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#2374884 01/18/15 01:04 AM
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noamb Offline OP
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Hello everybody,

I've been an amateur classical pianist for over thirty years. I've long known enough music theory that I can fake my way through a pop fake book by noodling on the chord symbols, but I've been wanting to take it to a level where I could eventually play lounges.

I started taking lessons again recently with the intention of getting to that level; I'm intentionally not studying classical music right now. I selected a pop piece. First my teacher had me transpose it to a key that is in my vocal range, and transcribe it into real book format. Then he told me to write out some right hand chord positions, leaving the root in the bass and adding in at least one chord extension, and practice it by playing each written chord in different inversions. Then he told me to write out, in each bar, what I could use as passing chords, and explicitly spell out the fingering I'll use. Then he told me to play around with different voicings in the bass.

I've certainly learned a lot from doing all of the above. But something's missing: I don't feel like I'm making music. I'm still playing from a lead sheet. Even my fingerings are pre-set, which makes me think that I can't deviate from the specific voicings and passing chords I've written out, since if I do I'll be stumbling through unknown fingerings. I feel like the old way I used to play pop pieces -- diving headlong into a real book and hoping I don't screw up too bad -- had more musicality and risky energy to it. I stopped studying classical music precisely because I wanted to get away from being score-bound.

When my teacher sits down and plays the same piece, of course, it's fantastic. He pulls together tons of things and I can't even tell where he gets it from. So clearly he's not full of s**t, but I feel like I'm slogging through quicksand.

Any suggestions?

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hi noamb, it takes a long time to get left hand voicings deep into your head and hands until they are automatic and instinctive. i would keep working on your voicings and play through a real book from beginning to end just playing your voicings in the lh with the melody in the right hand. once you can play a tune from sight i think things will feel more natural and musical.

hope this helps.


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noamb , how about the transcriptions? Here you can find something that can be perceived by ear :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9qybpUuYAQ

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Originally Posted by noamb

Even my fingerings are pre-set, which makes me think that I can't deviate from the specific voicings and passing chords I've written out,

Learn each of those chords in two or three different places (different inversions/voicings) on the keyboard.
Quote

I stopped studying classical music precisely because I wanted to get away from being score-bound.

Learn different voicings for a single chord. Do it for each of the chords in your song.
Quote

When my teacher sits down and plays the same piece, of course, it's fantastic. He pulls together tons of things and I can't even tell where he gets it from.

Usually when this happens it's because the pianist is familiar with:
(a) different ways of playing the same chord
(b) ways of reharmonizing passages of the tune

Get yourself a copy of "Play Piano by Ear" by Simon Schott. He teaches you how to play lounge piano on the standards. Gives you the building blocks, how you choose to put them together is up to you.

Last edited by Michael Martinez; 01/19/15 04:27 PM.

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