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New Age Piano...

Posted By: Sandra M

New Age Piano... - 01/12/13 02:27 AM

Hello and yes I am a lady and elder at that. So why am I here? I love composing and as a hobby I compose New Age piano solo music. Always love minor chords and now exploring 2 and 4 Suspend chords. Next polytonal as I read this used by many New Age composers. Input please as to how I can improve? Sandra M
Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/12/13 03:33 PM

Immersion is a good way to force a person to write more. Writing more will almost surely lead to a big improvement, especially if a person has never done that before. The next big Internet event is in February, write an album in a month. It is a community. Most participants are guitar playing singer-songwriters. However, there are more than a few instrumentalists and other kinds of songwriters and composers. It is also a good place to find collaborators and to get exposed to a lot of creative people.


The subconscious mind is powerful. If a person joins a group where everyone sets a goal of writing and recording 12 to 18 works in one month, the subconscious mind can take a person there. Yes, I know it seems impossible for most, or unpleasant to think about churning out that kind of output. And yes, there will almost always be some low quality work in the mix. The other side of this is the ratio of "good work" usually remains near constant. So more output means more good work.

I will again point to Bach, who had a job where he was expected to compose, transcribe with primitive equipment, and have rehearsed with the musicians, 25 minutes of new music every week.

A similar immersion group is what jump started me as a songwriter. My participation in 50 songs in 90 days, took me from writing one song a year, only when inspired, to writing 25 songs in 2 months. Like others reading this, I thought it impossible before I tried it. Really I had no intention of writing so much, I just was curious what others were writing. Once I joined, the creative juices started flowing. Setting aside blocks of time every day were another key.

Other things a person can do are to take music appreciation, music history courses. There are also music theory, and composition courses and books as well. Some are online, some are at local schools. Each person will find varying value in the books and courses. Personally, I favor music appreciation and history. The theory usually gets too heavy into jargon (which makes my eyes glaze over), and composition too heavy into sheet music (where I am at a first grade level or below so can not follow the discussion).

The analogy I use is that studying will give a person more vocabulary, but the act of writing will improve a person's writing skills. There is a balance in there, especially for novices. However, most would-be songwriters and composers would do well to write more and study less.

/edit to add:
For those interested in courses, here are two that I have done. The first is a free course focused on classical music appreciation:

The second is a multipart (like 20 parts) 10 minute per segment, series on Youtube. I believe it was broadcast on PBS and/or BBC. The link is to Part 1 of How Rhythm Works
Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/13/13 03:18 PM

I found a Youtube video from a man named Torley on how to play romantic piano music. What he calls romantic, many would call New Age. Torley deconstructs some Yanni, Glass, and Tiersan pieces, and then teaches some simple parts for a person to use in their own compositions. For the theory folks there are trills, austenatos, octave chords, something he calls a pirouette (four note closed arpeggio).


I found it very interesting. There are some simple tips, but even more valuable is the process of deconstruction and learning from popular pieces that a person might admire.

Good luck on your journey Sandra. I read some of your other posts and look forward to hearing some of your music. On the beginners forum, there is the monthly Piano Bar, and the quarterly recital. Here on the composer's forum there is the monthly thread for sharing new work.
Posted By: Sandra M

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/13/13 09:04 PM

SandTiger... A huge THANK YOU... Cannot wait to hear your music later tonight. ADDED AFTER HEARING YOUR MUSIC... I did listen to your music and I must say to be self taught you are exceptional. I hear much talent. My piano teacher told me if someone is talented it never goes anywhere. So no matter what age it will come through as yours does. Thank you again so much for all your great information and sharing your talent with us too. Sandra M
Posted By: LoPresti

New Age Piano... - 01/14/13 06:50 AM

Originally Posted by Sandra M
. . . So why am I here? I love composing and as a hobby I compose New Age piano solo music.

So, Sandra,

If you are ready, I think it is time for you to post the score from one of your compositions, so we can see how you are working.
Posted By: Sandra M

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/14/13 01:06 PM

Hello, I love discussing composition and learning more than performing at this time. I will share with you later but now I am wanting to learn from all of you. Sandra M
Posted By: LoPresti

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/14/13 08:24 PM

Originally Posted by Sandra M
. . . I love discussing composition and learning more than performing at this time. I will share with you later but now I am wanting to learn from all of you.

Sort of like Harvey Keitel in the movie THE PIANO:
Originally Posted by Harvey Keitel on playing the piano
I want to learn by watching . . .

Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/19/13 06:58 PM

Here's another YouTube:


Bill Hilton on what he calls an Advanced Comping Exercise for Ballads. It says advanced, but some of the techniques covered are easy enough for beginner composers and pianists. It says Ballads, but again, the techniques can be adopted and modified.

Hilton talks about rocking split chords, and then moves on to coloring chords with suspended 2nds and 4ths. He uses offset rhythms and simple one note and two note left hand harmonies while playing the rocking or colored chords on the right hand.

I have no connection with any of the Youtube links or lesson links that I have referenced. I am sharing part of my journey and some things I might find interesting or useful.
Posted By: Sandra M

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/19/13 07:18 PM

Sand Tiger... Thank you and I made a note in my journal and will look up Bill Hilon now with the comping exercises for ballards... Comping for a singer was my next piano project. This is great information and thank you again. Sandra M
Posted By: Justplay

Re: New Age Piano... - 01/21/13 02:05 PM

Oh this is awesome!! It would be so cool if Piano World had a "New Age" Forum. Thanks for all this info!
Posted By: Sand Tiger

Re: New Age Piano... - 02/17/13 02:24 AM

Susan Capestro demonstrates a New Age Improvisation in D flat major:


I put this lesson to immediate use and recorded two minutes of meditation music, Casio PX-150 on Vibraphone:

This upload also fits in with my recent theme of a Pentatonic scale on the black keys only. I have tried to play meditation music in the past, and found it to be elusive.
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