This is the third article presenting my piano lessons over 4 years, please start with the first article. With many new pieces introduced in the last lessons, there are no new pieces before lesson 20.
Lesson 17: Accompaniment Register (January 19th, 2016)
1- Progression Cycles of major ii-V-I in positions A and B: after each group of 3 progressions, reverse position from A to B or B to A, so that you don’t end up too low in the register. Avoid chord notes below C3 (one octave below middle C)
2- Arpeggios: C, Am, G, F, Bb
3- Scales: practice left hand only in 16th notes, to gain strength in the weaker hand.
- Work on the rhythm, i.e. tap or sing it
- Practice LH only for the first page
5- Satin Doll: do play the A9 (in 3rd inversion)
- Step 1: RH: theme
LH: bass, at 56 = quarter note
- Step 2: RH: chords
6- Blues form in accompaniment format: stabilize and loop the form, at 88 = quarter note
Lesson 18: iReal Pro! (February 2nd, 2016)
A fantastic accompaniment tool is iReal Pro, which we will start using more and more as I get more advanced.
1- Cycles: alternate between positions A and B as needed, to keep the register in an optimal location.
2- Arpeggios: add D
3- Scales: focus on the hard ones
4- Winter: focus on the part up to the key change, practice hands separately
5- Satin Doll: practice with metronome on beats 2 and 4, at 42 = half note. Same formats as last week.
6- Blues: keep working
7- Beethoven Moonlight sonata: identify the difficult passages
Lesson 19: Special Rhythm (February 9th, 2016)
1- Scales: continue; arpeggios: add Bm
2- Satin Doll: whole piece in accompaniment mode, without metronome
- continue with hands separate
- listen to the tune
- start the chorus
- fingering trick for the Ab5: use 5-2
- add this rhythm on the right hand: tied half note +16th note, dotted 8th note, quarter note.
- strengthen your Cm and Am blues scales
5- Moonlight: continue
Lesson 20: Beautiful Love (February 22nd, 2016)
1- Arpeggios: C, Am, G, F, Bb, Bm, Em
2- Scales: from now on, always practice rhythms without interruption, i.e. 8th notes, followed by 8th notes triplets, followed by 16th notes, over 2, 3 and 4 octaves respectively, hands together.
3- Satin Doll: practice in half-time, i.e. quarter note at 88, rather than half note at 44. This helps with strengthening the rhythm. Whole piece in accompaniment mode.
4- Blues form: another rhythm in the RH: dotted half-note and quarter note on 4th beat.
5- Minor blues scales: polish Bbm and Gm.
6- Beautiful Love, Jazz standard.
- Listen to several versions of the song on YouTube, especially by Bill Evans
- Analyze the chords, locate the ii-V-Is.
Lesson 21: Minor II-V-I (March 3rd, 2016)
1- Scales: make rhtyhm transitions more even
2- Arpeggios: add Gm
3- Satin Doll: 2 formats, accompaniment and trio. Practice with metronome beats on 1 and 3, then on 2 and 4.
4- Blues: new rhythm in RH: tied half-note + dotted 8th note, tied 16h note and quarter note. Put metronome to 16th notes to help with getting the rhythm clean. Practice appoggiaturas of the augmented 4th.
5- Practice the minor II-V-Is.
- Make a table for the two types, with diminished 9th and with augmented 5th and 9th, for positions A and B (4 tables in total).
- As for the major ii-V-I, identify which fingers move by how much at each step
- In summary, the minor II-V-Is are: iim7b5 – V7b9 – im and iim7b5 – V7#9 – im, recalling that #9 implies #5 too, always.
Lesson 22: Satin Doll with iReal Pro (March 10th, 2016)
1- Scales at 80 = quarter note. Start hands separately. New rhythm for scales from now on: either start with 4 16th notes then 4 8th notes, and repeat this pattern, or start with 4 8th notes then 4 16th notes, and repeat.
2- Arpeggios: add Cm
3- Satin Doll: trio format:
- focus on posture
- start using iReal Pro, at 104 = quarter note
4- Blues: as last week
5- Minor II-V-I: focus on path 1 (i.e. Cm), in position A, for diminished and augmented 9ths.
6- Beautiful love
- Analyze the harmonic progressions, identify the II-V_i, major or minor.
- Practice in accompaniment format
- Make a choice, a coherent choice, for the paths: bass path and chords path
Lesson 23: Subdivide the Tempo! (March 17th)
1- Scales at 80 = quarter note
2- Arpeggios at 45 = quarter note; add F#.
3- Satin Doll, all with the iReal Pro:
- Step 1: in trio format, play only the chords in the LH
get used to not looking at the iPad
- Step 2: play the theme in the RH
try to swing lightly the 8th notes
for the theme, look at both the iPad and at the Real book for the score
4- Blues: focus on improving the rhythm, step-by-step:
- Step 1: solidify the bass
- Step 2: count aloud
- Step 3: subdivide the tempo for more precision
- Step 4: relax! Especially RH
5- Minor II-V-I: keep practicing
6- Beautiful love:
- Accompaniment form: choose a path
- Trio form: chords in LH
Lesson 24: Blues Form with iReal Pro (March 29th, 2016)
1- Listen to more music, identify songs and styles that you like, come back with a list of choices to learn next
2- Blues form in Cm
- In accompaniment form: RH = chors, LH = bass
- In trio form with iReal Pro (use Blues Simple, slow swing): LH only = chords
3- Arpeggios with inversions at 45 = quarter note: C, Am, Cm
4- Scales at 80 = quarter note, focus on Cm and Am blues scales
Lesson 25: Clocks by Coldplay (April 7th, 2016)
1- Technique: scales and arpeggios, C, Am, Cm, A
2- Pop/jazz: blues
- accompaniment mode: integrate better the rhythm, sing it to make it more natural
- blues in Bbm: practice scales in Bbm and Gm
3- Jazz/theory: Beautiful love: put more ease in the accompaniment mode
4- Pop/rock: Clocks by Coldplay: identify the chords
Lesson 26: Ocean of Insanity by Kemilon (April 19th, 2016)
1- Scales and arpeggios: G, Gm, E, Em
2- Blues: accompaniment mode, feel the rhythm
3- Beautiful love at quarter note = 50, trio format
4- Clocks by Coldplay: play it with the metronome, or with the tune as a backing track
5- Kemilon, Ocean of Insanity: Kemilon was a heavy metal band that my teacher was part of before starting Shpik. The synthesizer part we will learn starts at 3:04 on the track.
Lesson 27: Resistance by Muse (April 25th, 2016)
1- Scales and arpeggios: B, Bm, Bb, Bbm, F#, F#m, Ab, Abm.
2- Blues with iReal Pro:
- accompaniment + blues scales in RH
- with pedal
- focus on the strong beats, both hands
- accent on the top note
- with metronome
4- Beautiful love;
- Accompaniment mode at 55 = quarter note
- trio form: hands separate: either LH = chords or RH = theme, at 100 = quarter note
4- Resistance, by Muse:
- Introduction: first 8 bars, with sloppy tempo
- Practice listening carefully and finding on the piano which notes played in the tune
- Play the theme with the song as backing track
- RH = theme, LH = bass
- Include the pedal
- Try to find the notes played
- Download an application to slow down the song
6- Arpeggios with 7ths: C7, with all inversions.
Lesson 28: Doubling the Bass (May 24th, 2016)
One month since the previous lesson, due to vacations.
1- Scales and arpeggios: all of the them. Practice a few at random each day.
2- Blues with iReal Pro: practice with and withou looking at the iPad
- double the bass at the octave for the chorus
- for fingering the chords, prioretize using fingers 1-3-5 or 1-2-5.
- practice at 120 = quarter note
4- Resistance: RH = theme, LH = bass, doubled at the octave + pedal; 120 = quarter note
5- Kemilon, section 1: D A D A F D E F G F E D C D E C // D A D A F D E F G F E D A and repeat. F E F A G F E F C B A D
6- Beautiful Love: iReal Pro in Ballad Swing at 60 = quarter note, in accompaniment mode; only RH = theme
7- Arpeggios with 7ths: C7 and G7 at 50 = quarter note. Nearly always start with the thumb as a rule for fingering.
Lesson 29: Hola les Lolos by Adamus (May 30th, 2016)
1- Scales and arpeggios: find the difficult ones.
2- Blues, all with iReal Pro, for trio format:
- Only LH, loop the track
- RH = pick notes from minor blues scale; LH: chords on the 1st beat
3- Resistance and clocks: like last week
4- Kemilon: practice first part at 60 = quarter note.
Second part: A A A triplet / 8th notes: C B C D / E D C B / D A B C / G A B F G A /G F E D C D E B / C (A G E triplets) x 6 times / 16th notes: A G F E / D C D E / D C / B A / G A B G / A
5- Beautiful love: using score + iPad for iReal Pro
- Theme only in RH
- Chords only in LH
- next time, he will improvise while you play the chords
6- Arpeggios with 7ths: C7, G7, F7
7- A blues piece: Hola les Lolos by Adamus. A blues in D. Listen to the tune.
Lesson 30: Improvisation Theory (June 7th, 2016)
1- Scales at 72 = quarter note, not faster. Focus on evenness, precision
2- Arpeggios: practice a few at 42 = quarter note
3- Beautiful love with iReal Pro, trio format: RH = theme, LH = chords
4- Improvisation, theory based on scales
E.g. in F major, the ii-V-I is Gm7 – C7 – Fmaj7, leading to the scales of G dorian, C mixolydian and F ionian
In your head, think F major, without a specific starting note
Practice improvising on a ii-V-I without tempo/metronome: RH = a tonal scale, LH = bass
5- The rest of last week
Lesson 32: Improvisation Practice (June 21st, 2016)
1- Scales at 74 = quarter note.
2- Arpeggios at 44 = quarter note
3- Technical exercise #1 for LH first, then both hands. Repeat the following pattern over two octaves, a pattern that goes up by one step at each repetition: C E F G A G F E D F G A B A G F E. Start at 58 = quarter note. At the end, play the inverse pattern to come down two octaves.
4- Beautiful Love at 50 = quarter note. Listen to the bass coming from the iPad.
5- Improvisation on Beautiful Love: with RH only and iReal Pro, focus on playing “valid” notes, i.e. in the relevant scales.
6- Blues improvisation in C with iReal Pro:
- RH: a scale
- LH: 3+7
7- Clocks: play softer, less pedal; quarter note at 100-110.
- RH: melody
- LH: play quarter notes instead of 8th notes
- Pedal for full reverb effect
9- Kemilon at 50-60 = quarter note
10- Adamus: repeat 4x the blues form RH only, be happy with making mistakes, without haste, closed eyes, without counting, without precise timing
11- Arpeggios 7th: add Bb7
Lesson 33: All the Things You Are (June 30th, 2016)
Following much time spent on the blues form and Beautiful Love, many months will be spent on All the Things You Are.
1- Scales: 76 = quarter note; arpeggios: 46 = quarter note
2- Technical exercise #2: pattern going up C A G A F A E A D B A B G; pattern going down: G B C B D B E B F A B A D. Go up 2 octaves and return.
3- Beautiful love at 55 = quater note
- Step 1: theme + chords
- RH only, improvisation around the theme
- RH only, free improvisation – use chromatism to reach key notes
4- Blues improv: blues scales over 2 octaves in RH, 3+7 in LH, in Cm and Am
- Step 1: scales in quarter notes
- Step 2: scales in 8th notes
- Step 3: scales in triplets of 8th notes
5- Clocks: RH: follow the score; LH: alternate between quarter notes and 8th notes., at 88 = quarter note
6- Resistance: practice in a systematic manner
7- Kemilon at 54 = quarter note. Practice in chunks with the metronome
8- Adamus: relax. Follow video example.
9- Arpeggios 7th: Eb7.
10- All the Things You Are: analyze the piece, write down the functions, especially VI-II-V-I.
Lesson 34: (July 14th, 2016)
1- Scales at 78 = quarter note; arpeggios at 46 = quarter note
2- Technical exercise #3: pattern going up: C A G A F G E F D B A B; pattern going down: C E F E G F A G B D E
3- Beautiful love at 60 = quarter note
- Step 1: theme + bass
- Step 2: RH = arpeggios; LH = chords
- Step 3: RH = mix arpeggios and scales; LH = chords
4- Blues improvisation in D at 55 = quarter note, in quarter notes and 8th notes
5- Adamus: bass notes:
D // A / A D // A / A#
A // E / E A // E / D#
6- All the things you are: RH = theme, LH = bass
7- Kemilon: learn next chunk: E D E F E F G F G A G A B A G A G F G F E F E D C B C D C
Lesson 35: Adele, Skyfall! (July 21st, 2016)
1- Scales at 80 = quarter note; arpeggios at 46 = quarter note
2- Technical exercises 1, 2, 3: aim for 86 = eight note, hands together
3- Beautiful love:
- Step 1: trio mode
- Step 2: without metronome: RH = arpeggios on chords, LH = chords
- Step 3: add metronome to step 2
4- Blues in D: RH: constant 8th note pattern; LH: 3+7
5- Adamus: 63 = quarter note, subdividing the tempo.
- Step 1: Sing the song with metronome
- Step 2: play on the piano
6- All the things you are:
- Step 1: RH = theme + metronom
LH = bass
- Step 2: RH = 3 + 7
LH = bass
7- Kemilon: keep improving on speed
8- Clocks and Resistance: add pedal in between chords. Practice slow without metronome, and later increase speed and with metronome,
9- Adele, Skyfall: listen to the tune
The James Bond chord: Cmmaj9
Intro: Cm Ab Cm/F : 4x
C-/Eb C-/D Gsus4 G
Lesson 36: Last Technical Exercise! (August 12th, 2016)
1- Scales at 82 = quarter note; arpeggios at 46 = quarter note. From now on, do scales as such: 2 octaves in 8th notes, 3 octaves in triplets of 8th notes and 3 octaves in 16th notes
2- Technical exercise #4: pattern going up: C A G A D E F E D B A B E F G F E; pattern going down: G B C B F E D E F A B A E D C D E
3- Beautiful love at 66 = half note
- Step 1: trio
- Step 2: alternate rhythms each bar: 4 quarter notes | 8 8th notes, only RH arpeggios
- Step 3: minimalistic solo improvisation RH only, listening to the bass given by iReal Pro
4- Blues in D at 53 = quarter note
- RH = solo melody, gradually adding 1, 2, 3, 4 notes, slowly
- LH = 3+7
5- Adamus at 80 = quarter note: sometimes on the IV with chromatic approaches
6- All the things you are: iReal Pro, trio format: RH = theme, LH = 3+7
7- Skyfall: play with intro with the tune, not too loud.
8- Kemilon: next chunk: in LH: D, C# and C only; in RH: E F G A Bb / D E F G A Bb / C# D E / G F E D E F G A Bb / D E F G A Bb / C# D E G F E / Bb A G A G F / G F E
9- Review the II-V-Is: major /minor; cycle 1/2; position A / B.
Lesson 37: Long Ago and Far Away (August 25th, 2016)
1- Scales, arpeggios at your pace
2- Technical exercises 1 through 4
3- Beautiful Love
- Step 1: center the theme to middle C, note collisions between the two hands and adapt
- Step 2: minimalistic solo, based on the theme, with small exits from the theme
- Step 3: improvisation, targeting the next 1 beat on a valid note, i.e. in the chord arpeggio
- Step 1: Accompaniment form: RH = 3 + 7, LH = bass
- Step 2: Bach mode: RH = theme, LH = bass
When the chord is alone in the measure, add the 5th on the 3rd beat
5- Adamus: practice the actual form, which is A D A D with D = 8 beats, A = 8 beats. Then G (4 beats) A (4 Beats), chorus, repeat. Complete the song
6- Kemilon: play with the backing track, perhaps slow it down.
7- All the things you are:
- Step 1: iReal Pro, ballad swing at 60 = quarter note, trio mode: 3+7 in LH
- Step 2: accompaniment mode, 3+7 in RH
8- Skyfall: D C G Eb.
- Rhythm in bass
- pedal: almost don’t raise it
This completes my first year of piano lessons.
Looking forward to your feedback!Social tagging: Piano