Should I rejoin Piano Magic ???

Posted by: Ragtime Clown

Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 11:40 AM

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Posted by: rocket88

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 03:02 PM

Ragtime, there are two issues in your post I would like to address.

First, a lot of sheet music for pop songs is not going to sound like the recordings. That is because the recordings were performed by professional musicians, with an orchestra or band backing them up. A solo piano at the hands of a relative beginner is not going to sound like the pros. Many people are disappointed with pop sheet music for that reason alone.

Also, sheet music is often over-simplified, so key parts of the arrangements are missing.

One remedy is to play classical pieces at your level, as they were originally written for the piano alone. They may be lacking some complexity, but will sound much more like the original.

Second, regarding playing from any music, you might be a person who learns more easily by ear rather than by music.

I have found that people generally fall into two categories, those who do well reading music, and those who do well playing by ear. (Keep in mind that it is not necessarily exclusively one or the other).

To see if you are stronger as a "ear" player, I would suggest learning some classical piano music at your level. By doing that, you will be playing music that was written for the piano, so it should sound like the original. If you can play that, then you have reading skills; choosing hard-to-duplicate pop pieces is what is tripping you up.

However, if things are relatively the same by reading/playing classical music, then you might consider learning how to "play by ear", which is a very different style of thinking, and set of skills.

Whichever way you are strongest in, it would be a mistake to stop learning how to read music, study theory, etc, because that can only help you. But don't do that exclusively....learn to play by ear, continue to study, and see where you are in a year or so.

ps...I don't work for the classical music publishers! In fact, I play blues and boogie-woogie professionally...Its just that students in the earlier stages of learning typically do quite well by playing classical as a training exercise. You can still practice pop pieces simultaneously.

Hope this helps.
Posted by: Astra

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 03:04 PM

Hi Ragtime Clown!

Looks like when you are at PM you are thinking about lessons, but when you are taking lessons you are thinking abou PM.

Maybe because neither of them is ideal for you?

The most important question you need to ask yourself is: What do I want to do most on piano?

From what I know about you I think you want to play pop/rock songs as recorded (please correct me if Im wrong).

If that indeed is your main goal then playing from sheet music isnt the best way, because, as you noticed, there is not alot of accurate sheet music available.

Is PM the best way to go then? Well, yes and no. YES because it will train your ear and youll be then able to use your good ears at transposing and NO, because it primarily teaches solo piano, which means playing everything, including melody, on piano, which is not how pop/rock pianists play, because they also sing and thats why they play differently (they usually dont play melody in right hand and they have usually less dynamic left hand than solo piano players)

So, what to do? The best way to learn your favorite pop and rock songs as recorded is to transpose them. Now, for that you need

a) good ear (so you can transform what you hear on piano)

b) good technique (so you are able to play it)

PM will be most helpful for a), and lessons will be most helpful for b).

Now go and try transposing some of your favorite tunes. You can use software like Amazing slow downer to slow down the recording, which is very helpful. As you do this notice if you need help at a) or b).

If you need help at a) rejoin PM, if you need help at b) continue with the lessons.

But, most imporant, keep transcribing! This way you will progress at both, a) and b). You can do this even without lessons or PM.
Posted by: Rosanna

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 03:08 PM

Astra,
Great analysis and excellent suggestion for Tony!
Posted by: Ragtime Clown

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 03:22 PM

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Posted by: angelojf

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 05:29 PM

Ragtime:

Have you thought about learning to play from a Fakebook either from you teacher or own your own?

With a fakebook, you don't have to play as written but you can use what's written as a stepping stone for your creativity...And you can play the songs that you enjoy...the way you want to play them...not just following what is written.

Perhaps playing from a fakebbok may help to integrate your interest in the sheetmusic printed stuff with your creativity?

Good Luck!
Posted by: TonyB

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 06:42 PM

Ragtime Clown:

Here is yet another approach...

Astra suggested transcribing from recordings. That is a really good idea. But here is an additional piece to add to that. Hal Leonard has a series of books called the "Note-For-Note Keyboard Transcriptions". There are currently 11 (I think) books in the series. These are note for note transcriptions in a variety of styles. For example, one book is devoted to Elton John, another to Billy Joel, another is pop piano ballads, two others are rock and pop, there are a couple of jazz books, etc.

My suggestion is that you pick one or more of these to use as REFERENCE. Then, you transcribe tunes that are in whichever of these books you picked (because tunes in them are ones you are motivated to learn), and then transcribe them by ear from recordings - and check your accuracy (or for hints when you are stuck) against the transcription in the book. These books will have ACCURATE transcriptions, rather than dumbed down versions that typical pop piano collections will have. These can provide you with how these artists really play.

Good luck,

Tony

P.S. I didn't address whether to go back to PM or not because I honestly don't know what is best for your specific needs. I do wish you all the best in your final decision though.
Posted by: TonyB

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/10/09 07:00 PM

Ragtime Clown:

One thing I forgot to mention is that pop music is often identified by its original recording (unless, on occasion, a cover version becomes more popular than the original). In the days of the standards, there were professional song writers and then there were performers. A song had to stand on its own because it would most likely be performed by any number of performers and in a variety of instrumental settings as well. But with rock and pop music, much of it is expected to sound "like the record" or it just doesn't sound right. There may be specific instrumentation (think of an orchestra playing "Purple Haze" or "Comfortably Numb", for example - it really doesn't work) or specific inflections and rhythms that make the song come alive in its original recording that would be very difficult to replicate in other settings.

Because of this, rather than a generic "play by ear" approach with a rather fixed set of left hand "dressings" such as one would do with PM, you really would need to learn the style of the performer. An Elton John tune, even one such as "Your Song" or Mark Cohn's "Walking In Memphis" (both of which are in these note for note books) really comes alive with the correct piano licks that define the song, rather than generic arpeggio s running under the melody. Such generic arpeggios are fine for things like the standards because those were written for a variety of settings, rather than being identified with a specific player's unique style.

It is for this reason that I see real value in Astra's recommendation of going straight to the recording, and my suggestion of using the noe for note collections as references (much like the answers in the back of the math book to check your work AFTER THE FACT). Treat this collection of books as a reference library, rather than as sheet music to sight read (though they could be used that way).

Regards,

Tony
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/11/09 12:23 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
Ragtime Clown:

Here is yet another approach...

Astra suggested transcribing from recordings. That is a really good idea. But here is an additional piece to add to that. Hal Leonard has a series of books called the "Note-For-Note Keyboard Transcriptions". There are currently 11 (I think) books in the series. These are note for note transcriptions in a variety of styles. For example, one book is devoted to Elton John, another to Billy Joel, another is pop piano ballads, two others are rock and pop, there are a couple of jazz books, etc.


Tony

[/b]
Thanks for that nugget of info on the transcription books. I'm going to order some right away from Amazon...
Posted by: Ragtime Clown

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/11/09 07:18 AM

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Posted by: TonyB

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/11/09 08:46 AM

Ragtime Clown:

We have exchanged some emails and discussed this issue over the past year or so. Based on those discussion, I think your conclusion is a very solid one. Different people have different learning styles and not everybody fits the standard mold of the tradition approach (or even a variant of that).

I wish you the best in your journey and look forward to hearing of your progress.

Tony
Posted by: Ragtime Clown

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/11/09 09:07 AM

Removed
Posted by: TTigg

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/11/09 10:15 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mark...:
[/qb]
Thanks for that nugget of info on the transcription books. I'm going to order some right away from Amazon... [/QB][/QUOTE]

I was going to do the same thing but checked first. The Billy Joel book I ordered recently is the very one from that series

Of course I've not even looked at it yet, gotta finish #2 first \:\)
- SC
Posted by: text

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/13/09 04:58 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by TonyB:
Ragtime Clown:

One thing I forgot to mention is that pop music is often identified by its original recording (unless, on occasion, a cover version becomes more popular than the original). In the days of the standards, there were professional song writers and then there were performers. A song had to stand on its own because it would most likely be performed by any number of performers and in a variety of instrumental settings as well. But with rock and pop music, much of it is expected to sound "like the record" or it just doesn't sound right. There may be specific instrumentation (think of an orchestra playing "Purple Haze" or "Comfortably Numb", for example - it really doesn't work) or specific inflections and rhythms that make the song come alive in its original recording that would be very difficult to replicate in other settings.

Because of this, rather than a generic "play by ear" approach with a rather fixed set of left hand "dressings" such as one would do with PM, you really would need to learn the style of the performer. An Elton John tune, even one such as "Your Song" or Mark Cohn's "Walking In Memphis" (both of which are in these note for note books) really comes alive with the correct piano licks that define the song, rather than generic arpeggio s running under the melody. Such generic arpeggios are fine for things like the standards because those were written for a variety of settings, rather than being identified with a specific player's unique style.

It is for this reason that I see real value in Astra's recommendation of going straight to the recording, and my suggestion of using the noe for note collections as references (much like the answers in the back of the math book to check your work AFTER THE FACT). Treat this collection of books as a reference library, rather than as sheet music to sight read (though they could be used that way).

Regards,

Tony [/b]
Tony

I think that is an excellent analysis and says it all really.

Personally I have no desire to sit down and reproduce an exact replication of a song and am glad I do not because I believe it can feed frustration with relative beginners who choose to play songs above their level. There is nothing wrong with trying something above your level but if you do you have to realise that it's unlikely to sound brilliant at first.

I liken learning to play the piano with learning to play golf, there are no real short cuts and you have to put practice in over time. With piano there is no substitute for time at the bench regardless of your learning method.

Imo you just have to try and have as much fun as you can along the way. \:\)

cheers


Text
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Should I rejoin Piano Magic ??? - 01/13/09 05:33 AM

I go with Tony's idea of studying the individual styles. I've got a Boogie record somewhere where a famous player goes through the styles of his predecessors talking over top as he plays. I'm sure plenty here will know the recording. It's fascinating, and fun.