6 on an auction site for $5 plus $3 shipping, should be here by Friday. Hope it will give an idea of the material.

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#2632053 - 04/10/17 11:04 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
Yes, that is a lot of money, but then so is the David Higginson course at $269.

I think that it really comes down to a given teaching style matching your learning style, and the intent of the course matching your goals. If you have that, then the cost is of lesser importance.

The David Higginson course is very step by step with very detailed instruction and the goal matches my goal, so I am happy with it.

I hope the Rod Russel materials meet your requirements.

Tony
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2633329 - 04/15/17 08:12 PM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
FrostyKeys Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 18
Tony B,
I would love to hear how this course is going for you.
On you tube he has what I guess is lesson 2. Seems good enough. I like that it is step by step. I'm close to pulling the trigger but I want as much info as I can get. Thanks.

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#2633414 - 04/16/17 09:55 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
You can return it for a refund if you don't like it. Sometimes you just have to jump to get to a new place. There is no risk involved here, so why wait if you are interested?

My interest is in solo piano. the last 12 lessons focus on that. David Higginson (DH) says that not all tunes are suitable for playing solo, and that most professionals accompany singers. I can't say I agree with that, after having been to piano bars, malls that hire a pianist, and having a collection of well over 20 CDs of cocktail paino by Jim Haskins.

However,on thinking about it, he may well be right. When I played in a band that did supper clubs, resorts, etc. We went through a lot of tunes to find those that worked for our particular instrumentation and skill level. I am sure all those types of players I mention here do the same thing, so on thinking it over, I am sure he is right about that. According to him, not all the tunes in the course are suitable for solo, and he has picked those that are, and presented them both as accompaniment earlier in the course and as solos later in the course.

His approach reminds me of the CAGED system on the guitar. Rather than me explaining it here, google it. There is plenty of information about it all over the internet. Where it is relevant in comparison in this course - it is a series of standard chord forms that you modify to get any other chord. That is what DH's course does for the piano, though the course explains HOW and WHY the patterns, how to use them to make real music, and has the rhythms to make the patterns come alive. that is a lot and the focus is on playing, using what is being taught.

You start with the basic 6 note chord form - three notes in each hand - 1 5 1 | 3 5 1. From there you only have to move one or two notes to get the minor and dominant chords. DH also covers most other chords with similar movements. The system works very well and once you learn it, I am sure you can expand on it any way you want so you don't always have to play 1 5 1 in the left hand, for example.

DH explains everything and makes sure you understand it before moving on. He tells you EXACTLY how to practice and know when you can move on.

So, the "patterns" are really the chord forms. You apply rhythms (arpeggios, etc.) to these forms to make the music come alive. The chords themselves are easy enough once you get the basic idea, if you know anything about music and how chords are built, which he does explain. It is the rhythms that you would want guidance on, and he gives you that very well too. He has his own notation system for that, which simplifies and focuses on what he is teaching.

You have two books - the song book and the lesson book. You also have 4 DVDs with all the video lessons, and a CD with all the songs played so you can hear them. He either sings along or plays the melody on another instrument so you readily hear the accompaniment you are to play and how it fits in the song.

You watch the video explanation of the lesson and follow along in the lesson book and then play through the song in the song book, using what you learned. You should have been already listening to the song on the CD prior to the lesson so you know how it should sound.

Each song introduces new chord patterns and new rhythms, so you go through all of the patterns and rhythms in the course (not the supplements) by the time you finish the course.

The song book is really a fakebook, with the melody and chords. I think the purpose of the song book is so that everybody is looking at the same thing, with the same chords, in the same key. The tunes are presented just as they are in any fakebook lead sheet with the chords above the melody line, expecting you to do what you want with that information. The chords are not dumbed down, as they often are in such courses. That is a good thing. You are learning what you should be learning to be able to handle any song.

I like the course. You are never in doubt as to what you should be doing. I think DH gives enough guidance about everything he is teaching so the average person should be able to learn all the skills being taught. Some people seem to need more, based on some comments I have read here, but I don't understand why.

When you have finished the lesson on Silent Night (the first song), he says that you can now go and learn to play it as a solo with the melody starting at lesson 61. However, he then says you should finish up through lesson 8 before starting that because you need the sustain pedal, and lesson 8 is all about that. So do pay attention when he gives suggestions.

Everything he says about how to get the chord forms smoothly into your hands, how to practice, etc. is stuff I have seen in other courses, so the advice on learning is solid, time tested, commonly given, and known to work. I have not found anything outlandish or weird about this course. It teaches what it says it teaches, and is obviously geared toward teaching yourself.

In addition to the main course (sounds like a meal), I ordered both supplements - the rhythm and the chord supplements. These provide many more chord forms and rhythms, with the claim being that with these supplements, you are prepared to handle any music you encounter.

The chord supplement was back ordered. There was a note in the box that told me this so I wouldn't wonder if they forgot to package it.

The rhythm supplement has a CD with it so you can hear how the various rhythms should sound. The supplement covers a range of styles and quite a few rhythms, and just gives each rhythm briefly. By the time you finish the course, that is all you should need. There is some text for each rhythm and they represent 1, 2, or maybe 3 rhythms on a page. If there is more than one on a page, the extras are variations of the first one. There are 78 pages of these rhythms in the book, along with a preface explaining that it is the rhythms that give the chord patterns life. The notation for each rhythm is quite clear and is again a simplified notation system that focuses on making clear exactly how to play these. This isn't another course, but instead, an extension of the rhythm part of the original course.

I am sure that the chord supplement will be similar, but does not come with a CD. I have no idea when it will arrive, but considering that it only took about 3 days for the main course and rhythm supplement to arrive, they will ship it as soon as they have it, and they said they would not charge extra shipping for it.

I don't have an opinion as to whether they should have provided the supplements in the course, but I know that I always tend to want the whole banana, so I order the extra stuff. To me, it is worth having these, but to somebody else, it may not be. Since the course plus the to supplements are all these folks offer, why not get it all? some courses have endless stuff to order and you are left wondering what you are missing out on if you don't get it all. It costs an extra $40 to get the supplements, so I say just do it.

Overall, I agree with DMD's assessment of the course. I like the fact that it is clear, concise, and doesn't nickel and dime you with having to buy endless arrays of product line to get the course.

I hope that helps.

Tony



Edited by TonyB (04/16/17 09:59 AM)
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2633420 - 04/16/17 10:19 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
TonyB Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/07
Posts: 1239
Loc: Twin Cities
If I were to sum up what this course provides, it would be this...

Many of us have gone from course to course, finding that this course takes way too long and with too much detail to go it alone for that long, that course dumbs it down too much so when you finish, you really haven't learned anything of value, and the rest seem to fall somewhere in between, but none seem to hit that sweet spot where you spend a few months at it and then are able to play for and with other people in some capacity.

This course hits that sweet spot. It doesn't try to cover too much, and doesn't dumb down what it teaches. It gets right to it, teaching chords and rhythms, much as you would learn to play guitar. Obviously, many folks spend years learning the intricacies of the guitar, fingerstyle, jazz, classical, lead, etc. But when they can strum a number of chord types and apply rhythm, they can play with other people while they are spending time really learning in depth.

This course does that, as well as teaching you to put a melody on top of those chords so you can play solo. There is far, far more to learn than this course provides, but it get you up and running so you can play with others. You can choose to stay where you are with what you learned in this course and be quite content, or you can choose to continue to hone your skills with other courses.

Tony
_________________________
My blog: http://ajourneyintomusic.blogspot.com

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#2633657 - 04/17/17 09:39 AM Re: Best way to learn pop piano? [Re: FrostyKeys]
bobby89 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/16
Posts: 8
Tony , quick question if i may.
How do you voice the chord,when the melody note is say middle c, or lower, and therefore sitting in the middle of the voicing, not at the top?? i know DH says his way works lowdown, but i'm struggling not to get too muddy a sound. With sudnow from what i remember,you omit some color tones, although i'll have to get his stuff out to see what he said.
for example, the song My Funny Valentine=
Chord = C min, melody note= middle c
Obviously the starting point for the voicing is 1,5,1 flat3,5,1.
Is it a case of moving the melody up?How do you incorporate it with the voicing?

Thanks for any help.

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