To the person who aspires to learn playing piano by ear with chords, you will gain a more rewarding journey once your realize that chords are almost always used in the music you are accustomed to listen to. If you’re listening to Beethoven’s Fur Elise, a polonaise by Chopin, Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll, or Billy Joel’s Piano Man, you’re listening to chords at play.
To the uninitiated, this can be a little confusing. Some of this confusion is due to the format in which we see much of today’s popular and jazz music written. It is quite quite common to see chord symbols written above the musical staff if you are looking at a piano/vocal/guitar (P/V/G) arrangement or a lead sheet. This clearly illustrates evidence that chords play a significant part of what we are to play.
However, if you look at Bach’s Minuet In G or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, you’re not likely to see any chord symbols above the music. However, does that mean that chords are not an essential element of this music? Perish the thought! They are in the music. To a person not trained to read or even a person who is trained to read but lacks a generous amount of chord knowledge, the chords may be thought of as being “disguised.” They are in the music, for sure!
Bach’s Minuet In G, when analyzed, can be understood to have, as its three main chords, a G Major Triad, C Major triad, and a D Major triad. Hmmmm… harmonically, speaking, not very different from playing the blues in the key of G… not a far cry from playing The Twist by Chubby Checker!
So, playing piano by ear with chords involves an understanding of this essential fact. Once you have a grasp on this, it will have a tremendous, positive impact on your ability to play piano by ear.
This is one of the most popular topics among students here at Piano Ca Dab Ra! People here learn not only how to play but they also gain an understanding of what it is they are playing. Very often, they quickly become inspired to write their own songs with the knowledge they put themselves in touch with.
Playing piano by ear is often thought of as something that should be “put off until the future.” Not at all! If a teacher ever says that to you, then you are encouraged to walk the other way. As a matter of fact, the first lesson or two here in our studio is often all that is needed in order for the student’s curiosity to become satisfied enough in order to want to take things several steps further.
We take a look at musical concepts in a way that is fun, entertaining, and educational. You’ll gain “musical smarts” here as we explore an approach to playing piano by ear in a way you probably haven’t previously considered. We have the passion for it. We also have the desire to share with you what we know. We really look forward to your taking that first step. You’re in for an interesting journey that is sure to bring back to you many happy returns!