Piano for All - My #1 Recommendation

It's never been easier to learn Piano or Keyboard

Imagine being able to sit down at a piano and just PLAY - Pop, Blues, Jazz, Ragtime, Ballads, even incredible Classical pieces? Now you can.. and you can do it in months not years! Imagine you could learn piano or keyboard without having to spend money, time and effort on traditional Piano Lessons.

I've studied allot of different piano courses in my time and I have to say, not all of them where equally valuable. Granted most course can teach you few decent things but what most people need is a clear structure and focus to keep them on track. Improvement comes a little bit at a time so with a good structure, small new abilities build upon one and other to demonstrate real improvement. Without this direction students often find themselves frustrated at seemingly not making any progress. This is a very common trap and new players will often put it down to such myths as "I have no talent" or "I'm not musical", which of course is never true. As a professional musician and teacher you can trust me when I say, "I know the feeling". On the other hand nothing beats what it feels like when you get on track and start making real improvement.

You can stop worrying about trying to learn and actually start enjoying the music that your creating.

'Piano for all' is one such product that provides a really good direction for any student wanting to play contemporary piano styles. What it does exceptionally well is to lay down a really solid ground work and methodology of piano playing which is invaluable to a wide range of styles. It then goes on to progressively become more advanced, guiding you through a range of piano styles and techniques, building a strong foundation in a range of styles which will have you sounding like a pretty professional musician in surprisingly little time.

Piano for all teaches you the right stuff in the right order.

Using a unique combination of video, text and audio, all accessible from a single e-book, 'piano for all' is easy to use, a lot of fun and will have you playing real music in no time. The 'piano for all' complete course actually gives you 10 multi media e-books, each of which could very well be sold for the same price individually.

The 'Piano for all' Process is simple...

You start with Popular Chord based Rhythm Style Piano (think of artists like Elton John, Billy Joel, Lennon & McCartney, Barry Mannilow, Lionel Ritchie, Coldplay, Norah Jones and so on) which is EASY but sounds amazingly like the 'real thing'. This enables you to achieve a professional sound almost immediately. Once you are sounding great and having a whole lot of fun (which motivates you to learn more) you then expand step-by-step on your chord and rhythm knowledge into Blues, Ballad style, Jazz, Ragtime, Improvisation and yes.. even Sight Reading Classical music

At the moment the 'piano for all' course is also an absolute bargain. For only $39.95 he is giving away his entire collection of multi media e-books, inclusive of 200 videos, 500 audio tracks and a bonus e-book increasing your creative ability. He could easily be selling each book for around that much (many people do), the equivalent would barley cover the coast of two lessons with a private piano teacher. I highly recommend this course but obviously everyone is different. This product is offered with a 100% 60 days money back guarantee. It is defiantly worth checking out so to see more click here.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Playing funky piano - a few thoughts.

Funky piano styles is one of those things that when we hear someone doing it well we think wow! I really wish I could do that. Often however it seems fast and complex, making it hard to understand specifically what the pianist is doing and it can seem quite intimidating to attempt. The truth is the key to sounding funky is not dependent on you playing fast and complex stuff. In fact if you haven't developed a good sense of rhythm and applied it to more minimal playing, not matter how fast or complex you play, your not going to sound funky. Developing a good sense of rhythm can take a little time but the good news is, if you find your self digging those funky styles, you definitely have it in you to play funky yourself.

In my mind there are three main areas that people can address if they want to start sounding funky. The first and most important is your sense of rhythm. Early on it can almost seem intangible. It is so common to hear people say I have no sense of rhythm. (almost as common as I'm not musical which is also completely untrue). People who respond to rhythmic music and enjoy it, definitely have the potential to play with great rhythm themselves. However this does need practice. so what can we do....

1- Your probably already doing this but an essential thing to do is to listen to the music that you want to play. This is actually incredibly important for all styles of music. Even music that is less obviously rhythmic has a unique feel that you must get to be able to sound like it. When listening to funky music though, try and participate in someway. By this I mean click your fingers, dance, get a shaker and play along to it. Play along on the piano, however simple the part (in fact at first keeping a simple but solid part can be better).

2- Practice with a metronome/drum track. Now this one can be a little controversial. Playing with a metronome with 4 clicks to a bar can leave everything sounding rigid and soulless. What jazz players do however is to the metronome to half time and then play against it  so the clicks land on beat 2 and 4. This  really helps playing with a swing feel but even if your playing straight it allows your a little more freedom  to develop a feel whilst still keeping you in time. Something to note though, allot of people find playing to a metronome very hard at first. If this is so for you, you will need to play simple patterns or even just tap along with it playing a regular 4 beats per bar. If you can't do this first you won't be able to play against 2 and 4 nor will you be able to play correctly against a drum track. The good news is that once you get over the initial hurdle of playing simple against a metronome, things get easier very quickly and the benefits are so worth it.

3- Listen to your self and/or record your self. Yes, it is surprising how few people really listen to themselves whilst there playing. This also can be quite tricky at first, try doing it whilst playing something that your already pretty solid on, even just the awareness that you should be trying to listen to what's being played (by you) should help you get more in touch with your sound. You can also record your self and listen to it back. I would really recommend doing both to be honest. Every musician should always be listening to what he's playing but recording oneself is also a great if excruciating test. Yes it can be painful at first but please don't let that discourage you. You need to hear yourself play but the very moment that your hearing all the little imperfections, you'll already be well on the way to fixing them and as a result start sounding allot better.

4- Play with other musicians. If you can this is a fantastic thing to do. Playing with musicians better than your self obviously can do wonders, if you have the opportunity to do so. One way is to find jam sessions and go along and participate in some small way. If you don't feel ready to sit in on the piano, go along and play the tambouring or a shaker. Playing with other musicians your level is equally important however. Even if your a fairly amateur player, whilst plying with other beginners isn't going to sort out your rhythm on it's own, it is going to add a whole new dimension to your playing and musician ship. Fell and such other elusive things and musical communication and spontaneity a really benefited in a way that no amount of solo practice can address.

Developing feel is by far the most important and in a subtle way challenging aspect of sounding funky however I did I'd mention a couple other things to focus on. Working on your left hand baselines and gaining some understanding of the patterns and chord shapes that funky players use. These are both really just logistical things and are a bit simpler to deal with. There are loads of innovations in what to use when getting a funky sound. However pianists are often trying to find something a bit punchy so they can be percussive with it. I often thing of these things as the power-chords of the piano. Power-chord on the guitar are just 5th intervals played in parallel. Funky piano often place fourths and fifths strategically in there patterns in places where they want to add accents. Also commonly used are 7#9 chords (eg C7#9 voicing, left hand is already playing the C, right hand can play E, Bb, Eb, spread out like this it sounds very punchy). Another classic is the fourth chord. This is essentially just two fourth intervals stacked upon one and other (eg C,F,Bb). The use of such chords warrants a tutorial in it's own right but these have a great punchy sound and are commonly moved around in parallel quite freely, even non diatonically. There are of course plenty more shapes that can be used but this tutorial will ahve to suffice with this for now.

I mention left hand practice because people tend to shy away form it and yet it's such an important element in many funky piano styles. Some technical practice playing scales and arpeggios is important although I won't go into the finer details of such things here today. However also learning to play baselines in the left hand. Track down a book of funk or jazz or blues bass lines and just spend some time  playing through them with the left hand (always whilst practicing your feel). You will soon see the benefit and start seeing how to incorporate them. A couple of starter tips on how to construct your own left hand bass parts is to find your self some chord progressions (4 bars, 8 bars long) and use them for practice. Lean to play the bass notes only, learn to to walk in octaves (playing notes on beats 1 and 3), learn to add in the 5th as another options. Another common move is to approach  the new chord by a semitone above or below. Here's a video that plays out some of these basics. Just remember the technique and principals although applied to jazz blues here, can be used and modified for most funky piano styles. This is just something I stumbled upon a while ago but I think this guy lays it out really well. Here's the first in the series but you can find the rest on his channel.

Hopeful you have found some of this useful. Above all, make sure your having fun with it and stay reassured when stuff seems hard. These things can take time but it's definitely worth it when you get there.