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#1090814 - 06/27/04 08:35 PM Where do I go from here?
ltricks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Chesterfield, MI
Hello everyone thanks ahead for all the responses.

Ok first off, a list of my knowledge:

-I have a Korg Triton
-I'm thorough (sp) with all the keys including enharmonics
-I know how to form Maj, minor, dim, aug, (working on sus now) along with bass notes but I need a lot of work with the inversions.
-The circle of fifths is engraved in my brain, along with scales.
-I started off playing by ear which I think I'm very good at.
-I know how to read music, and how important the intervals are on sheet music.
-I've studied a little theory on my own, most of it was harmony.
-I can devote 8 to 10 hours a week to practice
-I just want to become proficient enough to play popular music (fake book stuff) to the point where when a sheet of music is placed in front of me, I can play it thoroughly within 2 to 3 days.
-I've never had a teacher.

So now let me start with the questions:

-I bought a book by Dan Coates "Popular Love Songs & Wedding Music" (labeled "Easy Piano")I play the notes fairly slowly while sight reading, and it takes me a heck of a long time to get up to speed. So I've started to practice sight reading on very, very simple stuff (Silent Night, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.). When I do practice sometimes I can predict the next key because I'm familiar with the song. Is it better to practice sight reading something you are not familiar with? And am I sight reading at the right level as far as the music I'm using?

-I need help with inversions. I know how they are formed but I need target practice. Does sight reading practice help?

-Sorry I have so much info. How do make my left hand operate without it trying to move every time I move operate my right? (I'm right handed)

-Okay last question. I know how to form the inversions of chords, but i need target practice. WHat is the best way to achieve it. Work with 3 or 4 chords a week? Sight reading? And is 8 to 10 hours a week enough time to practice?

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#1090815 - 06/27/04 09:06 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
mykinator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 87
What's your goal? Jazz? Classical training? Playing movie show tunes in front of friends?

Since you are without a teacher, I can't assume anything... need more info.

my 2 cents: learn some real music, not that "popular weddings music" stuff - unless that's where you want to take your musicianship - pick up a Bach inventions book or some Clementi sonatinas. At the same time this will boost your appreciation of classical and romantic composers.

Also I'm not sure what's up with learning chords and inversions and stuff. There is some merit to learning the major and minor scales and a bit of theory, but at some point it's time to focus on learning actual music.

P.S. Go Maize!! Go Blue!!

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#1090816 - 06/27/04 10:08 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
ltricks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Chesterfield, MI
My goal is popular music. I appreciate classical music, I listen to it every day when I leave work, but that's not what I'm interested in.

Basically I want to play Top 40 songs (Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Elton John, etc.) Then eventually get into jazz and blues, the foundation of music that I want to play.

As far as chords and inversions most popular music uses them.

I basically want to know how i can improve my sight reading skills, too.

I apologize if what I want to play is not considered "real" music to you, but to me it is.

Thanks for the reply.

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#1090817 - 06/27/04 10:13 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i agree with mykinator. playing a few Bach's inventions will definitely help you learning both music (theory or chords) and piano playing skills. it is much more benefitial to play some real good music than to play chords or scales alone.

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#1090818 - 06/27/04 10:20 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 2948
Loc: New York
Itricks - I am also learning a lot of fake book stuff, not classical, although with a teacher. You say you know chord inversions - does this include 11 and 13 chords? The next step would be chord voicing and voice leading, so that you can make the fake books schema sound real and put your own take on it. You might also practice some improv techniques with the blues progression. I love learning piano this way - ignore those who don't agree. The piano is your hobby. However, I would say it is really hard to learn jazz/blues/even Broadway without a teacher. So much of what you do is not written in the fake book.

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#1090819 - 06/27/04 11:06 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
ltricks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Chesterfield, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
i agree with mykinator. playing a few Bach's inventions will definitely help you learning both music (theory or chords) and piano playing skills. it is much more benefitial to play some real good music than to play chords or scales alone. [/b]
i'm not understanding. i do play music, that includes chords and i practice scales, i just want to learn how to improve my sight reading skills and if Bach's inventions helps I'll give it a swing.

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#1090820 - 06/27/04 11:12 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
ltricks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Chesterfield, MI
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
Itricks - I am also learning a lot of fake book stuff, not classical, although with a teacher. You say you know chord inversions - does this include 11 and 13 chords? The next step would be chord voicing and voice leading, so that you can make the fake books schema sound real and put your own take on it. You might also practice some improv techniques with the blues progression. I love learning piano this way - ignore those who don't agree. The piano is your hobby. However, I would say it is really hard to learn jazz/blues/even Broadway without a teacher. So much of what you do is not written in the fake book. [/b]
Thanks Jeff.I'm working on 11ths and 13ths now. When I search for a teacher should I tell them the level that I am at or should I start from scratch? Also, how do you improve your sight reading?

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#1090821 - 06/27/04 11:25 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
itricks, play whatever you want to, which does not evoke any objection from anyone here. you asked the questions, and we gave suggestions (if we are kind enough), good or bad, are all up to you to take or leave. as to if Bach's inventions help sight reading, the answer is YES.

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#1090822 - 06/27/04 11:27 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
JoeB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 671
Loc: Northern California
 Quote:
When I search for a teacher should I tell them the level that I am at or should I start from scratch?
Best to be completely honest with the teacher. You won't fool him/her for long. A good teacher will work with you to attain your goals, not some other idea of 'real music'. Sometimes this may requiring learning some techniques or pieces that don't appear to directly lead to your goals but, if your teacher is a good one, the skills you develop will be needed eventually.
_________________________
"How, Monsieur, you care not for music? You do not play the clavecin? I am sorry for you! You are indeed condemming yourself to a dull old age!" - Fouquet

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#1090823 - 06/28/04 01:19 AM Re: Where do I go from here?
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
Itrics, playing from a fake book is somewhat of a specialist skill with a learning curve that can be greatly shortened by finding a teacher that is very versed with this style of playing. I found it surprising that few teachers can play from fake books, and if they do, even fewer make them sound "professional".

I had to find a professional, performing musician of popular music in this endeavor. As you know, the fake book is the skeleton of the song, and to bring the music out, you will need to play mostly open chords, and depending on were the melody is will determine the chord voicing that you will use.

I've seen many self-taught players that use basically all left-hand block chords with the melody in the right hand, and they sound good. But when that is compared to someone using open 9th, 11th, 13th, rootless, and then using scalar and modal improvisation over those long one or two bar whole notes that you find on almost every song in a fake book, then your moving from playing something good enough as accompaniment to playing a piano solo piece. The things I've learned from having a professional show me, I have not found in any self-taught book, and I have many of those. Such a teacher is also invaluable in showing what you have to do to get the ďsoundĒ right for the genre. As a simple example, if itís gospel, you may very well want to use only block chords, but if itís jazz or blues, you may want to use rootless chords, but in the fake book the chord is listed the same regardless of the style of music.

So, if you can afford it, do go find yourself a teacher and tell them what you want to do. On the first meeting, they should ask you to play a few pieces to know where you are, and don't hesitant to ask them to play from a fake book. A good one will be able to pull much more music out then just the notes that are there. And donít be surprised that if you find a teacher that is everything you are looking for they will still have classical pieces as part of your lessons and training. Hope that helps some.

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#1090824 - 06/28/04 01:47 AM Re: Where do I go from here?
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#1090825 - 06/28/04 01:54 AM Re: Where do I go from here?
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
Itrics,

I second what Hububer said. I am about 2-3 weeks away from moving away from playing the block chords that we have been working on to a more professional way of playing chords, as Hububer describes. it will be very difficult but I am really looking forward to it. It is also true that there aren't many teachers that know how to teach this, I feel lucky to have found one. I know it will make a huge difference in my playing.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#1090826 - 06/29/04 07:36 PM Re: Where do I go from here?
ltricks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 6
Loc: Chesterfield, MI
It's amazing how much these forums help....Thanks alot guys. I really appreciate it.

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