This course was an experiment in which I tried guide beginning students to learn and practise some fundamental aspects of piano playing without the need to learn to read music notation. I can't say that I fully endorse this course any more. There are certain aspects of it that I think people have found confusing, and the progression of difficulty is probably not as well suited to a beginner as I would have liked. However, I have decided to keep it available for now on the off chance that someone finds it interesting of finds some value in it.
Just as a 'step' has a particular meaning in music, so does a 'leap'. In terms of piano playing, a leap can be thought of as movement from one key on the keyboard to a non-neighbouring, or distant key. In other words, a leap is any interval larger than a step. In this lesson you will practise leaping up the keyboard. The music in this lesson is for Cello, Drum Set, Upright Bass, and Piano. The patterns you play in this lesson are built on a motif that moves up the keyboard by leap. What you play here, in fact, will be a series of arpeggiated chords, that is, chords played one note at a time.
Since you will be moving by leap in this lesson, instead of by step, you will cover a larger area of the keyboard in a shorter period of time. It will be quite difficult, therefore, to play these patterns with one hand alone. Spreading the pattern between both hands will make playing it much easier. Be sure to watch the video lesson to see how I have done this.
Step 1. First, listen to the lesson music.
Step 2. Then, listen to the patterns. The rhythm in these patterns include some syncopation similar to the patterns you played in Lesson 1. They are also played in what is called 'swing time'. Swing time is most common in jazz music and involves stretching out the first half of a beat and shortening the second half. The beats themselves remain steady but what happens inside the beat is what gives swing time its character. Swing time, however, doesn’t fit into an exact formula and so instead of me trying to explain in detail how to count and play in swing time, it will be more useful for you to simply listen and try to feel the rhythm.
Step 3. When you are ready, find the notes of the patterns and play along with the percussion accompaniment. I recommend playing along with both this track and the full pattern track you listened to in the previous step.
Step 4. Now listen to the patterns accompanied by the drum set. Listen to the drum set carefully too as it will help give you a better understanding and feel for swing rhythm. In particular, listen to the rhythm played by the hi-hat. Count the beats as you listen also.
Step 5. Then play along with the drum set. Remember to repeat steps in any of these lessons as many times as you need to feel confident moving on to the next step.
Step 6. Now we add piano to the accompaniment. Listen to this track now an imagine yourself playing the patterns. The piano accompaniment here is also playing a fairly complex rhythm which might throw you off. Be sure to keep the beat steady in your mind. Count along, tap out the beat with your finger or foot, then tap out the rhythm of the patterns before moving on to the next step.
Step 7. Play along now with the drum set and piano accompaniment.
Step 8. Next, listen to the lesson music played without the cello. In the next step, as I’m sure you know by now, you will play along with this version of the lesson music. Use any of the practise strategies I have previously suggested, or any you have invented on your own, to prepare for the next step.
Step 9. Now play along with this version of the lesson music.
Step 10. And finally, play along with the full version of the lesson music.