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#1227677 - 07/06/09 10:22 AM "plan" for teaching chords?
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
I have a student that wants to be able to play along with a trumpet. Just chords mostly, for accompaniment.

Is there some kind of curriculum to this type of teaching/learning?
He already knows the basic chords (he's been with me about 6 months), with their variances.

It seems a bit like teaching him to play by ear but I don't know how to do that.

Suggestions? Websites?
Thanks all
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Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1227698 - 07/06/09 11:23 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Does your student have the sheet music for the trumpet pieces he/she wants to play along to?
If so, it should be fairly easy to work out the chords/progressions, needed to accompany the music.

If he/she wants to play along to a recording, the the first thing is to identify the key the piece is in, and experiment with the common chords for that key, by listening for 'root notes'

This topic interests me, as I have a guitar student, who I have taught to read notation, and guitar tablature, so she is quite proficient in her reading, but these days, her lessons consist of her playing me a song which she has on her computer, and I work out the key, tuning, and chords needed. The songs are mostly by obscure bands, so no tablature, or chord sheets exist, as yet.

I am trying to teach her to work out the chords on her own, to work out the key signature, listen for a non-standard guitar tuning, but most importantly, to listen for the bass line, which usually gives the best clues to the required chords.

I realise that accompanying a single trumpet, must be more difficult, but all I can advise, is for the student to listen, listen, and, did I say listen? to the music, and experiment until the piano chords sound right. It is the only way to develop the ear,IMHO.
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#1227712 - 07/06/09 12:13 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: R0B]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Simply finding chords that harmonize should be easy.

Finding chords with a progression that makes sense for some particular style would be more involved.

I imagine you already have him playing slow scales in the right hand and fitting chords to it with the left? Starting with the easy close position I, IV, and V7?

Then eventually the trumpet will play the melody, the right hand chords, and the left hand a nice thumping bass line? (depending on the genre, of course)
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#1227801 - 07/06/09 03:58 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Don't know if this is true with the trumpet student's books, I know the beginning clarinet method I use with my clarinet students has the chords named in concert pitch for another instrument.

Meri
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#1227802 - 07/06/09 04:03 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: musiclady]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: musiclady
Don't know if this is true with the trumpet student's books, I know the beginning clarinet method I use with my clarinet students has the chords named in concert pitch for another instrument.

Meri


I'm not sure what you mean? Because the clarinet isn't a C instrument you mean? I know the trumpet is a Bb instrument, so we will have to do a lot of transposing of chords too.
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#1227805 - 07/06/09 04:13 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
The chords in the method book are written in concert pitch, and the pieces is witten a whole step higher (to compensate for the fact that clarinets and trumpets are mostly in Bb) so as to be able to play with the piano. So if a D major scale were written for the clarinet or trumpet, the piano would have a C major scale or chord.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#1228037 - 07/07/09 09:24 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
[
I know the trumpet is a Bb instrument, so we will have to do a lot of transposing of chords too.


Just to be precise: trumpet music is Bb sheet music. The instrument has a fundamental in Bb, but that doesn't matter. The trombone does too, but trombone music is largely C music. (though not always G treble clef)

Anyway, most trumpet books of popular tunes I've seen have the trumpet line in Bb and the piano accompaniment and/or guitar chords in C. Usually you don't have to transpose.

Nor do you have to do a "lot" of transposing of chords. Beginning trumpeters are not 12 key performers. Common band keys will likely be mostly Bb with some F or Eb. Start with those keys.
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#1228131 - 07/07/09 01:57 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: TimR
Nor do you have to do a "lot" of transposing of chords. Beginning trumpeters are not 12 key performers. Common band keys will likely be mostly Bb with some F or Eb. Start with those keys.


When there is a trumpet book there won't be transposing, but he wants to be able to play along with a trumpet that is playing from his piano music. The trumpeter is not a beginner.
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1228196 - 07/07/09 04:05 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
Originally Posted By: TimR
Nor do you have to do a "lot" of transposing of chords. Beginning trumpeters are not 12 key performers. Common band keys will likely be mostly Bb with some F or Eb. Start with those keys.


When there is a trumpet book there won't be transposing, but he wants to be able to play along with a trumpet that is playing from his piano music. The trumpeter is not a beginner.





I see that I have somehow offended E&I, and she is now punishing me by dribbling out information in the smallest possible chunks. <humor>

So I will speculate a little.

If the trumpeter were playing classical concertos, the music would be there. And unplayably hard.

If the trumpeter were playing jazz improvisations, there might be no sheet music. But it would still be unplayably hard.

That leaves two obvious cases.

The trumpeter is playing from a fake book, lead sheet style. If so, the chords are there, but playing from lead sheets does have to be practiced. Fake books come in C and Bb, but the chords are always in C.

The trumpeter is playing familiar popular melodies without a fake book.

That generates two obvious approaches.

Buy a fakebook for the trumpeter.

Or, learn to play fakebook style by ear. (these two are not mutually exclusive, one can use the fakebook approach as a learning step)

Since doing this in real time speeds learning enormously, you might want to consider playing keyboards for something like a praise and worship band, if that suits your religious preferences. You can make that as simple or complex as you want. My daughter played guitar with us once. On one song the D chord was the only one she could play - she just played that chord every time it came up. People with quicker fingers played them all.
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#1228206 - 07/07/09 04:24 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: TimR
I see that I have somehow offended E&I, and she is now punishing me by dribbling out information in the smallest possible chunks. <humor>


Tim, Tim, Tim sigh wink just kidding...
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to dribble on you. wink

Here's the thing, his brother is in a school band. They want to play stuff together. Brother doesn't have any trumpet books, but pianist has lots.

Pair trumpet player and pianist with [Harry Potter, Christmas Songs, Flintstones] that is written for piano.

I can't teach trumpet player to transpose cuz he's not my student. I want to teach piano player to play HIS piano music, but the trumpeter will be playing the piano notes on the sheet music, so pianist must play differently.

Enough info for ya?!! lol smile
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It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1228237 - 07/07/09 06:07 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Trumpet players can read any melody written for piano so long as the melody is within trumpet range and in treble clef.

(Piano music is not usually in a good key for beginning players.)

BUT

The notes must be transposed up a whole step. When using piano music, the problem is for the trumpet player. If he (or she) does not know how to transpose, someone has to explain.

In such a situation I just transpose a melody that will work for a couple people who want to play together. It's really elementary. smile


Edited by Gary D. (07/07/09 06:07 PM)
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#1228356 - 07/07/09 10:54 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory


Pair trumpet player and pianist with [Harry Potter, Christmas Songs, Flintstones] that is written for piano.

Enough info for ya?!! lol smile


Ah! Light bulb goes off.

Yes. I'm not expert at this, but I used to see it pretty frequently when I got stuck running a P&W band. We always moved to the guitar keys because they couldn't move to ours.

The solution is simple but expensive. You need to go to a good office supply store. Buy a mechanical pencil, it must be .9 mm. (that's why you need a good store) Throw away the 2H lead that comes with and buy some B. (that's the other reason you need a good store) Now you're into about $3 of investment. What the keck, drop another $8 and buy one of those battery operated erasers, they're really cool.

Then look at the music and just write in chord letters. I've done this for the guitars lots of times and you know way more than me about theory. Just use the chord letter - but coach him a bit on close position chord changes, and simplify it down to be easily playable.

He'll start with quarter or half note strumming, probably proceed to at least arpeggios or even alberti bass accompaniment as he gets used to it.
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#1228460 - 07/08/09 08:21 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
Ebony and Ivory Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/05
Posts: 1179
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: TimR
The solution is simple but expensive.


Have you forgotten what I do for a living? wink

Thanks Tim smile
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Professional private piano teacher since 1994.

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#1228481 - 07/08/09 09:33 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Gary, what key signatures (concert pitch view) would be the best fit for players who are still students of these 2 instruments? E&I, is your beginner student still limited to a few keys? Which?

E&I: It seems that you first need to know what the brother can do. Essentially he wants to play the melody of simple music that appears in piano music in the treble clef. Is that right? Does he know how to transpose mentally, so that if he sees C major he will play it in (Bb trumpet) D major and mentally raise each note a maj2? Could the kids take the piano music to something like Sibelius, punch in the treble notes, and have Sibelius transpose it into instant trumpet music (score written in key for Bb instrument)? Could the band teacher give the trumpet student advice - it's a learning opportunity? Even - might the music dept. in the school have such software.

When you have simple beginner music, doesn't it already consist of mostly chords and a melody? So does the difficulty actually revolve around the trumpet (+ unknowns)?

We had a couple of cross-adventures where two instruments and family members were involved. It became a learning opportunity esp. for theory. We also had occasions where things went back and forth between school and private teacher and sometimes the student was getting something from the music department, the classroom teacher, and the private teacher. So does the private teacher have to do it all?

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#1228780 - 07/09/09 12:08 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Gary, what key signatures (concert pitch view) would be the best fit for players who are still students of these 2 instruments? E&I, is your beginner student still limited to a few keys? Which?

There really isn't a great fit for students unless the pianist can play in a key like Bb or Eb or F.

But D (concert C) is not terrible for a trumpet player, not at all. It's not the best, because the low C#, for instance, is the most out-of-tune note on the trumpet, and low D is a close second. This is why there is third valve slide on better trumpets, to tune these notes.

The biggest problem for a young trumpet player will be range. Or one of the biggest problems. Lots of things by composers like John Williams are UN-friendly to soloists because Williams writes for full orchestra most of the time and is not much concerned (for that reason) about staying in the range of any one instrument.
Quote:

E&I: It seems that you first need to know what the brother can do. Essentially he wants to play the melody of simple music that appears in piano music in the treble clef. Is that right? Does he know how to transpose mentally, so that if he sees C major he will play it in (Bb trumpet) D major and mentally raise each note a maj2?

That's outside the ability of most young players. A player good enough to transpose concert pitch music up a step, at sight or even with a bit of work, is likely to be pretty advanced.
Quote:

When you have simple beginner music, doesn't it already consist of mostly chords and a melody? So does the difficulty actually revolve around the trumpet (+ unknowns)?

There are two separate problems. Sometimes a trumpet player will come in with a melody written for him (or her), the the pianist has to figure out how to transpose it down a step AND fill in chords. Or mentally figure out what the melody would be in the concert key, and then what chords would be appropriate.

The opposite is actually easier. If you start with something for piano, you can let the pianist just go with that and transpose the melody up a step. That is elementary in any notation software program, but not all people have one.
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#1228834 - 07/09/09 07:31 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Gary D.]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11848
Loc: Canada
Thanks for the feedback, Gary. It seems that it is not as straightforward and easy as the young people had imagined it.

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#1229012 - 07/09/09 04:30 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Thanks for the feedback, Gary. It seems that it is not as straightforward and easy as the young people had imagined it.


Or it really is, and we're making it too complicated.

Simplify it way down.

The trumpet player is to restrict himself to one key, C (for him, which is Bb for us).

The trumpet player is to start playing only Christmas carols. (nursery rhymes, name your poison)

The piano player is to confine himself to I, IV, and V7 in the key of Bb. That would be Bb, Eb, F. Do these in close position inversions.

The piano player is to do these by ear. Listen to the trumpet, play what fits. If it sounds wrong, change it. He is to do this at tempo in real time. No cheating by slowing down the tempo - cheat by playing whole note chords if you have to, but NEVER slow down.

Ideal would be a 32 bar blues in the standard I-IV-I-V-I-IV-V-I. But I don't know what common tunes would fit.

After he's comfortable with steady quarter note repeated chords, start doing left hand root-fifth on the beat, right hand triad afterbeat. That should work with the easy stuff.

Well, it might work! Who knows? Seriously, kids used to play by ear on most instruments, they still learn to play guitar by ear precisely this way, why not on piano? Maybe if we didn't tell them how hard it was, they would find it easy?
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#1229075 - 07/09/09 07:22 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Ebony and Ivory
Originally Posted By: TimR
I see that I have somehow offended E&I, and she is now punishing me by dribbling out information in the smallest possible chunks. <humor>


Tim, Tim, Tim sigh wink just kidding...
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to dribble on you. wink

Here's the thing, his brother is in a school band. They want to play stuff together. Brother doesn't have any trumpet books, but pianist has lots.

Pair trumpet player and pianist with [Harry Potter, Christmas Songs, Flintstones] that is written for piano.

I can't teach trumpet player to transpose cuz he's not my student. I want to teach piano player to play HIS piano music, but the trumpeter will be playing the piano notes on the sheet music, so pianist must play differently.

Enough info for ya?!! lol smile


By "written for piano" I'm assuming it doesn't have chord symbols in it already, huh?

Start with the stuff with the most basic accompaniments (basic chords and changes) and (if the kid knows enough theory...if not you'll have to help) have him work out the chords (not A, Bb and F, but I, IV and V). Once he has the chord symbols (maybe not for every note, but for enough of it to sound good), all he has to do is know the corresponding chord in the key the trumpet is playing in.


Edited by ProdigalPianist (07/09/09 07:22 PM)
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#1229141 - 07/09/09 09:46 PM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: TimR


Simplify it way down.

The trumpet player is to restrict himself to one key, C (for him, which is Bb for us).

The trumpet player is to start playing only Christmas carols. (nursery rhymes, name your poison)

The piano player is to confine himself to I, IV, and V7 in the key of Bb. That would be Bb, Eb, F. Do these in close position inversions.

The piano player is to do these by ear. Listen to the trumpet, play what fits. If it sounds wrong, change it. He is to do this at tempo in real time. No cheating by slowing down the tempo - cheat by playing whole note chords if you have to, but NEVER slow down.

Ideal would be a 32 bar blues in the standard I-IV-I-V-I-IV-V-I. But I don't know what common tunes would fit.

There are a lot of tunes that work this way. The key for the trumpet must be determined by high and low note.

Christmas carols are good. But three chords won't always do it. If you put Jingle Bells in Bb, C for trumpet, piano has to play Bb, Eb, F but also C.

I IV V and V/V. If a young student can handle Bb and Eb chords, F and C are automatic. It doesn't have to remain an ear thing either. No reason not to notate the chords, pop notation, just the changes, even with words.

The difficulty would be for the students, understanding what needs to be done, and how. For the teacher it should be easy.
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#1229385 - 07/10/09 09:29 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
[quote=Gary D It doesn't have to remain an ear thing either. No reason not to notate the chords, pop notation, just the changes, even with words.

The difficulty would be for the students, understanding what needs to be done, and how. For the teacher it should be easy. [/quote]

What I was thinking, and could be totally wrong, is that for a student it might be much easier and more direct to play it by ear. For a teacher who always knows what degree of the scale the melody is on, and always knows all possible chords that would fit, notating should be easier. But for a beginner, playing by ear might be easy, and knowing enough theory impossible.

I tried it last night. Mary had a, Row row row, Twinkle twinkle, Three blind mice. Just three chords (mostly just I and V7) while I sang the tunes. For me it took more effort to just listen than to know where I was in the scale. But that's an extra intellectual step that I suspect is unnecessary when just playing, especially for the student.
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#1229960 - 07/11/09 08:55 AM Re: "plan" for teaching chords? [Re: TimR]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
I had another thought.

Beginners on guitar are shown three chords. Often these would be D, G, A7. They are not told these are the I, IV, and V7 chords, they aren't taught degrees of the scale or solfege. They are just told these chords fit with your first song.

The difficulty for them is moving their fingers quickly and accurately from chord to chord, and while they're working on that they are playing songs at tempo, in real time. Without being told how or why, they learn what chords fit under a melody.

This method works. Everybody who picks up a guitar learns to play music at this level, by ear, in a couple of easy keys very quickly. Some of course go on to learn many more chords and voicings, theory, melodic playing, etc. But piano already teaches that stuff - what E&Is student wanted was precisely what guitar beginners start with.
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