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Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
#2726172 04/02/18 09:27 PM
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Hello All:

I haven’t posted here in years. Wondering if anyone has had any sucess learning how to play solo piano from lead sheets / fake books, and what method(s) you have used to accomplish this goal.

I’ve tried the Sudnow Method, and I just have a lot of difficulty memorizing songs (though the results of his method yield beautiful sounds). I’ve tried a couple of Learn to Play From Fakebook books as well as some Piano Guy materials.

My ultimate goal might be to be able to pick up a Fakebook and play a song “on the fly.”

Just wondering if anyone has successfully utilized any method that I may have missed smile

Thank you!

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Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726206 04/03/18 04:04 AM
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My piano teacher recommends "My First Fakebook", or "Your First Fakebook", or something like that. I haven't gotten it yet. But I'd like to learn some of this.

My primary interest is classical. But I'd like to be able to play a little of everything, including Christmas carols and pop songs. My 8yo son bangs out the guitar riff from "Seven Nation Army" pretty much every time he runs past the piano (E-E-G-E-D-C-B). It'd be fun to be able to learn a signature bit from a favorite song, and belt it out every once in a while.

Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726233 04/03/18 09:19 AM
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I probably have every book known to "man" that addresses playing from lead sheets and in particular jazz lead sheets.

Any success I have had has come when I add the services of a professional jazz piano player to help me put it all together properly.

There are a ton of options for teachers when you include those that teach over the internet via Skype.

You may wish to try that.

Good Luck


Don

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Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726239 04/03/18 10:06 AM
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The best is to build your own style. Here's what I do when I play from lead sheet or by ear. I play a left hand block chord on the first beat and one note melody with my right hand. When I get comfortable, I play the Oom-Pah ( root-chord-root chord on the four beats) with my left hand, after that I add a second note to the melody. To sound interesting, I try to mix different piano style and play soft and loud. Another source of inspiration is to watch people doing piano cover on Youtube.

Serge



“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts - such is the duty of the artist.”
- Robert Schumann

Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726300 04/03/18 02:24 PM
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Agree with Serge88. Make sure you know all the major and minor chords in every key signature. Learn the chords like Fm7, F7, Fmaj7, Fmaj6 and so forth. Learn to invert the chords.


Sandy

Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726409 04/04/18 07:08 AM
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Learn to play common progressions like ii-V7-I and I-IV-I-V7 in all keys until this becomes completely automatic. Start with (say) the key of C (Dm-G7-C), then go up a fourth to F (Gm-C7-F), then Bb (Cm-F7-Bb) and so on, all the way back to C. Then repeat, going up in fifths rather than fourths.

Start just with block chords in the left hand, in root position. Then try voicing the chords (that is, using different inversions) to minimize the amount of finger movement needed to get through your chosen progressions in all twelve keys..

Then try voicing the chords with both hands, spiltting the notes between the LH and RH

When this is completely automatic, repeat the whole process adding extra colouration to the chords (e..g, Dm7, G9, Cmaj7) and, again, repeat for all twelve keys, going up in fourths then in fifths.

In my view, the key to successful lead sheet/fake book playing is to be able to play common changes completely automatically, with a minimum of unnecessary hand movement. Unfortunately, getting to this stage requires hours and hours and hours of not-very-exciting repetitive practice.

Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726446 04/04/18 09:43 AM
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Kevinb's plan sounds ideal. Knowing all chords, all inversions, and adding 9ths, 11ths, etc would be ideal. Start with regular chords, add 7ths, then inversions, then 9-11-13 eventually. Scales would help also. I began this journey but have been focusing on classical music so it is on hold, but it is really quite helpful for lead sheet playing.

Best of luck!

ps we should make some kind of lead sheet guide and make it a sticky, as this question comes up often


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Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726606 04/04/18 10:01 PM
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Thank you all!!!!

Re: Playing From Fake Books / Lead Sheets
angelojf #2726758 04/05/18 02:59 PM
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Start with one song, learn the chords for it, and play it. When you get one song well learned that way, add another and another. Eventually you'll run out of chords you don't know.


-- J.S.

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