Top 10 Ways to Learn to Play Piano

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By studying the piano, a student meets a myriad piano styles. To master the instrument, at least several of these styles are taught, and all if possible. Knowledge of various playing styles enables a pianist to enjoy and play in any genre, and to cross-polinate styles to create a fusion he or she can call her own.
Many modern piano styles based on blues. The blues mean a focus on the major and minor pentatonic scales, with an additional note included. The flat fifth is added to the minor pentatonic blues scale to create. Many blues songs are based on a simple chord progression, known as the 12-bar blues. This uses I, IV and V chords of a scale to create a foundation for melodies and solos.
For example, rock piano was born out of blues and then took on a life of its own in the stylings of Jerry Lee Lewis, Michael McDonald, Elton John, Billy Joel, and many others.
Cocktail piano is a style usually associated with Liberace, Eddy Duchin, Roger Williams and others who play popular tunes with lots of great technique – lots of notes, runs, flourishes, and so on. But I hate to catagorize and of these great pianists, many of them play in other styles as well.
Boogie-woogie is a piano style based on the blues. It started as a solo piano style, but has expanded into other genres, such as county-western and gospel. It differs from the blues in that it is considered dance music, while blues music traditionally expresses sadness and frustration.
Rhythm and blues piano is based on blues, jazz and gospel styles. As the name suggests, the emphasis on the rhythm of the song. Top R & B has a special swing to it, with a strong sense of syncopation in the rhythm. Syncopation involves placing stress on a normally unstressed beat. This often results in an almost off-time feel to the untrained ear.
Ragtime piano also incorporates syncopation. Ragtime uses syncopation in its melodies by putting the melodic notes between the stressed beats of the rhythm. Ragtime is often considered the first completely American genre, even predating jazz.
Jazz piano encompasses such a wide palate of styles that it is impossible to describe. Many piano styles incorporate ideas borrowed from jazz, including improvisation. An emphasis on extended chord forms and chord re-harmonization also stems from jazz piano.
New age piano often involves less chord changes than other styles, instead relying on simple progressions and polychords. It often imitates the sounds of nature, babbling brooks, wind, rain, and so on. A polychord occurs when two different chords are played simultaneously. This technique is taken from earlier classical works by composers such as Stravinsky.
Gospel piano is often similar to blues, jazz and R & B. It emphasizes certain extended chords, such as the 11th, and usually has the swinging feel associated with jazz and R & B. The apparent simplicity of gospel songs often hides the fact that they are actually quite musically complex. Syncopation is highly stressed in gospel music, as it contributes to the overall spiritual feel of the music.
Country and western piano has similar roots as blues piano. Both styles stem from earlier folk styles, often developed by the less fortunate folk era. Many early country songs originated from the Appalachian folk songs. Country and western piano is highlighted by very much to play, with simple chord under the melody. One of the greats in this style is Floyd Cramer.
Traditional sacred piano styles involve the playing of liturgical songs and hymns. These can range from the harmonic and rhythmic complexity to the simple two and three chord songs. Many hymns derived from folk songs of centuries past. The diversity of sacred piano styles is as numerous as the liturgical songs themselves. These piano styles often involve a strict interpretation of notation, with less emphasis on personal interpretation than other styles.
The classical piano style is probably the most diverse of all styles. Classical music is older than other styles, and is considered the proper grounds for musical instruction. Many elements of other piano styles from classical music, and almost all forms of musical theory is used in classical music. Andre Previn is the classic example of a well-trained classical pianist crossed over into the world of jazz, and with great success. Classical music usually requires intense training to master, but there are many simpler pieces designed with the novice player in mind.
Though classical is often considered the pinnacle of music, this “is not necessarily so.” For example, many players who are “classically trained” have trouble adapting to the feeling and the sincerity of the blues. For this reason, a well-rounded player to be adaptable and learn as much about each of these piano styles as possible. In this way a pianist ready for any musical challenge. And besides, who knows where the future of music lies?
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