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Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985101
07/13/06 04:42 AM
07/13/06 04:42 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,056
not in Japan anymore
ShiroKuro Offline OP
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ShiroKuro  Offline OP
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Posts: 4,056
not in Japan anymore
Last week, I asked David (via email) if he would be willing to participate in a thread here where we could ask him questions and he would answer them. He kindly said yes, so I am starting the thread! I will start with some questions, so other folks please join in. (although, perhaps we should give David a chance to answer questions before we totally bombard him!) Also, if anyone hasn't already, take a look at David's web site, where there is a blog and a FAQ and other interesting information.

David Nevue\'s Web Site

1) David, I was very intrigued to learn that you don't really read music and you don't write your compositions down in musical notation. Your fact sheet says that you write your songs through improvisation. That makes sense to me, fooling around at the piano, finding some sounds you like and following them to see where they go. If this is an inaccurate represenation, please tell us more about your improvising process. So that's my first question, about your creative process.

2) But then your fact sheet goes on to say that most of your songs take 6 to 9 months of arranging before you're satisfied with them. What I just cannot imagine (being totally dependent on written music) is how you can have a piece in the writing process and not just forget it completely! So my second question is: do you do anything to keep your composing process fresh in your mind?

3) My next question is about how you get your music turned into sheet music. I think your site said that it costs you about $300 to get a song professionally transcribed into musical notation/sheet music. Does that mean that you send a recording of your song to someone whose job is to make sheet music? And then do they send you the finished product for your approval or how does that work? Do you ever get a score back and decide that there's a mistake there? Do you play through your own scores after they're written?

4) Here's my last question (for the time being!) Your fact sheet also says that you enjoy creating music more than figuring out how to play something from a score. Do you regularly play music not written by you? If yes, what do you play? And if yes, is this for your own enjoyment or mainly for work (such as needing to play a specific song at a wedding etc)?

David, thank you again for agreeing to take the time to participate in this public Q and A session, I know I'm not the only one who really appreciates being able to talk with the composer of so many much-loved songs!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985102
07/13/06 09:26 AM
07/13/06 09:26 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Very cool, ShiroKuro; thank you for starting this, and thank you, David, for being willing to participate.

I don't want to bombard David with questions, either, but I can't resist asking just one right now.

5) We have been engaged in a long but ultimately unresolved debate on what exactly "new age" music is. Would you characterize your music as new age, and how would you define new age?

(Yeah, I know, that's two questions. I cheated. :p )

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985103
07/13/06 11:41 AM
07/13/06 11:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,456
Louisville, KY
rocky Offline
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rocky  Offline
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They've asked great questions already. One that came to mind for me is how do you decide which pieces of music to create the sheet music for? Are they your personal favorites or is there some other method you use to decide?

Thanks and keep generating that sheet music!


When I reach the place I'm going, I will surely know my way.
Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985104
07/13/06 12:24 PM
07/13/06 12:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,588
Edinburgh
Euan Morrison Offline
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The first question which popped into my head:

- Would you like to participate in our Adult Beginner Recital on the 15th August?

(Ok, so you are not exactly an 'Adult Beginner', but hey - it would be pretty neat, I think everyone will agree!)

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985105
07/13/06 01:58 PM
07/13/06 01:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 122
Tampa Bay
ARIAS Offline
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ARIAS  Offline
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Posts: 122
Tampa Bay
I really dig your music, it's very uplifting.I have the sheet music for your songs, HOME, THE VIGIL, OVERCOME, THE GIFT AND WHEN THE TREES ARE SLEEPING I've had some really bad days and somehow your music always makes me feel like tommorrow might be a better day. smile
What is your favorite key to play in? I remember seeing an interview with Elton John once and he said he really liked playing with B flats and sometimes E and A flats as well and some how I found it really interesting. wink
Also I am into Hatha Yoga and I am always looking for music to do my poses to. I usually look for slow , peaceful music that is meditative . Do you have a CD that you would recommend for that category?
David, keep on doing what you're going , making great music! thumb
And thanks for taking the time to post here.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985106
07/13/06 05:08 PM
07/13/06 05:08 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
OK, what fun! Here we go...

[QUOTE]Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
David, I was very intrigued to learn that you don't really read music and you don't write your compositions down in musical notation. Your fact sheet says that you write your songs through improvisation. That makes sense to me, fooling around at the piano, finding some sounds you like and following them to see where they go. If this is an inaccurate represenation, please tell us more about your improvising process. So that's my first question, about your creative process.

You pretty much hit the nail on the head. My compositions tend to come to me in one of two ways.

Most of the time, I just sit down and start messing around until something stands out to me. Then I take that theme and keep building on it until I have all the parts of the song, the main melody (A), the secondary melody (B) and the bridge (C). A lot of my songs have intros/outros as well and lead in and out of the main theme.

Other times, compositions I'm working on will split into two different pieces. I might be trying to develop a "bridge" for a song and that bridge is catchy enough to become a song of its own. So sometimes I start with one piece, and I might end up with two or three.

But then your fact sheet goes on to say that most of your songs take 6 to 9 months of arranging before you're satisfied with them. What I just cannot imagine (being totally dependent on written music) is how you can have a piece in the writing process and not just forget it completely! So my second question is: do you do anything to keep your composing process fresh in your mind?

I just play them as much as I can. If I forget a piece, then I figure it probably wasn't worth remembering anyway. smile

It can get tricky, though, when I'm developing several compositions at a time. It's hard to find the time to work up new material AND keep the old material fresh. I'm really struggling with this right now. I have about twenty new arrangements I'm working on for a Hymns album, plus another twenty arrangements for an album of original material. So that's about forty new compositions to tighten up and bring to a performance level, all the while keeping the old stuff ready to perform at a moments notice. That's a real chore.

My next question is about how you get your music turned into sheet music. I think your site said that it costs you about $300 to get a song professionally transcribed into musical notation/sheet music. Does that mean that you send a recording of your song to someone whose job is to make sheet music?

Yes, that's right. The price varies. I found a new transcriptionist who's quite a bit less expensive. I have about four different people I work with. All of them take the music from the MP3 or the CD and transcribe it by ear.

And then do they send you the finished product for your approval or how does that work? Do you ever get a score back and decide that there's a mistake there? Do you play through your own scores after they're written?

I try and play the sheet music through as best I can to catch the obvious stuff. I'll often sit with the sheet music and listen to the recording of the piece, too, following along with the left hand first, and then the right hand to see if everything looks OK.

Then I have my wife, who does read sheet music, actually sit down and go through the piece.

Finally, I have a friend who is a very skilled pianist and she goes through and proofs and edits the sheet music for me.

One of the hardest decisions to make regarding my sheet music is the fingering because I sometimes play songs a lot different than what they are fingered. So often I have to decide whether those are things to adjust or not. I find that, as I'm not all that "technical", I play my own music technically "wrong." What I mean is, a normal, well-adjusted piano player whose been technically trained would probably play the music differently than I do.

Here's my last question (for the time being!) Your fact sheet also says that you enjoy creating music more than figuring out how to play something from a score. Do you regularly play music not written by you? If yes, what do you play? And if yes, is this for your own enjoyment or mainly for work (such as needing to play a specific song at a wedding etc)?

Yes, I play others' music - Christmas arrangements and Hymns predominantly. The only other time I play anything else is if I just get the inkling to do it. "Happy Together" for example on my Sweet Dreams & Starlight album.

I used to play requested songs for weddings, too, but it just took way too much of my time to try and learn them. So now, if someone asks me to play their wedding, I just make sure they want "David Nevue" music and not popular wedding favorites.

David, thank you again for agreeing to take the time to participate in this public Q and A session, I know I'm not the only one who really appreciates being able to talk with the composer of so many much-loved songs!

It's my pleasure!

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985107
07/13/06 05:16 PM
07/13/06 05:16 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Hi Monica,

Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
We have been engaged in a long but ultimately unresolved debate on what exactly "new age" music is. Would you characterize your music as new age, and how would you define new age?
Good question. No, I don't classify myself as a "New Age" artist. I actually dislike the term as it can be associated with a variety of religious and philosophical ideas, most of which I don't wish to be associated with.

When some people hear the term "New Age," they immediately have a negative reaction to it, some a negative musical reaction and some a negative spiritual one.

However, as far as the music industry is concerned, "New Age" is just a musical category. Pretty much anything that isn't classical, jazz, rock, pop, country or a derivative of one of those can be tossed into the "New Age" category.

I think it's much too broad a term. "New Age" can mean almost anything, musically speaking.

I prefer to think of myself as "Neo-Classical" or simply "Solo Piano".

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985108
07/13/06 05:18 PM
07/13/06 05:18 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Hi Rocky,

Quote
Originally posted by rocky:
how do you decide which pieces of music to create the sheet music for? Are they your personal favorites or is there some other method you use to decide?
I keep a count of what songs my listeners are requesting. When it's time to do some new sheet music, I do those that have been requested the most. I actually have a database where I keep track of what's been requested and how many times.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985109
07/13/06 05:19 PM
07/13/06 05:19 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Quote
Originally posted by Euan Morrison:
Would you like to participate in our Adult Beginner Recital on the 15th August?
(Ok, so you are not exactly an 'Adult Beginner', but hey - it would be pretty neat, I think everyone will agree!)
Probably not, honestly. I have myself way overbooked for the next few months as it is.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985110
07/13/06 05:25 PM
07/13/06 05:25 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Hi Arias,

Quote
Originally posted by ARIAS:
What is your favorite key to play in?
I'm not sure I really have one. For just the purpose of improvising, I like Gm. For some reason I can play in that all day and pretty much just make stuff up and it sounds good. smile

Quote
Also I am into Hatha Yoga and I am always looking for music to do my poses to. I usually look for slow , peaceful music that is meditative . Do you have a CD that you would recommend for that category?
Do you have "The Vigil"? That's my personal favorite, and I think it's very meditative. Beyond that, probably "The Last Waking Moment," "While the Trees Sleep" and "Sweet Dreams & Starlight." Tlatter may not be as appropriate as there are a few recognizable tunes on there. Some folks don't like instrumentals of songs they know for meditative purposes because in their head their hearing the lyrics.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985111
07/13/06 05:42 PM
07/13/06 05:42 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 255
I
Ishmael Offline
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Ishmael  Offline
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I

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Posts: 255
As far as I remember from your website, while in a concert, you tell stories (?) in between the pieces to better communicate the piece to your audience. Could you tell us one? Thanks in advance!

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985112
07/13/06 05:53 PM
07/13/06 05:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 16
Houston, TX
JimJamz Offline
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JimJamz  Offline
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Posts: 16
Houston, TX
Its pretty common for us guitar types to not read music as many of us are self taught, learn by listening, etc. However, its seems pretty rare among pianists.

How did you learn to play? Do you considering not reading a detriment or enhancement to your creativity? What do you recommend for a new player that wants to learn piano but is not interested in reading music?

Thanks much!

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985113
07/13/06 07:40 PM
07/13/06 07:40 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 608
Oklahoma
psychopianoman Offline
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psychopianoman  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 608
Oklahoma
Quote
Originally posted by David Nevue:

Most of the time, I just sit down and start messing around until something stands out to me. Then I take that theme and keep building on it until I have all the parts of the song, the main melody (A), the secondary melody (B) and the bridge (C). A lot of my songs have intros/outros as well and lead in and out of the main theme.
I have been playing around with making music and do not understand the principles behind the formating of a song such as ABA or ABCAB.

I can make some nice sounding music but it is only 4-12 bars and I do not understand how to move it around the way you do.

Do you have any suggestions for materials that teach about this song construction process?

A) Melody established (Intro)
B) Chorus
C) Bridge
A) Melody (Octave lower with embellishment)
B) Chorus
C) Bridge
D) Change Up
B) Chorus to End

P.S. I think we have some Nevuites on here. There are certain avatars that pop in to every thread with your name. laugh

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985114
07/13/06 10:18 PM
07/13/06 10:18 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by David Nevue:
When some people hear the term "New Age," they immediately have a negative reaction to it, some a negative musical reaction and some a negative spiritual one.

However, as far as the music industry is concerned, "New Age" is just a musical category. Pretty much anything that isn't classical, jazz, rock, pop, country or a derivative of one of those can be tossed into the "New Age" category.

I think it's much too broad a term. "New Age" can mean almost anything, musically speaking.

I prefer to think of myself as "Neo-Classical" or simply "Solo Piano".
Thanks, David. I think you have done a great job of explaining what's wrong with the new age label... as well as explaining why it persists despite being such a stupid label. I kinda throw my hands up in despair when I consider whether it's at all possible to change the label at this point in time. It would help if there were a strong viable alternative. "Solo piano" describes YOUR work very well, but there's a lot of instrumental and non-piano music that would still need a name. Maybe "neo-classical" is the best bet. Or, "modern instrumental"? confused

Do you, as an artist, get to control how your music is categorized? Can you tell the producer "whatever you do, don't put the words 'new age' on my CD covers?" I don't think us consumers have any chance of changing the system, but if enough artists raised a stink and said "we hate this silly term; we want to be known as neo-classical artists," maybe it would have an effect?

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985115
07/14/06 03:22 AM
07/14/06 03:22 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 255
I
Ishmael Offline
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Ishmael  Offline
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I

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 255
Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Quote
Originally posted by David Nevue:
[b] When some people hear the term "New Age," they immediately have a negative reaction to it, some a negative musical reaction and some a negative spiritual one.

However, as far as the music industry is concerned, "New Age" is just a musical category. Pretty much anything that isn't classical, jazz, rock, pop, country or a derivative of one of those can be tossed into the "New Age" category.

I think it's much too broad a term. "New Age" can mean almost anything, musically speaking.

I prefer to think of myself as "Neo-Classical" or simply "Solo Piano".
Thanks, David. I think you have done a great job of explaining what's wrong with the new age label... as well as explaining why it persists despite being such a stupid label. I kinda throw my hands up in despair when I consider whether it's at all possible to change the label at this point in time. It would help if there were a strong viable alternative. "Solo piano" describes YOUR work very well, but there's a lot of instrumental and non-piano music that would still need a name. Maybe "neo-classical" is the best bet. Or, "modern instrumental"? confused

Do you, as an artist, get to control how your music is categorized? Can you tell the producer "whatever you do, don't put the words 'new age' on my CD covers?" I don't think us consumers have any chance of changing the system, but if enough artists raised a stink and said "we hate this silly term; we want to be known as neo-classical artists," maybe it would have an effect? [/b]
IMHO, the reason you're opposed to this categorization is that you're really into "New Age" and you can differentiate among different types of it. Just compare it to, say, rock music (or classical, or even pop for that matter). The category is there, but if you ask somebody who really knows about rock music s/he would also tell you that this title is too broad to identify any song in that category. To be honest, to an outsider like me, all "new age" music sounds like new age to me.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985116
07/14/06 07:39 AM
07/14/06 07:39 AM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 747
PA
angelojf Offline
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Hi David:

I am interested in the melding of Christianity with your music. Is much of your music a prayer?
When you compose, are you sometimes in a state of prayer? To what extent is music for you actually an expression of your spirituality?

THanks so much!

- angelojf

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985117
07/14/06 09:00 AM
07/14/06 09:00 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,332
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by Ishmael:
IMHO, the reason you're opposed to this categorization is that you're really into "New Age" and you can differentiate among different types of it. Just compare it to, say, rock music (or classical, or even pop for that matter). The category is there, but if you ask somebody who really knows about rock music s/he would also tell you that this title is too broad to identify any song in that category. To be honest, to an outsider like me, all "new age" music sounds like new age to me.
You make a great point, Ishmael; I agree that many of the other categories out there are just as broad and hence not particularly useful.

But there is one difference, which is that the term "new age" itself carries a lot of baggage and connotes a type of mysticism that really has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of the music that is labeled new age. As somebody who is NOT into crystals, TM, or other new age lifestyle matters, I cringe to see the music I love being associated with all that stuff. That's why I think the category name itself really needs to be changed.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985118
07/14/06 05:22 PM
07/14/06 05:22 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Quote
Originally posted by Ishmael:
As far as I remember from your website, while in a concert, you tell stories (?) in between the pieces to better communicate the piece to your audience. Could you tell us one?
I think the stories would lose a lot without the performance context. Part of my presentation isn't just the words I'm saying, but how I'm saying it. The gestures, the humor, the music, it all goes together to make the story appealing.

Plus, honestly, it's too much writing for me to do in this context. Here's a little secret about me (not a secret anymore). I'm really obsessive/compulsive when it comes to writing. If it's just conversational email, I'm fine, but if I tried to tell a story in the writing, I would literally spend hours and hours editing it.

It's part of the reason my blog isn't updated more often. I can't just write something in ten minutes and be done with it. I edit and edit and edit and edit until my fingers hurt.

So, I don't really want to write the story here. I'd spend hours on it.

I know it sounds weird, but it's one of my little personality quirks. I hope you understand. smile

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985119
07/14/06 05:37 PM
07/14/06 05:37 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
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David Nevue  Offline
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Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Quote
Originally posted by JimJamz:
Its pretty common for us guitar types to not read music as many of us are self taught, learn by listening, etc. However, its seems pretty rare among pianists. Do you considering not reading a detriment or enhancement to your creativity?
It's both, really. I mean it would be really terrific if I could just sit down and play anything from sheet music. So sure, I miss that part of it.

I just honestly don't have the patience to sit down and learn to play other people's music. It's the reason I failed at piano lessons. I wanted my piano teacher to teach me how to play "piano," not how to play "Mozart."

I was a terrible piano student. I had three years of lessons from three different teachers. I was a nightmare, I'm sure.

Anyway, back to the question.

I think NOT playing from sheet music and NOT going the traditional route has helped me creatively. I'm not bound by the rules. Now, obviously, certain rules are there for good reason, but they can limit you, too. You start focusing on all the "rules" and not the music.

Since I don't know the rules, I don't worry about whether or not I'm breaking them.

My wife tells me my pedaling technique is pitiful. I'm sure it is. But then, I pedal how I pedal. It's what makes me unique.

I'm sure my fingering is atrocious, but it works for me.

I know my posture is rediculous. You should see it. If I wasn't so serious when I play, it would be comical.

If you record me in concert and then play it at double-speed it looks like I'm banging my head on the piano. smile

But altogether it works, and without the rules to worry about, I'm not bound by them. I just play what I like and what I feel. And I'm INCREDIBLY BLESSED that people like my music.

I am often in awe about that. It's so cool that I get to create something that appeals to me and that others' enjoy it too.

Quote
How did you learn to play?
That's a question I ask myself now and then. I'm not exactly sure.

When I was a kid I used to pick out the melodies of tv commercials on my gradma's piano. That's how my parents came to decide to start me in lessons - I could hear the music and find the melodies on the piano.

I just have the ear I guess.

As to how I learned to play, I just kept playing. You know, every song I write sounds terrible at first, but as it comes together, it starts to sound really, really nice. So it's just practice, repetition and fine tuning.

Quote
What do you recommend for a new player that wants to learn piano but is not interested in reading music?
LISTEN to the music you want to play. I started out listening to George Winston. Then I sat down and tried to figure out what he was playing on the keyboard. I did it all by ear.

If you want to learn to play like I do, just get a CD player and put it beside the piano. Turn on some of the music you like (start with the easier, melodic stuff like mine) and try and find the key, the notes, what's being played in the left hand.

This is more or less how I learned. I just kept hunting on the keyboard until I found the patterns I was looking for. The more you do it, the easier it is to do.

Just about every artist has a pattern, a signature style, they tend to follow. Once you start playing the music and learn the patterns a particular composer leans toward, it becomes easier to do.

Re: Let's ask David Nevue lots of Questions!! #985120
07/14/06 05:51 PM
07/14/06 05:51 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
David Nevue Offline
Full Member
David Nevue  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 70
Eugene, Oregon
Quote
Originally posted by psychopianoman:
I have been playing around with making music and do not understand the principles behind the formating of a song such as ABA or ABCAB.
I can make some nice sounding music but it is only 4-12 bars and I do not understand how to move it around the way you do. Do you have any suggestions for materials that teach about this song construction process?
I remember sitting down as a teenager and listening to my favorite rock songs on the radio and literally mapping them out: ABABCABBB

The verse would start, and I'd write down an "A"
Then the catchy chorus would kick in and I'd write down a "B"
Then the verse repeated, so I wrote "A" again, then the chorus (B) and then finally the bridge, the "C" section. Then, more often than not the chorus would repeat a couple more times and "TA-DA" you have a 4 minute tune.

This is a really good exercise to do. You can do this with just about anyone's music except the really obscure stuff.

I really believe this is how I learned to write songs - just by listening to them and mapping them out on a piece of paper.

The main thing is that you need to learn how to recognize the difference between an "verse" and a "chorus". This isn't too hard to do once you've practiced it.

So just listen to music and try mapping it out the song structure.

Whatever the "hook" is, that's the chorus. The "verse" is usually the part the leads up to the chorus. And the "bridge" is usually only heard once, twice at the most in most contemporary pop songs. It's just a slight change up to keep things from getting too repetitious.

Quote
P.S. I think we have some Nevuites on here. There are certain avatars that pop in to every thread with your name.
My friends and I fondly refer to them as "NEV-Heads. smile

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