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#1136603 - 02/21/09 05:42 AM Anything for Dummies?
JJRT Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 3
So I've been reading through this forum for quite some time now and what I've really come to understand is that I'm pretty dumb.

I played various instruments in high school and can read music (basic treble and bass cleff stuff) but I can't tell a major from a minor (except in Baseball) and when people start talking about augmented this and suspended that and 5ths and 7ths and etc... Well, I have no idea what any of that means.

So, where to start? I'm interested in Billy Joel, Elton John type stuff and love the piano music that accompanies guys like James Taylor, Five for Fighting, etc. I've got a great memory and can memorize stuff pretty easily but I'd really like to learn how to play, not just memorize songs.

I'd love to hear what you guys recommend!

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1136604 - 02/21/09 01:51 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
Mocheol Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 527
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
You need to study basic music theory.

Its not difficult.

There are many books on the subject.

Better still ,select your fav instrument, find a good teacher, and get 10 lessons minimum.
_________________________
vcz

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#1136605 - 02/21/09 02:18 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Listen to the piano parts on records and learn them. Get some Billy Joel and Elton and just copy every record you can get your hands on - if you like to write it out, fine, but learn to play it just like on the record. Learn how to play it and then worry about what to call the chords, etc. It is easy to learn theory from a book, get mired in music theory and know a lot of theory but not be able to play a lick. Work on learning the tunes, just like on the records. It will help develop your ear, and you can always learn the theory, too. If you want to learn the theory, enroll in a jr college class - I bet there are no auditions. Johnny Winter, the blues guitarist brother of Edgar Winter always resisted learning too much theory because he thought it would screw up his playing. The best advice, of course, is to take lessons from a good teacher.
_________________________
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"
http://roadhouseallstars.com/

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1136606 - 02/21/09 02:28 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by daviel:
Johnny Winter, the blues guitarist brother of Edgar Winter always resisted learning too much theory because he thought it would screw up his playing. [/b]
Learning too much certainly didn't screw up Edgar's playing. Matter of fact, Edgar's musicianship is light years ahead of Johnny's, IMO.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1136607 - 02/21/09 03:31 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
JJRT,

Yes, sounds like some basic theory is what you're after. Start with learning to name the chord tones in major/minor triads. Then learn to play them on all inversions. Next move to Dominant 7th chords, then Major seventh chords, then minor seventh chords, etc. I've got some free lessons on forming chords on my website (see signature).

I also just came across this website which i think is great for learning/testing your theory:

http://www.musictheory.net/

What songs are you interested in learning by Billy Joel/Elton John? I've actually got two videos posted on my site also of Billy Joel songs: New York State of Mind and Shes Got a Way.

Is there a particular song you are working on right now that you have questions on? Happy to help if I can...
_________________________
Find Piano Lessons | Piano Teacher Advertising

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#1136608 - 02/21/09 04:20 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
JJRT Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 3
Thanks for the tips, especially JazzPianoEducator. I'll be spending some time on your site today. At the moment I don't have any specific songs I'm interested, I just enjoy the style of how they play and would like to learn more.

Many of you mentioned basic music theory (either for or against) and I'm wondering if you have any specifics on books or websites that might help with this (I'll check out musictheory.net for sure).

I don't have the option of a teacher or a Jr College right now because I live and work in Tokyo and don't speak enough Japanese to make either of these options feasible. As such, I'm pretty limited to books, videos, and the internet.

Thanks for the tips and I'd love to hear some more specifics!

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#1136609 - 02/21/09 04:46 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
JazzPianoEducator, +1! I stopped by your lessons site, and your rendition of NYState of Mind is excellent-very tasteful. I'd say JJRT could use a few of these lessons.
_________________________
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"
http://roadhouseallstars.com/

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1136610 - 02/21/09 06:17 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
JazzPianoEducator Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 203
Loc: Denver, CO
Thanks Daviel, it's one of my favorite Billy Joel songs and there's a lot you can do with it...

JJRT, I've got a couple of books I recommend on this page: http://www.lessonrating.com/piano-library-online-jazz-piano-lessons.html

Specifically the Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine which is a good one to learn theory in the context of jazz and improv...
_________________________
Find Piano Lessons | Piano Teacher Advertising

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#1136611 - 02/22/09 10:36 AM Re: Anything for Dummies?
Mikka Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/07
Posts: 27
Loc: UK
Some years ago, I started to draft out a sort of "Harmony for Dummies" series of lessons. Never really completed it, but it covers the basics. If you're interested and e-mail me at michaels.music@merseymail.com, I can send them along to you. It's in PDF format.

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#1136612 - 02/22/09 02:30 PM Re: Anything for Dummies?
delirium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/19/07
Posts: 23
with harmony you're supposed to be dummy, the more you study the farther your ear is from the truth.
Don't study - listen.

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