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Best way to learn pop piano?

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/02/17 05:31 PM

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.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/02/17 06:08 PM

Well, here is one option .....


http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...sell_Popular_Piano_Cour.html#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

Posted By: newbert

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/02/17 11:23 PM

Another online course to consider is Keyboard Improv.

(It doesn't only focus on jazz).
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/03/17 01:28 AM

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.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/03/17 02:54 AM

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


Posted By: Groove On

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/03/17 03:13 PM

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.
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/05/17 11:52 PM

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.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 03:01 AM

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
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 05:40 AM

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


Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 12:25 PM

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

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 01:31 PM

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.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 02:14 PM

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
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 02:23 PM

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

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 03:18 PM

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".

Posted By: Stopparde

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 03:25 PM

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/ubbthre...sell_Popular_Piano_Cour.html#Post2628472
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 03:36 PM

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/ubbthre...sell_Popular_Piano_Cour.html#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.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/06/17 04:29 PM

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

Posted By: hello my name is

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/09/17 01:33 AM

Just watched the David Higginson Seminar, at least a part of it, learned some new things already!
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/09/17 02:05 PM

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

Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/09/17 04:22 PM

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.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/09/17 06:47 PM

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
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/10/17 04:24 PM

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

Posted By: Stopparde

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/10/17 08:25 PM

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
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/10/17 10:00 PM

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

Posted By: Stopparde

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/11/17 12:27 AM

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.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/11/17 03:04 AM

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
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/16/17 12:12 AM

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.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/16/17 01:55 PM

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

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/16/17 02:19 PM

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

Posted By: bobby89

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 01:39 PM

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.
Posted By: btcomm

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 02:45 PM

Hi Tony
Can you tell me which songs are included in the David Higginson songbook? Thanks in advance!
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 03:01 PM

Originally Posted by bobby89
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.


I have not yet started working on a solo of one of the course songs. However, as a guitar player arranging for solo guitar, and considering what David Sudnow taught, all of that experience says to either rais the melody an octave or, if that is too high, then transpose it to another key. You really don't want the melody down around middle C. That gets to be just too low for the chords underneath.

Hopefully, today I can get to voicing a complete solo in the David Higginson course. However, regardless of what he says, I stick with what I said above and would do that with the Higginson course too.

Tony


Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 03:06 PM

Originally Posted by btcomm
Hi Tony
Can you tell me which songs are included in the David Higginson songbook? Thanks in advance!


Before buying the course, I googled for further info, and found an old thread in these forums from 2008. Here is the information taken directly from that thread:

These are the 13 songs included in the course songbook. It is these songs that the lessons specifically address -- song by song.

Silent Night
Today
Try To Forget (An original D. Higginson tune)
A Time For Us (Romeo & Juliet Theme
Take Me Home, Country Roads
There's a Kind of Hush
Color My World
Love Story
By the Time I get to Phoenix
Rose Garden
Can't Help Falling In Love
The Sweetheart Tree
Lost Without Your Love

Each of the tunes is arranged for an appropriate rhythm. These are the rhythms specifically taught (1 rhythm for each tune w/some rhythms taught for multiple tunes)
3 Beat Arpeggio
3 Beat Arpeggio (w/ variation)
3 Beat Repeated Chords
Country
Soft Rock 1
4 Beat Triplet Arpeggio
4 Beat Arpeggio
4 Beat Repeated RH
Soft Rock 2 + 4 Beat Arpeggio
4 Beat Triplet Arpeggio w/ variations
2 Beat Repeated RH

A few other rhythms are additionally graphically described.

Me again...

The books have not changed from what that thread took place, so the information still holds. Unfortunately, the guy who started the thread seemed to be really struggling with being able to play the chords for some reason. I am not having that difficulty, so the course is moving along just fine for me.

Tony
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 03:15 PM

Of the various courses I have collected over the years, the David Higginson course seems to be the most straight forward. Many courses seem to wander all over the place, without really going step by step from start to finish, but instead being more like a smorgasbord of piano techniques and information.

The exceptions, in my mind, are the Sudnow course (which I think would work much better for many folks as a follow-on to this David Higginson course), and two courses that seem much more professional than most - Piano With Willie (where you take the home school piano course as the foundation, and then pick and choose the shorter courses of study that focus on more advanced playing), and Duane Shinn' 52 week "Crash Course", which is (in my opinion) the closest home study course to traditional weekly lessons - telling you exactly what to do and when, week after week.

By itself, I think the David Higginson course is really good for getting you up and running with real results quickly, but is rather limited in its scope. In my opinion, this is a good thing, and probably one of the reasons it works so well.

This course is great to take a break from the long term commitment that Duane Shinn requires, and can be a good way to get you playing the piano reasonably quickly so that a course such as Sudnow moves more quickly because your hands already "know the shape of the keyboard" well enough to not need 6 months to get "Misty" and then similar tunes into your hands. The overall process would go easier as a result of having been playing already. He even says that on his recorded seminar (not about David Higginson, but about prior piano experience in general).

Tony

Posted By: bobby89

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 04:00 PM

Ok thanks Tony, that was pretty much my thinking, move the melody up.
The DH voicings do sound good,and when the melody is higher, you can voice straight off the bat.

Cheers
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 08:09 PM

Well, I ordered it. Between Tony and DMD I feel confident that I made the right choice and if not I can always return. But I hope I don't have to.

Some things I am curious about if anyone knows,

How do inversions work into these patterns?

How does it handle intros, endings and bridges, especially recognizable ones like Billy Joel, or Elton John?
Thanks.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 08:21 PM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys
Well, I ordered it. Between Tony and DMD I feel confident that I made the right choice and if not I can always return. But I hope I don't have to.

Some things I am curious about if anyone knows,

How do inversions work into these patterns?

How does it handle intros, endings and bridges, especially recognizable ones like Billy Joel, or Elton John?
Thanks.


The "patterns" are really nothing more than various voicings which can also be termed as inversions. There is nothing new there. It just shows you exactly how to utilize those inversions while playing music.

You get intros, and endings (I do not recall bridges) but they are very basic and I would not assign a name like a Billy Joel or Elton John intro or ending. They are just very beginner style intros and endings.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 09:39 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by FrostyKeys
Well, I ordered it. Between Tony and DMD I feel confident that I made the right choice and if not I can always return. But I hope I don't have to.

Some things I am curious about if anyone knows,

How do inversions work into these patterns?

How does it handle intros, endings and bridges, especially recognizable ones like Billy Joel, or Elton John?
Thanks.


The "patterns" are really nothing more than various voicings which can also be termed as inversions. There is nothing new there. It just shows you exactly how to utilize those inversions while playing music.

You get intros, and endings (I do not recall bridges) but they are very basic and I would not assign a name like a Billy Joel or Elton John intro or ending. They are just very beginner style intros and endings.



Sorry, I didn't see the question until now. It is as DMD said.

One thing I was REALLY impressed with is the lesson devoted to using the sustain pedal. That s the absolute clearest and best explanation I have seen. For that lesson, I suggest you read the lesson in the book first and then watch the video. It will be so much more clear.

This guy knows how to teach, and (in my opinion) few do. His explanations are very clear, and step by step. The text and video support each other. He doesn't try to bite off to much in this course.

The one thing that I have seen complaints about is his coverage of how to play the pieces as solo with the melody on top. He does rush through these lessons. I think he could easily have made two or more lessons out of, for example, the lesson on playing Silent Night as a solo (which I am going through now). However, the important thing is that he doesn't skip over anything. It is all there in the lesson.

Lesson 60 is on how and why to transpose a piece to another key. Lesson 61 is an overview and demonstration of playing a piece as a solo. He uses the tune "Tammy", which most my age (63), or so, will recognize even if we don't immediately recognize the name.

The song is not a part of the course and he is only trying to show the overall concept before getting into individual tunes.

Then, the next lesson is how to play Silent Night as a solo. He does go measure by measure and all the information is in the lesson, so he didn't short change anybody. The only issue really is that he fits the whole thing into one lesson and it goes by quickly, so you would have to keep going over a small section to really get it. That takes patience, but at least all the information is given in the lesson, so it is worth the effort if you really want to learn it.

The more I work with this course, the more impressed I am with both the overall course and the teacher. There are "teachers" and then there are teachers. We all saw that in college, the "good" professors and the ones who just provided an information dump for you to figure out. David Higginson is one of the "good" professors. He spent time preparing this course and clearly cared about its impact on potential students.

By the way, lesson 60 on transposing uses a chord wheel that does not come with the course. I believe you can buy it from Creative Music as an add-on. However, you don't need it.

Here is an easy way to transpose on paper, and it is pretty much what the wheel does anyway.

1. Write down two lines of notes, the top line is the scale of the key the piece is currently in, and the line below is the key you want to transpose to:

Example:

C D E F G A B C (original key of C)
F G A Bb C D E F (transpose to key of F)

2. Substitute the chord listed in the top row with the chord listed in the bottom row, so for every occurrence in the lead sheet of E, you will substitute A. We are talking about the chord named by the root of the chord. The type (maj, minor, dominant, etc. doesn't change). Do this for all the chord symbols in the lead sheet.

3. You can do the same for all the notes in the melody. For every occurrence of E, substitute A, for example. Do this for all the melody notes in the lead sheet.

That is all you are doing with the wheel, so you don't need to buy it. I use this method all the time when arranging for guitar, to get the melody on the top two or three strings so I can fit the harmony and bass line below it. it only takes a few minutes to do it by hand on paper. If you are using software, then it is probably just a mouse click.

Tony

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/17/17 10:59 PM

In a few weeks we should start a thread like the Alfred's one in the ABF forum checking in on our progress and supporting each other.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 01:05 AM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys
In a few weeks we should start a thread like the Alfred's one in the ABF forum checking in on our progress and supporting each other.


You can do that, but I don't think it is necessary. All these other courses (and I mean ALL) seem to become a slog after a while for various reasons, and external motivation is really necessary. At that point, you tend to start to lose sight of why you started down this path in the first place, and need other folks to remind you so you stay motivated.

By contrast, this course is fun. I think it takes a really good teacher to pull it off, and DH did that. The course is its own motivation because you make quick enough progress to keep interest up, and you can readily see how what you are doing fits into the goal of the course.

There is a sort of "fly in the ointment" with this course though (nothing is perfect...). When you get to the solo songs, instead of each being given at least two lessons, the whole song is done in one approximately 5 minute lesson. All the information is there, but he assumes that you REALLY know the chords and can readily therefore jump into what he is doing to put the melody on top.

Also, he has a few lessons on songs that are not in the course, standards. He goes through them partially and quickly to show you how to apply the material to most any song and play it with the melody on top. He even has a lesson on how to play a stride left hand and apply it to playing a solo.

He really covers a lot of ground in 72 lessons, and he couldn't do it if he went through everything so slowly. I could never see the point in various courses, of the teacher repeating stuff over and over, when the student can do that on the DVD or audio player. I personally like the fact that DH understands this and was able to spend the video time wisely.

You have to have patience to go over and over small parts of these last lessons until you get it. He does go measure by measure on the solos, but does so fairly quickly, talking through each while you look over his shoulder.

Now that I have seen the later lessons, I am especially impressed with this course. There is a LOT of material, a lot of ground covered, and I truly believe we can be playing like that within a few months of really focused practice and application. This is because the ONLY skill set you are learning is how to play songs on the piano.

Yes, the course is a bit on the expensive side, but you really do get your money's worth. The course doesn't teach anywhere near everything that Duane Shinn does, but what it does teach is how to quickly play accompaniment or a solo from a lead sheet and make it sound really good. As far as I am concerned, that is EXACTLY what I want to be able to do!

Tony

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 02:15 AM

Originally Posted by TonyB
[quote=FrostyKeys]
Yes, the course is a bit on the expensive side, but you really do get your money's worth. The course doesn't teach anywhere near everything that Duane Shinn does, but what it does teach is how to quickly play accompaniment or a solo from a lead sheet and make it sound really good. As far as I am concerned, that is EXACTLY what I want to be able to do!

Tony



If you put it in perspective, the course would be cheaper than 2-3 months worth of lessons on the low end.

This course also seems to be exactly what I am looking to do as well. I hope to have the course by this weekend. I can't wait to get started. I am going to work on the lesson 2 he has on you tube in the meantime.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 02:24 AM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys


If you put it in perspective, the course would be cheaper than 2-3 months worth of lessons on the low end.

This course also seems to be exactly what I am looking to do as well. I hope to have the course by this weekend. I can't wait to get started. I am going to work on the lesson 2 he has on you tube in the meantime.


True enough. Also, though where would you find a teacher who would teach a course like this, giving similar result?

Tony

Posted By: Nahum

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 06:06 AM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys


Some things I am curious about if anyone knows,

How do inversions work into these patterns?



Good question! On the one hand, Elton John observes the rules of smooth voice leading that ensures a good sound of comping ; on the other hand, he has an obvious predilection for classic major sixth chord with the third in bass.
You can understand why: 1-st inversion of major chord is most dissonant voicing from triads positions , and EJ uses it in a more intense points of melody and text.

http://www.oocities.org/thefuriousmastadon/RocketMan.pdf

Pay attention to the bars 3-4, where at first appears very tense Ab maj7, followed by a dominant, but not as seventh chord - as a sixth chord , where it appears the culmination of the phrase. In these two bars is formed next line of voicings sounds in interaction with melody : not very calm Eb with third in voice , most dissonant Abmaj7 with seventh in melody , dissonant to a lesser extent Bb/D , counterbalanced by a small melodic wave upwards ; and for a brief moment the most balanced , which immediately turns into a dissonant Gm7 with 7- th in melody .Nothing accidental, almost like in Schubert's Lieder smile .
A genius - is a genius, also in small details!

Posted By: Marjolein

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 06:36 AM

Hi all,

I've been reading these forums occasionally for many years and finally decided to register to post myself. I have the same problem as many people here: hoping the perfect course exists for me somewhere and keep buying new courses. So I thought I should start giving my opinion about them here to hopefully help others decide which ones to buy, the more opinions about a course the better. This forum has helped me a lot!

I bought the David Higginson course a few years ago. I see it as a comping course, which was what I was looking for. The course is decent, but in my opinion it's way overpriced. For that price I'd really expected to learn some advanced techniques but it all stays pretty basic. I think 50 dollars would be a more realistic price for it. If you do buy it, take the rhythmic guide with it for sure, its relatively cheap compared to the main course and contains a lot more rhythmic patterns.

For myself, I have learned more about accompaniment by playing my favorite songs from sheet music and YouTube tutorials than from this course. (The website pianoplayit and the YouTube channel pianocouture are great and cost nothing). Right now I'm having a blast with a great book by Mark Harrison 'pianostyles of 23 pop masters' that only cost me 20 dollars and gives me much more accompaniment tips and tricks than the Higginson course.

Just my 2 cents!
Posted By: bobby89

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 07:03 AM

This may be slightly off topic, as it's concerned with more getting more sophisticated jazz voicings..
But last week i bought a book- Mark Levine " How to Voice Standards at the Piano"
It's not expensive, £15 on amazon.
I've only just had a quick look over the weekend,and it does seem a bit advanced..
But basically it's a method of matching the melody to an appropriate chord voicing.
He has what's called the Menu- which gives you different options.
There are basic left hand chord positions, all rootless. either 3-5-7-9 or 7-9-3-5.
Then there are what he calls the "So What " chords, as used by Bill Evans.
Then diatonic fourth chords, chords utilising upper structures, stacked 3rds, Kenny Baron type chords.
It's definitely more advanced, but he spells out the voicing clearly, but it's up to you to transpose them into all the keys. It also goes through a song, bar by bar, illustrating the best voicing, and why.
I think it will definitely come in useful in the future,as a means of expanding from the more basic voicings ,once i am comfortable with them.

Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 09:11 AM

Originally Posted by Marjolein
Hi all,

I've been reading these forums occasionally for many years and finally decided to register to post myself. I have the same problem as many people here: hoping the perfect course exists for me somewhere and keep buying new courses. So I thought I should start giving my opinion about them here to hopefully help others decide which ones to buy, the more opinions about a course the better. This forum has helped me a lot!

I bought the David Higginson course a few years ago. I see it as a comping course, which was what I was looking for. The course is decent, but in my opinion it's way overpriced. For that price I'd really expected to learn some advanced techniques but it all stays pretty basic. I think 50 dollars would be a more realistic price for it. If you do buy it, take the rhythmic guide with it for sure, its relatively cheap compared to the main course and contains a lot more rhythmic patterns.

For myself, I have learned more about accompaniment by playing my favorite songs from sheet music and YouTube tutorials than from this course. (The website pianoplayit and the YouTube channel pianocouture are great and cost nothing). Right now I'm having a blast with a great book by Mark Harrison 'pianostyles of 23 pop masters' that only cost me 20 dollars and gives me much more accompaniment tips and tricks than the Higginson course.

Just my 2 cents!


Thanks for sharing. Like what DMD said in another thread. Everyone is chasing "the dream" and its easy to get caught in the trap of "this next one will FINALLY reveal the secret". I really wonder if a PW member can actually lay claim to knowing little to nothing about improvisation in the beginning, but being able to improvise and play by ear after concluding some of these DVD courses. The only one I can recall is a lady who succeeded at Sudnow. Oh well, I'm sure there is value in everything and this Higginson course must be pretty good based on the glowing endorsements.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/18/17 09:43 AM

It seems to me that rather than looking for a silver bullet in which one suddenly becomes the ultimate piano player, most people are looking for a certain manner of teaching the skills that person wants to achieve. It is over time and experience that a person learns how s/he is best taught and what the person needs to know to achieve his or her goals.

For some, the David Higginson (DH) will be the right approach at the right time, for others, not. One thing about the DH course is that he doesn't try to teach everything. The course is very focused. For those who want everything in one course, this course will be overpriced and disappointing. For those who are particularly interested in the skills taught in this course, the level of "hand holding" to insure that the student really does internalize the material will be worth the money. I am impressed with DH's teaching style and find it a good match for someone studying on their own.

Hopefully the discussion in this thread will provide enough real information about the course for a person reading through it to get an idea of what the course covers and then make his or her own judgement about that. To that end, all posts, positive and negative would have value.

The Sudnow method was mentioned in this thread. A number of folks gave up with that course, grappling with trying to get the various chords in hand, the memorization, and the amount of time before really seeing results. A course such as the DH course could well serve as a pre-cursor to that course. I believe that after finishing the DH course, the Sudnow learning process would go easier because the person is then already familiar with moving about the keyboard and has experience playing songs, and is now equipped to dive into more sophisticated harmonies of the Sudnow course. The two courses would fit well together.

There are all manner of books and courses, and several have come up in discussion in this thread. It can be quite difficult to sift through even the few here to decide which would work for a given student. Personally, I believe we all have different learning style, different ways of taking in information.

To me, the "bell curve" method of rating students in a classroom really has more to do with the teaching style being used, matching the learning style of the student than it does the intelligence level of the student.

People do switch piano teachers, I have seen that discussed in other sub-forums here. People will also switch methods. A number of people like to work with more than one method. In the end, it is really up to the individual. Some people will post as if there is something lacking in this or that person's way of enjoying the piano. To me, it is up to each person individually to choose their path. What is fun to one person, may seem like folly to another. The DH course is another choice, either alone or as a part of a larger picture. the same could be said for any of the books, courses, methods discussed here.

Tony

Posted By: RonDrotos

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/19/17 10:33 PM

One effective way to begin is by learning some basic pop and rock accompaniment patterns. Pretend that you're "in the band" and someone's singing. This is a fun way to get "up and running" and then, once you get comfortable playing in rhythm from chords, you can start adding the melody with your 3-4-5 fingers if you want to.

Good luck smile
Posted By: Nahum

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/20/17 04:14 PM

Originally Posted by RonDrotos
One effective way to begin is by learning some basic pop and rock accompaniment patterns. Pretend that you're "in the band" and someone's singing. This is a fun way to get "up and running" and then, once you get comfortable playing in rhythm from chords, you can start adding the melody with your 3-4-5 fingers if you want to.

In other words, the key is in the preliminary study of typical rhythms and in the subsequent transfer to the keyboard; which is especially true for beginners who came from classics.
Posted By: rocket88

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/20/17 04:43 PM

Originally Posted by RonDrotos
One effective way to begin is by learning some basic pop and rock accompaniment patterns. Pretend that you're "in the band" and someone's singing. This is a fun way to get "up and running" and then, once you get comfortable playing in rhythm from chords, you can start adding the melody with your 3-4-5 fingers if you want to.

Good luck smile


Thats an excellent strategy.

You can play with the best musicians/bands on the planet!

I use it also to keep fresh, and as a practice, and as an enjoyable treat.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/20/17 07:39 PM

While I agree that there are other ways (many, many ways) to learn to get around on the piano, I am REALLY learning a lot from the David Higginson course. For me, the lessons showing how to add the melody go by too fast.

What I did to remedy that was to rip the lesson I am working on (Silent Night) to an MP4 file and then run it in Transcribe! because I can slow the playback of both the audio and the video (and they remain in sync) and set loop points of small sections to go over and over until I get it all. Also, I can set measure or section markers. DH goes measure by measure explaining EXACTLY how he fingers everything AND exactly WHY.

I now realize that DH does not short change the teaching of playing solo. He gives you all the information, but does it as looking over his shoulder while he plays, explaining every step. It is all there, you just have to figure out how to slow it down and repeat as often as necessary to get it all.

For me, these answers and explanations are extremely important, and are answers that I have been looking for, for some time. I don't know why I couldn't find lessons by other folks that were just as clear and exactly on target. I guess DH was just a natural born teacher and I am VERY lucky to have had DMD recommend the course so highly.

Running through the video lesson again and again in this manner, very slowly, reminds me of the movie Contact (and the book, which was better) in which the alien broadcasts were layered, and the scientists had to uncover each layer to finally get to the plans for the travel device. Here I watch and listen to DH's explanations over and over, and the underlying logic of the fingering choices starts to become clear.

I can read sheet music and learn to play the dots easily enough, but having the logic explained to me while playing, step by step is FAR more useful, especially if I don't want to be forever "chained to the dots", which I really don't.

So that is really the value of this course to me, making it no question that (for me) it was worth the money. Whether somebody has the same interest and therefore the course holds value to that person is not something I can comment on. anybody reading my posts in this thread should understand that I can only speak for myself as I try to explain what the course provides and why that has value to me. Hopefully from that information, others can judge for themselves.

For somebody who can already make a full arrangement on the spot from a lead sheet or by ear on the piano (as the pianist on our cruise ship could, and various cocktail players in piano bars often can), this course would likely have no interest at all.

Tony
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 12:01 AM

I am a little disappointed at the moment. I ordered the method on Monday and has still not arrived, and I paid the extra for priority shipping. Also I could swear that there was a money back guarantee on the website, but I just can't seem to find it anywhere.

For those that ordered, did you get a shipping confirmation? All I got was an order confirmation. Hope it's here tomorrow. I am looking forward to starting.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 12:09 AM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys
I am a little disappointed at the moment. I ordered the method on Monday and has still not arrived, and I paid the extra for priority shipping. Also I could swear that there was a money back guarantee on the website, but I just can't seem to find it anywhere.

For those that ordered, did you get a shipping confirmation? All I got was an order confirmation. Hope it's here tomorrow. I am looking forward to starting.


I did not get a shipping confirmation either. However, mine arrived within a few days, considering that there was a weekend in between. I also paid the extra for priority shipping, since it really wasn't much more.

This is right from the web site (cut and paste):

Shipping Information:
We make every effort to ship your order as quickly as possible. Please allow five (5) to ten (10) business days for delivery of in-stock items. Items ordered together are not necessarily shipped together. We will notify you if any item cannot be shipped within 30 days.
We DO accept orders from outside the United States. Please contact us for details.
Guarantee, Returns & Exchanges:
We offer a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with an item and wish to return or exchange it, please return it within the 30-day guarantee period. Contact us for details.

Here is where I got it from:

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

I hope that helps...

Tony

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 12:41 AM

Ah, thank you. I knew I saw it somewhere.

Guess I need to be a little more patient. I just had some free time tonight and tomorrow so I was looking forward to starting.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 01:49 AM

I can definitely understand that. smile

I just hope it meets your needs. Unfortunately, what is a good match for one person, may not necessarily be for another. For me, it is exactly what I have been looking for, and I am surprised that in all my looking, this course never showed up.

Tony

Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 03:57 AM

Tony, did you get your chord supplement from Higgins yet? are the additional patterns discussed in the course?
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 07:58 AM

No, I have not gotten the chord supplement yet. I figure either it is extremely popular and they can't keep it in stock, or it is not in demand and they don't keep it around. I will probably give it another week and then send an email inquiry to them about its availability.

It could take a while if they have to order these to be printed, rather than having them stacked in some warehouse ready to go. I am suspecting that not many people buy these.

Tony

Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 08:28 AM

Thanks, let us know your thoughts when you do get it.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/22/17 09:14 AM

I am suspecting that the chord supplement may not be particularly important because, by the time we finish the mian course, if we know anything about music theory and chord construction, we can probably figure out the rest of it ourselves. If not, there are many, many books with chord information for piano.

However, the rhythm supplement is a bit different. I think that is definitely a worthwhile supplement. This supplement comes with a CD that demonstrates each rhythm pattern briefly. They had to fit 167 patterns on one CD. But a short demonstration is really all that is needed.

I may well change my mind about the importance of the chord supplement when it comes, but there is a definite and easily understood logic to the chord patterns, if you understand how chords are built. I would also think that we would be deviating from these patterns soon enough anyway. There are so many ways to play chords and their inversions to get a certain sound.

Tony
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 11:25 AM

So, after all this discussion, did anybody else follow through and order the David Higginson course and start working on it?

I can now play through an instrumental version of "Silent Night". I will continue playing that through to get it thoroughly into my hands while carefully keeping in mind how the transition from just playing the accompaniment to playing the solo was done. I am now moving on to the next song "Today".

It doesn't matter to me how long this process takes. What does matter is that I am learning to play in this style - FINALLY! Once I know that I am on the right track for where I want to go musically, that is really all that matters at this point. I don't believe the testimonials for this course are lying.

For me, the important things I am learning so far are fingering, how to play two-handed chords with movement instead of just locked hands block chords - while putting the melody on top. It is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, fitting the melody on top and making sure all the various chord elements are played below it. It is really a "learn by doing" process that seems to be working for me.

What I am baffled about is why none of the other courses I have or have seen, seem to be able to convey all this information so straightforwardly. Given the right instruction and focus on the right things, this really isn't that complicated. What probably is complicated is for somebody who knows how to do these things, to be able to find a way to pass that knowledge on to others in a clear and efficient manner. David Higginson seems to have figured that out, thankfully.

Tony

Posted By: btcomm

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 02:20 PM

Hi Tony

Can you maybe be a little more specific and compare this approach to say Sudnow's? I personally didn't like Sudnow's method. His "method" just sounded too generic to me and didn't flow as much as I wanted, not as much movement as I wanted.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 03:33 PM

What I really liked most about Sudnow is that he spent a lot of time talking about the process of learning. I quote him all the time, and learned a lot about how to learn on my own, how to set expectations, etc.

I liked that he made order out of chaos and even learned some tunes through his method. His voicing rules make a lot of sense. The thing I didn't like is that strict block chord style. I still go back to his method from time to time just to get grounded again.

To me, the perfect self study approach would be to combine David Higginson's course with the Sudnow method. If a person worked through what Higginson teaches with regard to actually playing (after listening to Sudnow's lecture on self-teaching), and then went on to Sudnow's voicing rules, you would have the best of both worlds.

David Higginson (DH) does give you a sense of what to expect and how to approach learning his method, so I don't want to say he skipped that. However, there is a lot of study that Sudnow put into the way adults learn that I think we can all benefit from.

DH teaches a means of two-handed voicing using some basic chord forms that he calls "chord patterns", and then all the rest of the chords are obtained by modifying these basic forms.

Sudnow teaches a set of rules for voicing chords, and then you use these to build a chord under each melody note, so there is no basic form or system beyond the rules.

DH applies what he calls "rhythm patterns" (arpeggios and that sort of thing - movement, flow) to his chords to make the chording come alive. With this approach, you are dealing with fingering. This works fine for accompaniment, which is the main part of the course. However, when it comes to playing solos, you have to REALLY watch his fingers to learn how to handle modifying the chord forms on the fly to accommodate the changing melody, while keeping the rhythm patterns flowing.

Sudnow avoids all the fingering issues by using block chords, going from one to another. You form a chord, pick up your hands and put them on the next chord. You play in time, but do so only by going from one block chord to another. Later, on he does give you some basic stride styling, but this is not covered in as much detail as the main course, just as DH does not cover playing solo in as much detail as the accompaniments in the main course.

Sudnow is all about playing solo piano, arranging from a lead sheet.

DH is all about playing accompaniment and also fro a lead sheet, with solo piano being taught to a lesser degree. The information is all there, but you REALLY have to watch those videos again and again and figure out what he is doing.

I have just completed "Silent Night" as a solo and I have learned quite a bit about how DH modifies the chord pattern to fit the melody on top. It is learn by doing, and it does work.

As for the Sudnow method, I know of only two people who have really gone through the course and stuck with it long enough to really build repertoire and move beyond the block chording style. One person called herself Swingin' Barb, and used to post in these forums some time ago. The other is David Haines, who calls himself Markham and has posted here occasionally when the Sudnow method is discussed. He currently maintains the Sudnow method site.

I don't know of anyone who has completed the DH course. DMD, who posts frequently here is the person who initially posted about it recently, so I assume he has worked in the course, but I don't know if he went all the way through all the tunes or not.

My suspicion is that most of us never complete any of these courses, but maybe learn a bit from each and very eventually might learn to play some stuff.

To me, the DH course is the one I am most likely to finish because he makes it fun all along the way. Results come fairly easily, and I believe that by doing a few more solos, I will be able to figure out more tunes on my own.

From there, I have a couple of follow-on things to work on. One is the Australian improv course called Quaverbox. Another is the Willie Myette piano materials. My main issue has been fingering. By working with the DH course, I am becoming much more comfortable with this. Since that has been my sticking point, I think that there is a lot I can tackle after the DH course with confidence.

Tony
Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 03:35 PM

Frosty, did you receice the course yet?

Tony, have you reached out to Creative music to check the status of your chord supplement?

Also, can you comment on another post that this course is rather basic? How advanced does he get in a 9 hr course?

Is there any discussion of piano solo with the right hand playing the entire melody?
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 03:45 PM

Originally Posted by Grandman
Frosty, did you receice the course yet?

Tony, have you reached out to Creative music to check the status of your chord supplement?

Also, can you comment on another post that this course is rather basic? How advanced does he get given it to is a 9 hr course?

Is there any discussion of piano solo with the right hand playing the entire melody?


No, I have not checked with Creative Music about the chord supplement. I think I am probably less concerned about it than you are. smile

The course probably is rather basic. It certainly has to focus on one area for the amount of teaching provided. It isn't a replacement for the Duane Shinn 52 week course.

It really depends on what you goals are and what you consider/define as "basic". For me, this course is teaching me to play a solo with a flowing style, from a lead sheet. I already know music theory and can figure out what I need once I have the skills the course teaches.

I think the problem here is that you really will have to try it for yourself to get the answers you are looking for because we each will view the course differently, depending on what experience we have going into it, and what our respective musical goals are.

For me, I wanted to get a sense for how fingering works on the piano when playing the kinds of music I like and in the styles I want to play. I wanted to get a sense for how to make the chords needed to play these styles, and how to make it flow. This course gives me that.

There isn't really "discussion" about playing solo. DH takes several tunes in the songbook and plays them as solos, talking you through what he is doing as he does it. You are essentially looking over his shoulder as he does this. Therefore, it is up to you to watch again and again and again until you get all the fingering and understand what he is telling you. He does go measure by measure, but rather quickly.

DH tells you that there are songs that won't work well as solos with this method of playing. He gives you examples of this and explains why. This should help you select appropriate tunes. In my opinion, it is possible to play these tunes that he says won't work, because I have CDs of solo pianist doing just that. However, it takes a more advanced technique to do so. I believe that I can figure that out after completing this course because once pointed in the right direction, I typically can figure out the rest on my own.

It takes time and effort on your part to really get everything in those lessons. It depends on how motivated you are, whether or not you are willing to put in that effort. Since this is something I really want to learn, I am putting in that effort and am getting the results I hoped for.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 04:26 PM

Originally Posted by Grandman
Frosty, did you receice the course yet?

Tony, have you reached out to Creative music to check the status of your chord supplement?

Also, can you comment on another post that this course is rather basic? How advanced does he get in a 9 hr course?

Is there any discussion of piano solo with the right hand playing the entire melody?


Well, you got my curiosity up on this, so I called the number on the course box and talked directly to David Jr (DH's son). He said the supplement just came in and he is shipping it. I should get it by the end of this week or early next week. He did not charge me any extra shipping.

David is VERY enthusiastic about this course and we talked for a bit. I told him that my focus is really on the solo piano portion of the course. He told me I would be rather surprised at how many situations I would find myself in doing accompaniment. On thinking about it, that does make sense. If I were to play in a retirement home, for example, I am sure the people attending would want sing-alongs. If I were to play in a church, people would want accompaniment for their songs. If I were to accompany a singer, obviously I would be playing accompaniment. If I were to play in a band or other ensemble setting, I would be playing accompaniment.

So, really, it does make sense to cover BOTH aspects of playing. As I think I said in a previous post, once you get the hang of the mechanics of sticking the melody on top, you can apply it to other tunes. so I think the coverage in this course is just fine, especially with the additional material about chord and rhythm patterns in the supplement providing that much more vocabulary to work with.

I can safely say that the program is in good hands. David has some projects going that should be interesting. He has no plans to change the course or its supplements, but instead to provide further online support in the form of videos showing how to handle songs that people have requested. In other words, the course support is very much alive and there is a real person at the other end of the phone or email.

A word about the supplements. Though I have not yet seen the chord supplement, I have no reason to believe it is any different in this regard than the rhythm supplement (other than that there is no CD for the chord supplement, because there is no reason to have one).

The supplements provide the information in a very abbreviated form. The reason is that you already know what to do with this abbreviated information. There is enough to get what you need to play the thing, but there is no need to go over what was taught in the main course. So, these supplements can pack a lot of information into a compact book, and all the rhythm patterns are played on the CD.

For me, I like to have everything that one can get for the course, so it seemed the natural thing to do, purchasing the supplements. They are very inexpensive and they do greatly enhance the course by really expanding your chord and rhythm pattern vocabulary.

Tony

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 04:47 PM

Hello. My set finally arrived on Monday. I didn't get a chance to open it until yesterday. There are a ton of materials so I could only tell you what I've seen so far.

My initial reaction was not a good one. The lesson book seemed to be just a bunch of cheat sheets and piano chord fingering charts. The sections that did talk about topics were only two or three pages long and the last 15 Pages Were Chord diagrams.

I listened to the CD and was initially also underwhelmed. The first three songs use exactly the same chord pattern, just with different chords. I thought the piano parts were drowned out by the singing and other instruments.

OK, so that was only my initial reaction. Later on yesterday I went to look at the DVDs. I see that although the lesson book tends to be cheat sheets, that is all that is really necessary. His description of what is on the page is a very thorough on the DVD. He does take you step-by-step and it is logical, clear and efficient. I watch the first five lessons which were basically an introduction and how to play the first song, silent night.

I then skipped to the melody section, and Tony B's description is spot on. It goes fast, but it is all there, note for note, measure by measure, and it makes absolute sense.

I like the pacing of the book. My prior complaint of the first three songs using the exact pattern does not seem so bad as each song was teaching you with different chords, and it is necessary to learn a few chords at a time in order to not get overwhelmed. He also includes some variations so that it is not so repetitive, so for example two of the 16 or so measures will be a different pattern to keep it from getting boring.

I also like how he presents the material. He does not talk down to you, and he does not sound like a salesman. He makes it clear that everything is going to take practice in that with each repetition things get easier. I like this approach because so many other courses promise to have you sounding like a pro in two weeks. Almost every product out there is gimmicky.

I like that there are different lessons. While I guess it could never substitute a live teacher, it seems to be the next best thing. I can watch a lesson and work on it until I master it then I could go to the next video. I need that structure. In other courses or books I am so tempted to jump to the next section. This message give me a better sense of discipline.

I think the CD is a handy companion, but as it is only 20 or so minutes long, I really wish they would have just repeated the songs as piano only, and then repeated them again as chords and Melody.

So overall I am going to say, so far so good. I am glad that my initial reaction appears to be wrong, and I look forward to diving into this course slowly and steadily. I will keep this thread updated as I go.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 05:41 PM

Thanks FrostyKeys. I am glad that you presented your initial impressions and the your later impressions because I am fairly sure that you won't be the only with that initial reaction. For folks reading your post, they will not be too influenced by their same impression before giving the course a chance. That is a valuable contribution to the thread!

It will be interesting to have a couple of us working through this course in this thread and providing our comments as we go.

I am still baffled that this course's site did not either show up did but did not attract my attention when I was looking around for something like this. So, for others, this thread can serve as a sort of beacon to help others find out about it, as DMD's posts clued me in.

Tony

Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 09:44 PM




Quote
[/quote]There isn't really "discussion" about playing solo. DH takes several tunes in the songbook and plays them as solos, talking you through what he is doing as he does it. You are essentially looking over his shoulder as he does this. Therefore, it is up to you to watch again and again and again until you get all the fingering and understand what he is telling you. He does go measure by measure, but rather quickly.[quote]



Thanks much. Of course everyone will have their own opinion and the only way to truly know is to try. But that's what these discussions are for. Well, it looks as if this course is really geared towards accompaniment, although it includes a portion demonstrating solo piano. I find this very helpful, thanks.
Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 10:10 PM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys
Hello. My set finally arrived on Monday. I didn't get a chance to open it until yesterday. There are a ton of materials so I could only tell you what I've seen so far.

My initial reaction was not a good one. The lesson book seemed to be just a bunch of cheat sheets and piano chord fingering charts. The sections that did talk about topics were only two or three pages long and the last 15 Pages Were Chord diagrams.

I listened to the CD and was initially also underwhelmed. The first three songs use exactly the same chord pattern, just with different chords. I thought the piano parts were drowned out by the singing and other instruments.

OK, so that was only my initial reaction. Later on yesterday I went to look at the DVDs. I see that although the lesson book tends to be cheat sheets, that is all that is really necessary. His description of what is on the page is a very thorough on the DVD. He does take you step-by-step and it is logical, clear and efficient. I watch the first five lessons which were basically an introduction and how to play the first song, silent night.

I then skipped to the melody section, and Tony B's description is spot on. It goes fast, but it is all there, note for note, measure by measure, and it makes absolute sense.

I like the pacing of the book. My prior complaint of the first three songs using the exact pattern does not seem so bad as each song was teaching you with different chords, and it is necessary to learn a few chords at a time in order to not get overwhelmed. He also includes some variations so that it is not so repetitive, so for example two of the 16 or so measures will be a different pattern to keep it from getting boring.

I also like how he presents the material. He does not talk down to you, and he does not sound like a salesman. He makes it clear that everything is going to take practice in that with each repetition things get easier. I like this approach because so many other courses promise to have you sounding like a pro in two weeks. Almost every product out there is gimmicky.

I like that there are different lessons. While I guess it could never substitute a live teacher, it seems to be the next best thing. I can watch a lesson and work on it until I master it then I could go to the next video. I need that structure. In other courses or books I am so tempted to jump to the next section. This message give me a better sense of discipline.

I think the CD is a handy companion, but as it is only 20 or so minutes long, I really wish they would have just repeated the songs as piano only, and then repeated them again as chords and Melody.

So overall I am going to say, so far so good. I am glad that my initial reaction appears to be wrong, and I look forward to diving into this course slowly and steadily. I will keep this thread updated as I go.


Thanks, Frosty.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 11:02 PM

Originally Posted by Grandman

Thanks much. Of course everyone will have their own opinion and the only way to truly know is to try. But that's what these discussions are for. Well, it looks as if this course is really geared towards accompaniment, although it includes a portion demonstrating solo piano. I find this very helpful, thanks.


My point, again, is that these discussion can only go so far. It is similar to trying to describe the taste of "strawberry" to someone who has never tasted it. At some point, the person will just have to taste one to determine if s/he enjoys the taste.

I think these discussions have given a lot of detail from a few different folks. There will be ongoing discussion as some of us progress through the course. However, I don't really think there is much more that can be said to give a person considering the course much more description of the "flavor" of it.

It is entirely possible that what I am seeing in the course and what I am trying to describe about the solo portion of it, may not be conveying enough to really give you a clear indication of how you will be able to successfully work with it. It seems that both FrostyKeys and I are in agreement that the information needed to play solo is there, but you do have to really work at it to get it.

It is possible that you could be passing up the course when it is possible that you would benefit from it. On the other hand, only you know your learning style and therefore, whether, based on what we have both said, it matches your needs. If so, then I suppose we have saved you the hassle of having to send it back if you had bought it and discovered it wasn't to your liking.

DH does take several songs through as solos, measure by measure. By following along and learning to play it as he does it in the video, I am coming to understand the mechanics of using these chord patterns and rhythm patterns to make a solo. It takes time to really go over and over a section to get it though.

The meat of the course is in the video lessons. The books are supporting information.

The lesson book, has the diagrams for the chords, practice "chord chains" (chord progressions) that occur in the song to be played, the rhythm pattern(s) used in the song, special patterns such as how to end the song, and other information, sort of like "Cliff notes" of the video lesson to refer to while you are playing the song in the song book.

When DH talks in the beginning about using the materials, he seems to treat this as the student watching the video away from the computer (maybe on a TV with a DVD player), and then going to the piano to play. The lesson book is intended to provide the information pertinent to the song to help with that.

What I did was to rip the DVDs onto my Microsoft Surface, which then sits on the music stand on my piano just like sheet music. With Transcribe! software, I can slow down and repeat small sections of the audio and video as often as needed. This REALLY helps with the solo lessons.

The song book consists of lead sheets for the songs covered in the course. A lead sheet consists of the melody line on the treble clef, with the chord symbols above and the lyrics below.

There is no separate book with the solo version written out. The purpose of the solo section is to show how to take what you have been playing from the lead sheet for accompaniment and put the melody on top, so you are always working from the same lead sheet, whether playing accompaniment or a solo version. This is what you will be doing with any other song outside the course too.

Five of the 13 songs in the course are provided as solos. In addition, he also plays parts of several standards as solos to illustrate how to apply these ideas to other songs. The intention of these is demonstration, rather than teaching you to play those songs.

To me, there is real value in all of what the course teaches because fingering has always been an issue for me. I just didn't get how people seem to work that our for themselves. For whatever reason (I am really not sure how it works this way), I just seem to get fingering as I play these solos. I think that playing the accompaniment just seems to get my fingers doing what they should. DH is very concise about the fingering for these patterns and rhythms, and that seems to be good enough fr me to just play the solos without too much focus on which finger is supposed to go where.

For somebody who already has that experience with fingering, this would probably not be a big deal. I just didn't seem to get it with any other means of study for some reason.

This is an example of the difficulty in knowing whether the course would be a good match for another individual. I wouldn't have known that the fingering issues would be resolved for me until I got the course and dug into it and then realized I wasn't questioning fingering anymore.

I hope this helps.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/26/17 11:48 PM

Here is one tip regarding working through the solo pieces...

The first lesson (61) is an overview of the process he uses for arranging. He uses the song "Tammy" as an example. He only does the first several measures, rather than going through the entire tune.
This is not one of the tunes in the course, so he isn't trying to show you how to play it. However, what he is doing is giving you the process he used to arrive at all the solos he does teach. Then, in each of the solo lessons for the songs in the course, he teaches how to play that song.

So, you need to go back and review the overview lesson several times during any of the solo lessons, so you can keep clearly in mind the overall process. The idea being that after learning a few of these solos, you get your fakebook and try your hand at a few of your own, using the process described in the overview.

I am now seeing this overview lesson to be key in understanding the whole idea of creating these solos. The process involves playing through the chords using the chord patterns while you figure out which rhythm pattern(s) you intend to use, and separately, playing just the melody to determine a comfortable fingering. He gives good guidance on how to do this in that overview lesson because you can really get screwed up if you don't figure out the fingering of the melody first.

Tony

Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/29/17 10:14 PM

Finished silent night. Not with melody yet. I am going to wait a few chapters before I explore it. Started Today. Chords started having different patterns, but there is a method to it so hopefully I can adjust get them in my fingers. Also did the pedal lesson which is simple and to the point, however, I was already familiar with it.

Excited about it though. It motivates me to get to the bench.

Also, Tony, what are your thoughts about the rhythm add on?
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 04/30/17 02:53 AM

I have not started into the rhythm add-on yet, and won't until I am finished with the main course. However, it has 167 extra rhythm patterns. To me, the supplement is essentially a dictionary of rhythm patterns, rather than another course. Looking through it and listening to the CD, it is obvious that there is an expectation that you have completed the main course and know what to do with the necessarily brief explanations and demonstrations. As far as I am concerned, the better and broader my musical vocabulary, the better I can express myself.

Though I finished the Silent Night solo, I am playing it every day several times as my warm up. I have started into the Today solo now, and it is going slower than Silent Night did. I went through both Silent Night and Today as accompaniments, as well as the pedal lesson before starting the Silent Night solo. I am going to finish the Today solo before going on to the next tune.

I am learning a lot from this course. I have always thought there was a system to playing pop piano, and that if I found it, the fingering issues I have been curious about, would just take care of themselves. I am finding both to be true, so for me, this has been worth every penny.

The chord supplement did not arrive yet. David Jr. said to expect it either by the weekend or early next week at the latest. When it arrives, I intend to post at something about it. Keep in mind that these supplements are only $19.95 each. That is all there is for this course, so it isn't as if they are "nickel and dimeing us" with endless additions and lessons. I am impressed enough with the course to be more than willing to take both of these. For other folks, this may not be something they want or need.

Tony

Posted By: newbert

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/01/17 07:15 PM

The discussion here about the DH course has been very interesting. ---- I'm almost tempted to give it a try, except for two things:

1. I don't see any mention on the site regarding a money back guarantee (ie: try for 7, 10, 30 days etc , return it if not satisfied, etc.). Most courses include some kind of guarantee like this. Maybe I just missed it?

2. Like most courses offered online (and this is my pet peeve about most of them), the only sample videos are of lessons at the most very basic of abilities. Although the course claims to be good for more advanced players who would like to "Learn to improvise and play by ear the way you’ve always wanted.", sadly no samples of lessons at this level are provided.

Combine #1 and #2 and the result is that someone at my level, who can already read music and play from scores but continues to struggle to learn to play effectively from lead sheets and has never learned to combine both hands to voice chords (in context of solo performance), is hesitant to lay out the $$$$ without some more assurance about the course's effectiveness.

Perhaps it might help if those of you who have the course, and like it, could either provide a sample of your current level of playing piano (ie - a short recording or perhaps a submission to a recital that you could refer us to) or at least describe your current level in words.

Please note that I am NOT knocking the course or those who have it and like it. On the contrary, I'd just like to be more informed about before possibly taking the plunge.

Thanks!
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/01/17 09:27 PM

Originally Posted by newbert
1. I don't see any mention on the site regarding a money back guarantee (ie: try for 7, 10, 30 days etc , return it if not satisfied, etc.). Most courses include some kind of guarantee like this. Maybe I just missed it?


You did.

Look around. Click on MORE INFORMATION and you will see this ...

Quote

Guarantee, Returns & Exchanges:
We offer a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with an item and wish to return or exchange it, please return it within the 30-day guarantee period. Contact us for details.

Posted By: newbert

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/01/17 11:13 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by newbert
1. I don't see any mention on the site regarding a money back guarantee (ie: try for 7, 10, 30 days etc , return it if not satisfied, etc.). Most courses include some kind of guarantee like this. Maybe I just missed it?


You did.

Look around. Click on MORE INFORMATION and you will see this ...

Quote

Guarantee, Returns & Exchanges:
We offer a 100% money-back guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with an item and wish to return or exchange it, please return it within the 30-day guarantee period. Contact us for details.



Maybe I'm blind, but I still don't see the MORE INFORMATION button. The page I'm looking at is: http://www.pianostar.com/index.php

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/01/17 11:26 PM

Originally Posted by newbert
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by newbert
1. I don't see any mention on the site regarding a money back guarantee (ie: try for 7, 10, 30 days etc , return it if not satisfied, etc.). Most courses include some kind of guarantee like this. Maybe I just missed it?


You did.

Look around. Click on MORE INFORMATION and you will see this ...

Quote

Guarantee, Returns & Exchanges:
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Maybe I'm blind, but I still don't see the MORE INFORMATION button. The page I'm looking at is: http://www.pianostar.com/index.php



Click on ORDER NOW and you will see it
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/01/17 11:40 PM

I posted this information on page 6 of this thread (wow! the thread has really grown...), but thanks DMD for posting again.

Tony


Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 12:04 AM

Originally Posted by TonyB
I posted this information on page 6 of this thread (wow! the thread has really grown...), but thanks DMD for posting again.

Tony





Interesting. My browser only shows 3 pages.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 12:18 AM

Mine now shows 8. I noticed that there is a difference between whether I am logged in or not, with fewer pages if I am not. Maybe there is a difference between browsers, screen resolution, or something along those lines? I have tried making the browser cover full screen and smaller, with no difference in page count.

Anyway, thanks so much for telling us about this course! It is definitely slow going now, but it is great fun. If I play Silent Night very slowly, I can get through it with few mistakes. It is only a matter of training muscle memory by warming up with that tune every day before going into "Today". That one is slower going for me. It really depends on how much experience you have going in. It is much easier for me to stay with this course than some of the others because, no matter how slow the going, it is still very rewarding.

Tony

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 01:30 AM

Originally Posted by TonyB
Mine now shows 8. I noticed that there is a difference between whether I am logged in or not, with fewer pages if I am not. Maybe there is a difference between browsers, screen resolution, or something along those lines? I have tried making the browser cover full screen and smaller, with no difference in page count.

Anyway, thanks so much for telling us about this course! It is definitely slow going now, but it is great fun. If I play Silent Night very slowly, I can get through it with few mistakes. It is only a matter of training muscle memory by warming up with that tune every day before going into "Today". That one is slower going for me. It really depends on how much experience you have going in. It is much easier for me to stay with this course than some of the others because, no matter how slow the going, it is still very rewarding.

Tony



I am glad to hear that it is working for you.

The truth is, I never really finished the course. I did Silent Night, Today, and 2 or 3 others. I got the general idea but left it at that for some reason. I am more heavily into the jazz genre right now. There is no end to this stuff, right ?
LOL ....



Posted By: newbert

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 01:47 AM

Ah, There it is....

Thanks.


One more request -- Would it be possible for someone who has the course to share the index of lessons or at least the topics covered by a few of the more advanced (ie - higher numbered) lessons?
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 01:48 AM

Originally Posted by dmd


I am glad to hear that it is working for you.

The truth is, I never really finished the course. I did Silent Night, Today, and 2 or 3 others. I got the general idea but left it at that for some reason. I am more heavily into the jazz genre right now. There is no end to this stuff, right ?
LOL ....



True enough. For me, this course is answering a lot of questions, and is therefore serving to build a working foundation on which to build from my other materials. This is essentially my starting point. I am thinking that the next step might be the Quaverbox course, and maybe revisiting Sudnow.

Tony
Posted By: PianoStudent88

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 03:22 AM

I think the different page counts come from a setting you can make: go to My Stuff at the top of the page, click on Edit Preferences, then part way down look for "Total posts to show on one page."
Posted By: Inero

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/02/17 03:29 AM

I don't know if this is the <best> way to learn pop piano but ten days ago I started on the Rod Russell course referred to at the start of this thread. I bought the first half (16 lessons) of the course after a spot of old-fashioned horse trading. I am enjoying it as it starts at absolute zero, which is where I am at. After these ten days I have almost completed Lesson 1 and can play four tunes (right hand melody, left hand chords): Beautiful Brown Eyes, The Time is Right, Drink to Me Only and On Top of Old Smokey. Okay, a tad corny, but that's four more tunes than I could play just under two weeks ago. Play on the piano, that is. I play at a higher level on the flute. I'm no expert but as far as I can tell this is not a comping course but a path to learning a variety of popular piano styles.
Posted By: Inero

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 02:30 PM

Hmm, I seem to have effectively killed this interesting thread. How did that happen, something weird about my comment?
Inero http://forum.pianoworld.com/images/icons/default/tongue.gif
Posted By: Stopparde

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 03:08 PM

😀
Inero, I subscribed to the Rod Russel course too. It's the $29.99 online version , same material but accessible from web page instead of printed material/DVD.

I only got access to the first two lessons which are basic, so eagerly waiting for the next two.

I'm actually using Duane Shinn 52 weeks piano crash course, but Rod pop piano course seems a little faster and focusing right away on "pop" styles.

Most likely there will be overlapping, but lets see how it goes.
I would be interested to take a peek at lesson , say, 16 to get a sense of how the course evolve, as I'm still in my 30 days cancellation window.

stoppa
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 04:16 PM

Originally Posted by Inero
Hmm, I seem to have effectively killed this interesting thread. How did that happen, something weird about my comment?
Inero http://forum.pianoworld.com/images/icons/default/tongue.gif


No, I don't think you killed the thread. smile

I have made a couple of lengthy posts to answer some questions about the Higginson course, and don't get replies from those asking questions, so the thread dies after the questions are answered. I don't know if the folks are still reading the thread and have seen my answer posts or not. Your posts help to keep the thread alive.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 04:23 PM

The Professional Chord System Chord Supplement book arrived today. This one is REALLY worthwhile! I thought it would be just a couple of charts showing other chord patterns, and bought it more out of wanting the complete offerings than with any particular expectations.

Boy. was I wrong! This book is 108 pages of solid information, and is appropriately called the "Chord Pattern Reference Guide". It covers the patterns taught in the course, but greatly expands this to all manner of having different chord notes in the bass, adding extra notes, how chords are built, how to work with the patterns, with suggestions as to when they should be used, etc.

As far as I am concerned, both supplements are very worthwhile for those seriously involved in this course. I am working with it every day, and putting time into it, so for me, I am REALLY glad that I got these supplements.

Also, as a nice touch, David Jr. sent me the transposing wheel as a "thankyou" for being patient with the back order. That was really nice of him to do that. I can recommend the transposing wheel. It does make transposing simpler and visual, so it is easy to see and understand the process. David Higginson really did have a knack for imparting information to the student, and we are very fortunate that his son is keeping the business going.

Tony

Posted By: Inero

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 05:00 PM

TonyB: No, I don't think you killed the thread. smile

Thanks. That's a relief! I am a new kid on the block and I'd hate to party-poop.

Stoppa, Lesson 16 of the Rod Russell course covers E min chords and has you playing <This Old Hammer> and <The Drunken Sailor> as well as pieces by Russell himself. Along the way, you learn, among other tunes, <Give Me That Old Time Religion>, <When You and I Were Young, Maggie> and <Aura Lee> (Lesson 12); <After the Ball> (lesson 13); <Greensleeves> (Lesson 14); <The Banks of the Ohio> (Lesson 14), and, of course, lots of chords.

My ambition is to be able to play ragtime and boogie-woogie etc but I'm happy to learn the basics on this traditional material.

I think it's a good idea to have a couple of courses going at the same time. I am also working my way through James Rhodes' book "How to Play the Piano" which is not so much a course as a focused project to learn a Bach Prelude, which is classical and we don't mention that in this sub-forum ;-)
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 07:01 PM

Originally Posted by Inero
TonyB: No, I don't think you killed the thread. smile

Thanks. That's a relief! I am a new kid on the block and I'd hate to party-poop.

Stoppa, Lesson 16 of the Rod Russell course covers E min chords and has you playing <This Old Hammer> and <The Drunken Sailor> as well as pieces by Russell himself. Along the way, you learn, among other tunes, <Give Me That Old Time Religion>, <When You and I Were Young, Maggie> and <Aura Lee> (Lesson 12); <After the Ball> (lesson 13); <Greensleeves> (Lesson 14); <The Banks of the Ohio> (Lesson 14), and, of course, lots of chords.

My ambition is to be able to play ragtime and boogie-woogie etc but I'm happy to learn the basics on this traditional material.

I think it's a good idea to have a couple of courses going at the same time. I am also working my way through James Rhodes' book "How to Play the Piano" which is not so much a course as a focused project to learn a Bach Prelude, which is classical and we don't mention that in this sub-forum ;-)


I don't see any problem with discussing other courses here.

Tony

Posted By: Stopparde

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 07:06 PM

Hi Inero, we share the same ambition. I would like also to be able to play ragtime and boogie eventually!
Just in case, check this courses out:

http://www.playpianocatalog.com/ragtime.html
and
http://www.playpianocatalog.com/playing-blues-boogie--rb.html

I bought the ragtime one ($67) not bad, but not exactly a beginner course....it's also relatively short and to the point, focusing on the rag style and how to apply it to a few pieces.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/03/17 08:21 PM

Originally Posted by Stopparde
Hi Inero, we share the same ambition. I would like also to be able to play ragtime and boogie eventually!
Just in case, check this courses out:

http://www.playpianocatalog.com/ragtime.html
and
http://www.playpianocatalog.com/playing-blues-boogie--rb.html

I bought the ragtime one ($67) not bad, but not exactly a beginner course....it's also relatively short and to the point, focusing on the rag style and how to apply it to a few pieces.


Those courses are from Duane Shinn. He has a one year adult piano "crash course" that really prepares you to play whatever you want to study further on the piano. I get the impression from his other courses, that he intends in them that you already have the foundation provided by the crash course, whether you got it from that course or elsewhere. So all of his other courses are short and to the point.

Tony

Posted By: AprilE

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/04/17 04:28 AM

Tony, I've really appreciated all you've shared in this thread. The course sounds good, but I just started with a new teacher last month and so far am pretty happy and have my hands full. However, I was wondering if that chord supplement book would be useful for someone who is learning to play from lead sheets but isn't doing DH's course? Or is it very specific to his own program?



Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/04/17 01:27 PM

Originally Posted by AprilE
Tony, I've really appreciated all you've shared in this thread. The course sounds good, but I just started with a new teacher last month and so far am pretty happy and have my hands full. However, I was wondering if that chord supplement book would be useful for someone who is learning to play from lead sheets but isn't doing DH's course? Or is it very specific to his own program?



AprilE,

Yes, I think the chord supplement is specific to the DH course. The way the information is presented and the nomenclature used to illustrate the chords, all of that is consistent with how the course is taught. DH uses his own of illustrating and talking about the material, to get around whether or not the student knows anything about music and/or is able to read notation.

The information is universal, since it is about chords and music, but it may not make a lot of sense to somebody not familiar with his way of teaching.

Tony

Posted By: AprilE

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/05/17 04:12 AM

Thanks for that clarification, Tony. That's great you are finding it so useful!
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/05/17 04:32 AM

Originally Posted by AprilE
Thanks for that clarification, Tony. That's great you are finding it so useful!


Thanks. I may be wrong about my initial position on the book. In the Preface, DH talks about how the book can help you learn about every type of chord you will encounter in pop music. Then, he says "This guide may also be used as a supplement to the Professional Chord system, providing examples of additional chords not included in the method."

That tells me he intended it to be a stand-alone book as well as a supplement to the course. My take on it is that the book fits well with the course because it uses the same approach and nomenclature. However, it may well be that you could use it by itself. at least, that is what it sounds like in the Preface.

I tend to skip the Preface and go right into the material, but decided to go back and read that to see if there as any indications from DH about the use of the book.

So, you may want to consider the book by itself. However, to me, and as taught in the course, the chords themselves are half of it, with the other half being the application of all the rhythm patterns to make those chords come alive.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/05/17 03:54 PM

I am now on lesson 11 and still doing well. I am playing the previous lessons, especially the solo versions of the tunes as warm-up. It takes time and patience to get through an entire tune cleanly. this is a natural part of the learning process, so I am not particularly concerned. It is getting better and I am noticing my hands getting a bit more comfortable with these new movements they are learning. This is not an overnight type of course. It takes time and practice, and DH makes that point over and over.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/05/17 10:38 PM

I don't know if anybody is reading this thread anymore. However, just in case, I will post some further observations.

Some folks posted that the course focuses on accompaniment, rather than solo piano. This is true, but the course DOES cover solo piano quite well, in my opinion. Using what you learn for accompaniment (i.e. the chord and rhythm patterns), DH does, in lesson 64, go over the steps he takes to create a solo piano piece using the accompaniment material. He goes step by step. You have to watch it several times to really get it, but it is definitely all there.

First, you work out the fingerings for the melody so you are not having to jump around too much, so it goes as smoothly as possible.

Then, you play through the chords as accompaniment, as taught in the course.

Then, you play chording using just the left hand as demonstrated in the lesson.

Then, you add just the melody in the right hand.

Then, you play a full chord in the right hand on the first beat of the measure while playing the melody.

Then, you can work with playing an entire chord under each melody note, as again demonstrated in the course.

Then, you play around with the tune to make it the way you want, using variations of these things.

He doesn't go into a lot of detail about how the chords are built because he already did that through the rest of the course. You should know your chords pretty well for any of the tunes you want to learn as solos, by the time you get to this part. If you did those lessons first, then you will definitely know the chords and be able to play through them smoothly.

To me, this is what is needed - how to use all the stuff we are learning about accompaniment, since we ARE learning a chord system with rhythm patterns, and apply the mechanics of lesson 61 to play the melody on top, with plenty of demonstration as to how to do this, measure by measure, using several of the tunes in the method.

So, in my opinion, we have what we need to be able to do this, all provided in this course. As with any such course, you can learn more outside the course to add more tools. I just think it is a wrong assumption that this course does not teach how to play solo piano.

On completion of the course, any tune you can apply the chord system to as an accompaniment, you should be able to also play as a solo, using the mechanics of lesson 61. You have to determine whether a particular tune works well as a solo. but, then when I have played in bands, a part of our job was to try a bunch of tunes and select those that worked for us - our particular instrumentation and skill sets. It is rare that a given player can play every tune imaginable and have it work well every time. There is a reason that cocktail piano players usually choose standards, particularly ballads.

I hope that clears up this point about whether or not this course teaches solo piano. DH goes through it fairly quickly, but the assumption is that you already know the chords and the tunes as taught earlier in the course, and therefore only need the mechanics involved.

Tony


Posted By: Grandman

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/06/17 08:43 AM

Very interesting, Tony. It is clear the lessons teach how to play the partucular songs in the course. But can I learn the skills that would enable me to improvise, play other tunes by ear, and play other tunes from a lead sheet so that the tunes sound like full arrangements? DMD mentioned the course will teach you to play the songs from the course. What I'm most interested in is learning the skills and theory that carries over to other songs I might be interested in playing. Whenever i come across a course that seems to emphasize being able to play without reading music, I am skeptical. I might learn a few licks, but I won't understand how to carry the skills over to the songs I'm really interested in playing.

And i still don't understand DH's position that some songs just aren't suitable for solo piano. I've never heard a song yet that can't sound great as a piano solo given the right arrangement. It sounds as if some of DH's methods may not be suitable for solo playing rather than that only certain songs work well as solos. It is this emphasis on accompaniment that makes me (and perhaps some others) hesitant with this course. Nevertheless, I am enjoying reading about your experience with the course so please carry on. I'm sure there are many others still reading with interest among the silent majority. Also interested in knowing about Frosty's progress with the course.
Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/06/17 10:33 AM

Hi. Still here, still following the thread and still using the course. I have had a busy week at work so I have not been able to practice much. So far I have done the accompaniment to the first 2 songs and started working on adding the melody to the first. I am still debating if I should just finish follow the lessons in order and learn to add the melody after I have a solid foundation on the chords. One thing I have been doing as DH suggested in a you tube video, was sit down even for 5 minutes reviewing the chords to get the feel for them. I think this does help, but I need to devote more time.

As far as my thoughts on accompiament vs. solo, I would say the I think the course does teach both, but he makes frequent comments about accompianmemt is how the professionals play, which is true assuming you are in a pop group or band.

I personally want to focus on solo. And like I said before it seems that it is covered in depth, but fast. One thing I wish is that the course could be downloaded, or streamed. Currently I use my laptop(yes I have an old one with a cd drive lol), because for the solo part, I have to watch him do a bar or two, pause it, go back a few seconds and repeat.

In terms of the statement that not all songs are made for solo, I strongly disagree. You can find someone doing virtually any song on you tube. I have even seen rap songs that sound good as solo piano.

I have not gone through the whole course, but I do not think it teaches how to play by ear or improvise, but I can't confirm that. I think there is a large amount of good information in this course, I don't think this course would be the only training you need or that you will become a pro when you are done. That's unrealistic for any course. I think the course will give you a good strong solid foundation so that you can apply the ideas to other songs. I will probably buy the supplements later on as I am deeper into the course. I imagine at least the rhythms would be a great addition.

While they promote that you do not Have to read music, that is only true for the accompianment part, however, if you do know basic theory it will help a great deal.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/06/17 01:48 PM

I agree that this isn't the only course a person would study. What I would say is that this course gives a good foundation from which a person will have enough experience to make wiser choices as to what to study next, depending on what a person wants to do.

As for his statement that not every song is suitable for solo performance, I agree with him that his method probably doesn't apply well to every song. However, that is part of where the idea of further study comes in. Clearly, we have seen Youtube videos with most any style of song getting solo piano treatment. So, if a person wants to play a song that doesn't fit the style taught by this course, that person now has the facility to learn other techniques that allow him or her to learn to play that tune and expand the repertoire and tool set accordingly.

Every musician has to do this, which is why I didn't even think to mention it my posts. It is the lifelong process of continuing to grow as a musician. anyone who really believes that one course does it all and then we are good to go forever and ever, really needs to reconsider such beliefs. It is this lifelong learning process that makes music such a worthwhile pursuit.

To me, this is why having several courses is advantageous. We can get many perspectives as well as new information and teaching from each. It really does never end. If it did, we would get bored eventually.

When I talked to David Jr. on the phone, he was quite adamant that I would be surprised at how often a piano player must accompany somebody else, and that this is something not often focused on by courses like this (i.e. self-study). I don't have to agree with everything the teacher says as long as I am getting what I need from the teaching.

to me, there is an element of common sense we each apply to these courses, We don't have to follow them in blind faith. We are adults making choices for ourselves in every area of our lives, and this area should be no different. So, when I post, this is (to me) a foregone conclusion that should not need to be stated. Instead, I can focus on what the course does provide. Maybe I am wrong in this assumption?

I mentioned in earlier posts that I ripped the DVDs and therefore have MP4 videos of each lesson individually on my Microsft Surface PC. I run these in Transcribe! whee I can slow them WAY down, and loop small sections. As I attend to a given lesson, I go through and mark loop sections so I can focus on each in turn, playing it over and over slowly, and gradually speeding up to full speed. This is the technology we have today, and is quite easy to use. Since I am not giving these to anybody else, I see nothing wrong with doing this if it helps me to learn.

My approach to these sorts of problems (i.e. the DVD lesson goes too fast), is to find a solution and apply it. Again, I assume that folks are aware of the technologies available to do this (perhaps wrong assumption?). This is how I knew how complete the solo section really is. Repeated viewings at slow speed is like peeling through the layers to get all the information embedded in the lesson. These solo lessons are quite dense.

Tony


Posted By: FrostyKeys

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/06/17 06:45 PM

Originally Posted by TonyB


As for his statement that not every song is suitable for solo performance, I agree with him that his method probably doesn't apply well to every song. However, that is part of where the idea of further study comes in. Clearly, we have seen Youtube videos with most any style of song getting solo piano treatment. So, if a person wants to play a song that doesn't fit the style taught by this course, that person now has the facility to learn other techniques that allow him or her to learn to play that tune and expand the repertoire and tool set accordingly.



Yeah, I should have been more clear. Almost any song can be played as a piano solo in general , but not all fall into the patterns taught here. But I think with some altercations, you may be able to make it work. For example in the first solo lesson, you pick up missed right hand notes with the left hand, or melody notes. This is where some theory knowledge will help.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/06/17 08:21 PM

Originally Posted by FrostyKeys


Yeah, I should have been more clear. Almost any song can be played as a piano solo in general , but not all fall into the patterns taught here. But I think with some altercations, you may be able to make it work. For example in the first solo lesson, you pick up missed right hand notes with the left hand, or melody notes. This is where some theory knowledge will help.


Yes, I agree with you. I am saying that there are other techniques not taught in this course to handle many more styles that would allow you to play songs that may not work in this style. As an example, stride would work very well with the very tune he uses as an example of what won't work in the style taught by DH. Boogie woogie styling may work with still other tunes.

I definitely disagree with the idea that most piano playing is to accompany other people singing or playing. There are many folks who play for their own enjoyment or a few friends who will always play solo, or at least much of the time. So do those who play piano bars and cocktail lounges.

So you and I are definitely in agreement about that. However, in defense of this course, I think one of its strengths is that it is able to do a very good job of limiting the scope of what it teaches so you get the entire skill set intended, and only that. Too many of these courses try to teach too much and end up not doing a very good job of any of it.

Tony

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/07/17 04:52 PM

With self-study, it is all too often difficult to know when it is time to move on to the next lesson. DH gives some ideas about that, saying that when you can play a given tune 5 times in a row without mistakes, you can move on.

Here is another idea I am finding useful...

Play the tune along with the "Listening CD". If you can do it at full speed without stumbling or making other mistakes, then you know the material. From the song "Today" on, he moves along at a pretty good pace, so this is good test of how well you REALLY know these chords and can smoothly change from one to another.

Instead of sailing along and maybe getting through a tune within a week or two, the above test may prove you need 4 or 5 weeks to get through it. However, the good thing in this is that you then know you are really getting what you should from the course.

We often tend to sell these self-study courses short, when in fact, we may be not spending the time to really learn the material before moving on. At the end of the course, assuming we stick with it that long, we may find that we really didn't accomplish what we had hoped, and then blame the course. This is one place where a "real" live teacher can make a HUGE difference because s/he can hold us accountable for really doing the work properly, as long as it takes to do so.

Tony

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/07/17 06:22 PM

Originally Posted by TonyB
We often tend to sell these self-study courses short, when in fact, we may be not spending the time to really learn the material before moving on.


Absolutely !

Those of us who have been through a few of these courses know this to be true.

The problem is that we get impatient and the "promise" of some other course appeals to us instead of the same old stuff we have been working on for a couple of months. So we leap into that ... only to find that it, too, is not perfect. Then, we may go back to a course we quit on 2 or 3 years ago and find it appealing again.

My solution for that is to employ a teacher periodically to evaluate my skill set and give me direction. I will work with a teacher for a bit (2 or 3 months) and then take a break and do my own thing for a bit and then back with a teacher. That seems to work for me now.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/07/17 06:55 PM

That idea of using the services of a teacher for short periods seem like a really good idea. I would have to find one that is both willing to do that AND teach me material that is consistent with whatever method I am working on.

Tony

Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/07/17 07:11 PM

Originally Posted by TonyB
That idea of using the services of a teacher for short periods seem like a really good idea. I would have to find one that is both willing to do that AND teach me material that is consistent with whatever method I am working on.

Tony



Well, first of all ... the teacher does not have to know you are going to be employing them for short bursts. I just find one on the internet and work through Skype. I have 3 or 4 that I move around between periodically. They are all jazz piano professionals and they pick me up where I am and make suggestions as to what they think I should be doing and we work on that for a bit (few weeks). The time I work with them depends upon how I think things are going and whether or not I think I need a break to do MY OWN THING for a bit. I may go for a month or 6 months ... I really do not know going in how long I will stay.

And the part about being consistent with the method you are working on ... that will be more difficult. I usually do not force that. I let them lead ... which is what I am paying them for ... and just see how it goes. Usually, I am pleased with what they come up with. If not, I jump ship and move on.

As far as which teachers to use, you will just have to find them ... try them ... and keep the best and discard the rest.

There are a ton of them available on the internet.

Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/07/17 07:41 PM

Thanks DMD. Good points. I had not thought about using the internet for that. Skype would be a good tool for lessons. I took a 15 week guitar class via an online meeting site that was held every Sunday morning (for my local time) for 3 hours. The person teaching the class was located in Thailand (originally from Finland), and there were 12 students, all from different parts of the world. The intent of the class was to teach how to rally hear a recording and quickly figure out the key and the chords, and the melody by ear, and then make a solo fingerstyle arrangement of the tune. It was an interesting experience with surprisingly few glitches.

Tony

Posted By: Ralph L.

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/08/17 01:18 AM

Hi all, this is my first post on this forum. Not sure if this info has already been mentioned here,but I'm an adult beginner, and learning keyboard using a British online system called Gigajam. It is a system used by over 1000 schools in uk, focus on pop music education, and they can issue grade 1-5 keyboard certificate (with London college of music). I found it very helpful.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/08/17 01:59 AM

Thanks for the info,Ralph and welcome to the forum! Currently, I am fully immersed in the David Higgonson course and am also learning the style I want to play by ear off of CDs. If I run out of steam, I will certainly consider Gigajam. I would guess that others here would be interested in another online resource too. If any other threads about self-study courses pop up, feel free to bring your information up there too.

I looked at the gigjam.com site and it looks interesting.

Thanks...

Tony

Posted By: Ralph L.

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/08/17 02:21 AM

No problem, enjoy!
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/08/17 12:41 PM

There really isn't any more for me to say about the DH course. Hopefully, questions have been answered and I am certain there is more than enough information about the course both here and on the course site for folks to decide whether or not it is for them.

There really isn't a need for a study group. all you have to do is sit down at the piano every day and do what David Higginson says to do in the course. Time away from the course spent on the internet talking about the course really doesn't do anybody much good, since it has already been discussed many times over here and in other threads.

It now simply comes down to either a person reading this thread decides to bu the course or not. If not, then this thread has no more use to that person. If so, then this thread also has no more use because from the point of decision on, it is a matter of getting and doing what the course says. The motivation comes from the desire to learn, and not from gabbing about it in a forum.

Tony

Posted By: tm3

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/21/17 05:21 PM

Originally Posted by TonyB
There really isn't any more for me to say about the DH course. Hopefully, questions have been answered and I am certain there is more than enough information about the course both here and on the course site for folks to decide whether or not it is for them.



Might be too late but I will try to sneak in one more question.

TonyB I appreciate your detailed description and analysis. Do you know enough about the Willie Myette program to be able to compare/contrast to the DH course? I watched a YouTube video of Myette and he has an appealing teaching style, and I think that he may offer supplementary Skype lessons which would seem to be beneficial. However Myette is the ongoing subscription model as opposed to buying the materials like DH and I prefer the latter, although this part would not be the deciding factor for me.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/21/17 10:16 PM

Originally Posted by tm3
TonyB I appreciate your detailed description and analysis. Do you know enough about the Willie Myette program to be able to compare/contrast to the DH course? I watched a YouTube video of Myette and he has an appealing teaching style, and I think that he may offer supplementary Skype lessons which would seem to be beneficial. However Myette is the ongoing subscription model as opposed to buying the materials like DH and I prefer the latter, although this part would not be the deciding factor for me.


I have utilized both and would say this ....

First, of all .... Willie Myette focuses mostly on jazz piano topics and Higgensen is more with pop piano.

Higgensen relies on arpeggiating the accompaniment with a combination of left hand and right hand techniques while fitting the melody in during that arpeggiating.

Myette presents a multitude of methods for playing and accompanying. He basically just shows you how to play things and you copy what he shows you. He also has a ;program where he will tell you which videos you should do next in order to receive the education you are looking for. He is very good and thorough. However, I could never find a "path" to follow so that I felt I was getting somewhere. I always felt that I was just jumping around and hoping for the best. That might have been my impatience at work, so you may wish to try his stuff for a while and see for yourself.
Posted By: tm3

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/22/17 02:24 AM

Thanks, dmd. My impression from the www site was that it seemed somewhat disorganized and hard to follow. Sounds like his course might be the same way.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/22/17 06:21 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by tm3
TonyB I appreciate your detailed description and analysis. Do you know enough about the Willie Myette program to be able to compare/contrast to the DH course? I watched a YouTube video of Myette and he has an appealing teaching style, and I think that he may offer supplementary Skype lessons which would seem to be beneficial. However Myette is the ongoing subscription model as opposed to buying the materials like DH and I prefer the latter, although this part would not be the deciding factor for me.


I have utilized both and would say this ....

First, of all .... Willie Myette focuses mostly on jazz piano topics and Higgensen is more with pop piano.

Higgensen relies on arpeggiating the accompaniment with a combination of left hand and right hand techniques while fitting the melody in during that arpeggiating.

Myette presents a multitude of methods for playing and accompanying. He basically just shows you how to play things and you copy what he shows you. He also has a ;program where he will tell you which videos you should do next in order to receive the education you are looking for. He is very good and thorough. However, I could never find a "path" to follow so that I felt I was getting somewhere. I always felt that I was just jumping around and hoping for the best. That might have been my impatience at work, so you may wish to try his stuff for a while and see for yourself.




I have been out of town for the past week and am only now starting to catch up with emails and internet, so it is a good thing that DMD stepped in.

I agree with DMD's assessment. DH's course is very focused and therefore covers a rather limited range of material. On the surface, this may not sound very good, but it really is - if what he covers is what you want to learn. In my case, the DH course is a good match. The course is getting me on my feet, so to speak so that my hands are doing what I want them to do. After I have completed this course, I will be ready to tackle Willie Myette's materials.

As DMD said, you will be pretty much guiding yourself through Willie Myette's (WM) materials, but WM is a great teacher. You just need to be ready to tackle it. Another way to prepare would be to tkae his basic piano course.

Tony
Posted By: hello my name is

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/22/17 09:19 PM

Can someone make a video of what they can play after doing these types of courses? I'm very curious. I learned classically but I can read lead sheets.. it's just a melody line and I improvise arpeggios for the chords. I wonder how these courses get enough material to teach.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/22/17 11:50 PM

Originally Posted by hello my name is
Can someone make a video of what they can play after doing these types of courses? I'm very curious. I learned classically but I can read lead sheets.. it's just a melody line and I improvise arpeggios for the chords. I wonder how these courses get enough material to teach.


Here you go ... (Not me)


https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...FCED9B1C416D&fsscr=0&FORM=VDFSRV
Posted By: hello my name is

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/23/17 02:03 AM

Thanks DMD! Is there rhyme or rhythm to the choice of how the arpeggio is played? I mix mine up myself as well, but I'm not sure how I would explain it to someone else as to why I do what I do.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/23/17 03:02 AM

Originally Posted by hello my name is
Thanks DMD! Is there rhyme or rhythm to the choice of how the arpeggio is played? I mix mine up myself as well, but I'm not sure how I would explain it to someone else as to why I do what I do.


The DH course teaches what David Higginson calls "Chord Patterns" and "Rhythm Patterns".

A chord pattern is essentially a chord, presented much as pop guitar is taught (i.e. put these fingers here to play this chord).

A rhythm pattern is how to play a given chord pattern (what notes to play when).

So far, I have only gotten through the first 3 tunes, and the chord and rhythm patterns are pretty much the same with some variation. Being that I have been out of town and just got back, I am just getting back to it, so it will be a few weeks before I can more fully answer beyond what I have said here.

However, there are 13 tunes taught in the course with approximately 15 chord and rhythm patterns. Also, there are two supplement books available, one that covers a lot of extra chord patterns and one that covers a lot of extra rhythm patterns (167 patterns). It is up to the player to apply these based on what has been learned in the main course. Hopefully, by the time we finish the main course we have a pretty good feel for when to use what type of chord and rhythm pattern.

Tony
Posted By: dmd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 05/23/17 11:50 AM

Originally Posted by hello my name is
Thanks DMD! Is there rhyme or rhythm to the choice of how the arpeggio is played? I mix mine up myself as well, but I'm not sure how I would explain it to someone else as to why I do what I do.


I do not think so. It is just what sounds good to you. Usually the root of the chord is on beat 1 but not always. Sometimes the 3rd of the chord results in a nice "run" to the root of the next chord, etc ....

Sometimes only 2 chord tones to the measure, sometimes 3, sometimes the entire chord, sometimes the root and the chord. Also the right hand is supplying some chord tones under the melody when possible.

Again .... complete familiarity with the keyboard is required. As long as you can keep going everything sounds good.
Posted By: BWrules

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/28/19 05:47 PM

Resurrecting this thread noticing that our fellow member TonyB is still active after two years and to my happiness still pursuing method to better even further his playing. I would love to have his opinion in 2019 with the hindsight he has now: do you still will consider the David Higginson chord method as the smoothest route to start playing pop piano by ear, or you find it limited / too expensive versus other sources available elsewhere able to provide the same “fast” result focusing intuitively on just one aspect of comping?
Thx in advance.
Posted By: Greener

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/29/19 04:25 PM

I would be interested to hear from Tony too. Meanwhile, Thank you for re-posting this thread. Not sure how i missed it when it was more active, but clearly i did.

I have never used this method but by the sounds of it is very similar to how my Dad taught me and the rest of his students. So, encoraging to see a chords first method still thriving, or better yet catching on.

Curious though why or how you see this as a clear path to playing by ear. I don't get the connection as the melody and harmony are provided to you, just like grand staff. Yes, you need to be creative with your accompaniment, but this will be built on the underlying chords, so you really don't need to rely on your ear that much, or any more then you would with grand staff.

Lastliy, i would go further then to say best way to learn Pop and simply say it is a great way to learn period and excellent primer if you ever decide to go full classical too. Unfortunately classicl players don't normally learn this unless they take it upon themselves. You'll be far better off when you can do both methods.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/29/19 08:49 PM

Originally Posted by BWrules
Resurrecting this thread noticing that our fellow member TonyB is still active after two years and to my happiness still pursuing method to better even further his playing. I would love to have his opinion in 2019 with the hindsight he has now: do you still will consider the David Higginson chord method as the smoothest route to start playing pop piano by ear, or you find it limited / too expensive versus other sources available elsewhere able to provide the same “fast” result focusing intuitively on just one aspect of comping?
Thx in advance.


There are many paths, as Robert Conti (the jazz guitarist and teacher says), and hopefully they all lead to the same place (meaning that you are playing the music you want to play). Yes, I think the DH method is good. It is somewhat limited in that the real focus is on accompanying yourself singing. I don't sing - simple as that. However, the course does teach you how to incorporate the melody into the style he teaches. I would suggest that you get a lead sheet (melody plus chords) for the tune "Tammy" and follow along as he uses that as the first example of how his approach works for solo piano playing. He is quite straightforward in saying that there are many tunes, the up tempo tunes, that would probably not work well with this approach.

My take on it is that this is a fun course. There is (in my opinion) no drudgery to it, so that if you are an adult with life responsibilities and you want to have fun along the way to learning to play tunes, this is a good one. I would suggest getting the "add-ons", which include a whole bunch of extra patterns and chords so you can cover a wider variety of tunes as you get familiar with the style.

In my opinion, dmd was spot on with his recommendation for this course. I have also courses from Yoke Wong, Willie Myette, and of course, the Duane Shinn method. To me, the Duane Shinn method, though the most complete, is rather dry compared to these other course. With Shinn, if you get the Crash Course, be prepared to spend years on it. It is the whole hog. With the other courses I mentioned, they are all shorter, covering a specific area in each, and you pick what you want from their respective catalogs.

You can't go wrong with any of them, but I think that the shortest path to playing songs would be the David Higginson course. Once you are playing songs via his method, you will have some solid foundation in song play to pick and choose any other area (except maybe classical) that you might want to add to your bag of tricks. Higginson's method sounds perfectly fine. You won't sound like a beginner, but eventually you will want to expand your techniques.

To me, unless you intend to be a concert pianist, this piano learning process should be fun and light-hearted and you should learn what you want to learn, when you want to learn it. David Higginson does that quite well.

In closing, since the thread is about "the best way to learn pop piano", I honestly don't have an answer for that. We all have different goals, learning styles, and abilities. A self-learner will typically buy a bunch of courses and switch between them. Nothing wrong in that - as long as you are playing and growing. It is when we substitute hanging out in forums for practice time that we get into trouble with ourselves and our consciences.

Tony

Posted By: BWrules

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/30/19 09:33 AM

Thank you Tony, much appriciated.

Originally Posted by TonyB
.... He is quite straightforward in saying that ... the up tempo tunes... would probably not work well with this approach....


Being from the STEM field and I'm quite confident you used the correct word, nevertheles since too many times up-tempo is used as synonimus of up-beat, I'll appriciate if you can confirm the method is well suited to play a slow upbeat songs (lets say a syncopated slow blues), and would proabily not work well only with a fast tempo music.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/30/19 09:56 AM

Originally Posted by BWrules
Thank you Tony, much appriciated.

Originally Posted by TonyB
.... He is quite straightforward in saying that ... the up tempo tunes... would probably not work well with this approach....


Being from the STEM field and I'm quite confident you used the correct word, nevertheles since too many times up-tempo is used as synonimus of up-beat, I'll appriciate if you can confirm the method is well suited to play a slow upbeat songs (lets say a syncopated slow blues), and would proabily not work well only with a fast tempo music.


Having been a software engineer working with embedded systems, for the past 20+ years and still taking short term contracts in retirement, I really don't see the problem, nor why STEM has anything to do with it. Also, I worked full time as a musician for a couple of years in the 1970s, travelling the Holiday Inn, resort, and supper club circuits in a trio as a guitar player. "Uptempo" typically means "not ballads", and has nothing necessarily to do with whether there is syncopation involved.

Here is a definition of up tempo:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=up+te...mp;setlang=en-US&plvar=0&PC=DCTS

ADJECTIVE
up-tempo (adjective)
played with a fast or increased tempo.
"uptempo guitar work"

ADVERB
up-tempo (adverb)
with a fast or increased tempo.
"when they move uptempo the problems start"

Also, since you made your point while quibbling about words, instead of "apricate", the spelling should be "appreciate". Instead of "synonimus", the word should be spelled "synonymous". Instead of "synonimus of up-beat" the correct phrasing is "synonymous WITH upbeat".

So now that we have cleared that little mess up, what David Higginson is saying, is that his approach, when playing the melody with his arpeggios, works best with ballads. Regarding your question about syncopation, yes, that can easily be done within the stylistic approach he teaches.

I hope this clears up your rather curious way of making your points. In future posts, please just ask your question or state your point, rather than going on about STEM and my use of words. I do believe that what I said, and the short portion you chose to quote and go after, is perfectly clear in its original form.

Tony

Posted By: Nahum

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/30/19 10:14 AM

Pop piano refers to the field of R&C - Rhythm and Chords. But what the heck is Professional Chord System? Did I miss something during all those years?
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/30/19 11:36 AM

Originally Posted by Nahum
Pop piano refers to the field of R&C - Rhythm and Chords. But what the heck is Professional Chord System? Did I miss something during all those years?


Nahum,

I have seen a number of your posts in other sub-forums, and can tell that you are way beyond the level of playing that this thread is about. You are not missing anything, and if anything, I am sure we could learn a lot from you.

To answer your question, "Professional Chord System" is another self-teaching piano method. The focus of the course is on accompanying yourself as you sing, but there is also a section that shows you how to incorporate the melody for some solo piano playing. For the most part, it concerns arpeggiating the chords to a tune as provided via a lead sheet, and applying appropriate rhythms to that process.

The scope of the course is rather limited, which is actually a good thing, since so many such courses try to cover everything, and often end up doing little for the student. It is a very effective means of getting folks to the piano so that they can begin their musical journey. However,a prospective student should realize that this course represents the beginning of a very long journey. The course does not cover chord substitutions, voice leading,, etc. One would have to look elsewhere to fill these areas in, but there are certainly many places to get that information when the student is ready.

Tony
Posted By: Nahum

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/30/19 02:46 PM

I was embarrassed by this headline: “PCS”, as if a huge amount of the learned material in the harmony of different genres does not correspond professionally to the field of pop piano. I have been teaching jazz at an academic level since the 1970s, but the pop piano area was foggy for me at that time, even though it was required of me even in studio. Fortunately, my fusion band colleague ( Rest In Peace! ) , also a keyboard player, was professional in this industry leading in Israel and had professional work experience in States; so I had the opportunity to learn from her by ears and eyes during rehearsals and concerts. However, from here to the systematic work with the students there was a huge gap, which was filled with advice: "Do as I do!".
It is only at first glance it seems that one who has studied jazz, can easily start playing pop. First you need to gain a sense of stylistic boundaries of genre , otherwise it will be shooting birds from a cannon. Since that times, I began to collect information on subject of "Pop Piano" drop by drop, in order to organize it methodically at the level of the "Jazz Piano" course; no tutorials existed, only the recordings and their transcriptions. In this state of affairs, it is not surprising if something is missing; hence my question.
Today's situation is completely different; and yet the best way IMO to start learning Pop Piano is by hearing and sight , without any printed notes , which instantly create problems in rhythm.
Posted By: dire tonic

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 07/31/19 01:38 PM

How about seeking out some other amateur musicians (guitar/bass/drums) and forming a band to play for fun? No need to reach for the sky, just play to your abilities. The collective responsibility will force you to do your homework. That's what I did nearly 60 years ago. The first song we played was Poetry in Motion. It was awful but it started the ball rolling for me.

Of course this raises the question of whether the aim is to play with a band, as accompaniment for a singer or for solo piano. Three very different approaches. But the band is a good starting point because in many ways it's technically less demanding while instilling essential discipline (learning the chords and playing in rhythm).

Posted By: Kbeaumont

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/01/19 04:34 PM

Playing with others is a very good learning experience. It's best to play with people that are at a level slightly better than you even though the play different instruments. You can tell ability by timing and if the music sounds 'correct'. And when your comfortable move on to a band that is even better, tighter more advanced songs etc. Or many times the band improves together. The things you will learn go far beyond just chords or notes. Like what chord variations work and which don't in a song. How to fit in the mix without hogging up sonic space. Rhythm, timing and ear are important. Before I played in bands, I had a hard time recognizing keys and chord progressions. And that was before the internet. I used to have a stack of Keyboard magazines and books. But after playing with others its seemed natural, I could find the key and I could recognize the patterns. But I guess the best part for me was it was fun. A lot more fun than having my nose in a book and trying to play songs from sheet music or chord charts. I learned to be able sit down at the piano and just figure out a song in a minute or so depending on difficulty. If your personable, people generally try to be helpful. So when your playing with others its like having multiple mentors showing you what they know. Best of all if you're gigging, you get paid a meager fee. You probably won't get rich, but I have bought quite a few keyboards over the years with money saved from just gigs.
Posted By: seniorblues

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/02/19 12:06 AM

Playing in a band and playing solo are quite different. Who's caring the melody?

When someone says they want to learn how to play the piano, the first thing I'd want hear is a recording showing us exactly what you hope to sound like.

Who suggested "Tammy"? Recorded by Debbie Reynolds in 1957? Really!?

Tell us about your proposed repertoire. An awful lot of more recent popular music was never composed as solo piano music and will leave a lot to be desired, no matter how it's interpreted.
Posted By: Nahum

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/02/19 09:51 AM

Originally Posted by seniorblues

Who suggested "Tammy"? Recorded by Debbie Reynolds in 1957? Really!?



Wow! I took this song from 1964 to my cocktail piano repertoire, having no idea of "Tammy", "Livingston" or "Debbie Reynolds".
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/02/19 02:05 PM

Originally Posted by seniorblues
Playing in a band and playing solo are quite different. Who's caring the melody?

When someone says they want to learn how to play the piano, the first thing I'd want hear is a recording showing us exactly what you hope to sound like.

Who suggested "Tammy"? Recorded by Debbie Reynolds in 1957? Really!?

Tell us about your proposed repertoire. An awful lot of more recent popular music was never composed as solo piano music and will leave a lot to be desired, no matter how it's interpreted.



The course that I was asked about in this thread was the David Higginson course. The focus of the course is mostly accompanying yourself while singing. Those who are interested in playing this stuff as solo instrumentals with the melody can do so, since he has a section on that. He starts with the song "Tammy", in which he covers what his approach is. e then goes on to some other tunes that he does provide printed information on, but I suggested that folks get the lead sheet for "Tammy" so as to be able to follow along with his initial and introductory discussion.

I like that melody, some people may not. Regardless, it is part of the course.

Tony
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/02/19 03:20 PM

As a follow-on to my earlier post about "Tammy", I think the ongoing discussion is interesting. However, I also feel that there are different means of learning that individuals respond best to. We each have our favored learning styles. Some folks may not necessarily be comfortable getting involved in an ensemble, and would prefer to do it alone. Despite how some folks may feel about this, there is nothing wrong with that. Some folks flourish among others, and still other folks do better taking their time alone, or at least getting some fluency before getting involved in playing with others. To me, it seems best to view this discussion inclusively, so that nobody is made to feel that learning at home on their own is somehow wrong.

My main instrument is the guitar. I did play full time professionally in a trio that played supper clubs, resorts, and the Holiday Inn circuit. We played all over the US and Canada. This was back when such a pursuit could yield a decent blue collar level living. From what I hear, this no longer seems feasible, though I don't know that from personal experience, since I did it 40 years ago. I was able to do that because, when learning guitar, I taught myself to read standard notation, as well as to work with lead sheets. Routinely, the band leader would show up with charts and we had to just play through the tune a few times and then it was gig time. It was pretty much a given with guitar, that we all learned from records back then, but being able to read was not nearly as common among non-studio or non-classically trained guitar players. Being able to manage a chart meant that you had a musical vocabulary that you could call on to translate the chart into something that fit with the rest of the band. I don't know if that has changed much.

I agree that you really do improve much faster in a group situation, but one can also learn alone, especially with the wealth of teaching materials available. Of course, this can be a double-edged sword because not all teaching materials are of decent quality, or will get you your desired result (just as it is with hunting for a "live" teacher). This is where recommendations and discussions of such teaching materials in a thread can be helpful if there is input from folks with real experience with the materials being discussed.

When I was learning to play guitar, it seemed much easier to find folks to hang out and play with. I don't know if it is a cultural shift or if it is because when we become adults we have too many other responsibilities, but it does seem that trying to schedule a meet with other folks just doesn't happen. It can be difficult to find that ensemble to play with.

My own opinion of the course being discussed in this thread has already been provided in an earlier post. I see the discussion veering off into other ways to learn, which is fine. But let's not discount those who are interested in this course and going it alone.

Edit: One possible solution to not being able to find, or want to play in, an ensemble is to utilize Band In A Box. I just finished installing the BIAB UltraPak, and the little I have been playing with it, those RealTracks can provide a reasonable alternative, especially with all the Norton fakebook disks available. Norton is a third-party vendor whose product line includes many fine fakebook disks for BIAB including the Real Book (HL version), and all the Frank Mantooth and Dick Hyman reharm fakebooks, among others. Those who play jazz will know what I am talking about, while the others will once they start digging around for information. That can be another thread, but here, just a "heads up".

Tony
Posted By: tm3

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/12/19 12:03 PM

TonyB, IIRC you did some study with the Sudnow Method. I'm curious about how you think it compares to the other courses that you have described here.
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/12/19 11:39 PM

Originally Posted by tm3
TonyB, IIRC you did some study with the Sudnow Method. I'm curious about how you think it compares to the other courses that you have described here.


The Sudnow method is quite different as are its goals. The Sudnow method is very focused on specifically playing cocktail piano with those big lush voicings. In that course, you learn how to practice and teach yourself, which I think is a most important aspect that most other courses either gloss over or don't address at all, with the exception of the Duane Shinn 52 week crash course (which spends time up front on that). I prefer how Sudnow discusses that aspect of the learning process, but that is just me.

Sudnow avoids a lot of the various difficulties one would encounter when self teaching by greatly limiting the scope of what he teaches. He does not, for example, teach technique beyond grabbing one "block chord" after another. So when playing as he teaches in that course, you are grabbing one chord cluster after another but not arpeggiating or otherwise adding flow to your playing.

Sudnow addresses this by saying that once your hands "learn the shape of the keyboard", you can find ways to learn whatever else you want to know. So he invites you to explore other avenues after you have a bunch of tunes in his teaching style well in hand. After the first two tunes he provides, you use his "rules" to arrange everything else yourself.

The David Higginson course is really focused on accompanying yourself while singing, much like strumming a guitar while singing. The chords are arpeggiated in a variety of patterns, depending on the feel of the tune. He spends a bit of time on playing the melody with the arpeggiating chords so you can solo, but the application is somewhat limited as previously discussed.

I think you get results faster with the David Higginson course, but the Sudnow method gives you a better grounding in music theory and arranging, from which you can then explore a variety of styles on your own. The Sudnow course is, admittedly, a bit of a grind to get through, while the David Higginson course is more fun overall.

In a way, I think the two courses are a good match because you get the grounding in how to teach yourself, the theory, and ability to arrange from a fakebook from Sudnow, and you get your hand moving and flowing with David Higginson.

So, in the end, I would say to start with Sudnow and continue with Higginson. smile

Tony
Posted By: tm3

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/13/19 02:35 PM

Thanks, TonyB. I enjoy reading your analyses.

I just finished an interesting book, Piano Lessons by Noah Adams. It is basically a description of his first year of trying to learn piano, starting at age 51. He tries the Sudnow Method, along with several other things. At one point the author attends a week long piano seminar, and says of one of the lessons, "This is, of course, exactly what David Sudnow's course was trying to teach me, but somehow Rosamond was able to explain it better in only about three minutes."

The book is full of entertaining anecdotes about pianos and piano players. I highly recommend it to anyone who is "piano-centric."
Posted By: TonyB

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/14/19 01:30 AM

Originally Posted by tm3
Thanks, TonyB. I enjoy reading your analyses.

I just finished an interesting book, Piano Lessons by Noah Adams. It is basically a description of his first year of trying to learn piano, starting at age 51. He tries the Sudnow Method, along with several other things. At one point the author attends a week long piano seminar, and says of one of the lessons, "This is, of course, exactly what David Sudnow's course was trying to teach me, but somehow Rosamond was able to explain it better in only about three minutes."

The book is full of entertaining anecdotes about pianos and piano players. I highly recommend it to anyone who is "piano-centric."


Yes, good read. I read that book a couple of years ago and thought it was interesting, especially after listening to "All Things Considered" on public radio for so long. I have been waiting for the book to be released for the Kindle, but so far, no luck. I want to read it again, but can't find my hard cover copy.

Tony
Posted By: PianoWVBob

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/14/19 03:13 PM

I've just read through this entire thread and I wanted to say that I'm appreciative of TonyB's posts about the Higginson method. I purchased this method because though I can read music and learn pieces, I'm weak on doing things "on the fly." I just started playing piano and so my technique is horrible, my muscle control and brain-muscle connections aren't quite there yet though I'm getting better. I played guitar for 30+ years and so I sort of want to do what TonyB described which is "get a lead sheet, run through it once or twice and then be able to make a solid arrangement of it to accompany a singer" and if possible later on, to make a solo arrangement out of it.

I've tried the "6 note chord" thing so far and I realize what he's doing by piecing out the inversions like this, it helps with not being overwhelmed which is what happens to me when there are too many possible avenues at any one moment.

I started the Sudnow method but for me, it's waaayyyy tooo dense. Those huge block chords are difficult and hard to remember for me. The Higginson simple "this is the inversion you use" backdoor method is better for me at this point. He's pared it down to a manageable level that works for me.

My wife is even going to start trying it and she's never played any instrument in her life...we shall see.

I'm waiting on the materials to arrive, I ordered the downloadable version.
Posted By: tm3

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/15/19 10:36 AM

I hope you report back on your experience with Higginson.
Posted By: PianoWVBob

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/15/19 11:41 AM

Originally Posted by tm3
I hope you report back on your experience with Higginson.

I did post this in the adult beginners section just now:


http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...way-to-play-chord-style.html#Post2879802


And I'll keep everyone updated as I go through it.
Posted By: Bobby Badd

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/15/19 02:22 PM

I used a similar program to learn,

www.piano-play-it.com

Accompany section is a great way to start. I like it because it's free, and I'm frugle
Posted By: ZeroZero

Re: Best way to learn pop piano? - 08/15/19 08:21 PM

Here is my take on things. The best way to go from basic theory as described in the very first post, to a more accomplished stage is to learn folk songs, basic simple folk songs on your own. Thye will show you how to get your fingers going from different inversions. A piano player is a self made (wo) man. It's not in this book or that, its what the individual has mastered. No one can do this for you. Basic travelling across the keyboard in differnt methods is also important, for example, once you hacve mastered all your scales and chords in root position, try block chords in inversions gonig up asnd down the keyboard, once that is flowing freely, then try spearing out the chords fro their root position and adding 6th and ninths, then non chordal tones. This takes a LOT of practice but when this is done, then you get that flexibility that you need as a pop pianist.
Also work on repertiore, instead of learing from a book, take a song you want to learn, figure out yourself what the notes are. Even if you figure out only the first eight bars you will learn much more than if you learn the whole song from a book. Your ear wil improve and as with everything, if you persist, the process of learning a song without music notation will begin to9 get second nature and even instant. That's what a good pop pianist can do.
Caveat: Yes there are elements from certain styles - blues, stride, ballad etc that one needs some familiarity with, learning say a Jerry Lee Lewis song from a book will do wonders for your boogie. But, its got to be yours- you must own it
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