Saturday, September 22, 2007

Challenging Chords?! Not!

The chords is the most interesting discovery for me. As beginners, we need to know the basic chords of C, F and G to be able to play simple happy songs. So in this lesson, I will specifically concentrate on this 3 major chords, and later, I'll try to find a way to insert a simple sheet music that you can try.

Ready?! Here goes, and remember this;
C - C E G
F - F A C
G - G B D
Got it? For chord C major, press key C, E and G simultaniously to create a C block chord. Same goes for F and G as above.

From the block chords, you can always play it differently according to your moods or the mood of the song you're playing.

Try this, instead of pressing all 3 keys at the same time, play C E G E one at a time. Try it! Its fun! Do the same with F and G.
C - C E G E
F - F A C A
G - G B D B

Practice this! And, did I mention that this chords are mainly played on your left hand? You can play on right hand too, but normally right hand is playing the melody. I'll come back with a simple sheet music so that you can play on both hands with melody and chords at the same time K.

Till next lesson, have a cheery day(s)!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Grand Staff

Playing by ear to me is so beautiful. Once you know the basic and the whys and the logic of the music, you can play almost any songs. You can play a new song almost instantly (with few exceptions) the minute you hear it without having to look for the music score. Playing without needing a musical sheet is so practical and impromptu.

Nevertheless, I find that it is always helpful to know how to read a note. As for me, I am still strugling with trying to read a musical note, and writing one. But it does help in some instances where you need ideas and new styles to learn from. Like trying to figure out how Richard Clayderman do the chorus on "Ballade pourAdeline". Ha ha . . .
If you're like me before, when a music score looks like Russian alphabets (no offense to the Russians, k), and sprouting bean sprouts, I'll include here a basic score writing chart that you can refer to as a beginner.

In a normal music score, there's a two set of lines called the Grand staff. The top is called the Treble clef, and the bottom is called the Base clef, as shown in the diagram below.

One of my favourite tips to read the notes are, for the Treble clef, try to memorize each lines as Every Good Boy Does Fine. Ie. E G B D F. In between lines, spell F A C E.
Base clef, for every lines, remember Great Big Dreams For America, ie. G B D F A and in between lines are All Cows Eat Grass => A C E G.
So what you need to do now is to take a piece of clean music sheet and fill out the lines as the above diagram. Then find one simple musical score, maybe from your kid's, and try to read and play the notes. (And maybe write on it...with a pencil, of course)
Hey, if you managed to try this, let's share, or anything else that I should include, just let me know ok. As I mentioned earlier, I am by no means an expert, but I'll share with you whatever I know here. Have a great lesson.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

C Major and A Minor

The first time when I was tested on my "natural talent" to gadge on my musical level for the Piano by Ear course, I was asked to hum the Happy Birthday song. I sang perfectly and not a key out of tune. (Of course since you've been singing the song at least more than 10 times a year). So, it was 'concluded' that I can enroll for the lessons since I do have some musical talent to follow their course.

So, if you can sing, or even hum in the right tune, you can actually learn to play any instruments, easier than those who don't. Nevertheless, I feel regardless of your 'level' of musical talent, everything can be learned, as long as you are interested and determined to master it. Ok, back to our lessons.

Lesson 2 - Scales
A scale is a set of notes for making music. It consists of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C or they can be sung as Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. This is called the C Major Scale. C Major scale is like a happy note. Most happy songs are played in this key. The C key is the first key shown on the image. On the piano keyboard, you will have 8 of this C keys. Each set of keys, eg. Cs to Cs is called an octave.

Then there's the sad note, called the Minor Scale. Minor scale starts with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A. A key is located on the 6th key on the image. Most love songs are played on Minor scales as it sounds melodious and sad.
Now, you can try to play your songs in both C Major Scale or Natural A Minor Scale.
Good luck!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can you hum a tune?

Finally, I get to sit and plan my first lesson! What a great feeling!

Lesson 1 - Can you hum a tune? Any tune...
It doesn't matter whether its your favourite song, your children's nursery rhymes, or even any catchy advertisement jingles.

Once you can hum it, try to remember it in your mind. Then start walking towards your piano and sit on the bench in front of it. Try transferring the hum on the keys. Go on... just try it. Got it? Bravo!

Then try another song. Try as many songs as you like. I assume you're using your right hand at the moment? That's right. One hand at a time.

Next lesson, I'll teach you about the different keys you can play. Till then.. cheers!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Want To Play Piano!

Dreaming to play my favourite songs on a piano was my life-long passion. I did not have the privilege to learn piano when I was young, let alone own one. Everytime I visited a house with a piano, I would just stare at it longingly, wishing I could play, or own one. However, I was lucky enough that my father was a school headmaster, and we lived in a school compound. Thus, I did have access to an old piano at the school hall at weekends. But because I never had any lessons, all I could play was just "Twinkle, twinkle little star" and "Happy Birthday", with only my right hand. That's about it...

But my dream to play piano never cease to exists. Even after all those years...

Finally, I was esctatic have a piano in my home a few years back. My dream instrument right before my very eyes! At my disposal, any time I want to play. So I started playing..... with one hand only. Haha.. But I still enjoyed it. And hey presto! I can play quite a number of songs, with one hand, my precious rightie.

Then I start buying adult self learning piano books. Learn a few tips and songs here and there. I even bought Piano for Dummies. I had fun!

But the real fun begin when I took a Play Piano by Ear course. Its a 5-level course, but I opted to to complete 2 levels, enough for me to be able to play my favourite songs, which are mainly the popular sentimental songs from 'You're My Everything' by Santa Esmeralda to 'Hurt' by Christina Aguillera.

So, Dreams do come true.

I start this blog to share some tips on how to play piano by ear, using the simplest method. Feel free to write in and ask any questions regarding this technique. I am by no means an expert in this field, but I will share with you whatever I can and know about this subject. I know about this dream to play, and if you have one, let's share.