HearandPlay.com Monthly Newsletter --- January 2005!
Serving 130,636 Musicians
https://www.hearandplay.com/newyear for an audio
from Jermaine Griggs...
III. Online Classroom:
for Playing By Ear! (Part One)"
Welcome to my first newsletter of the year on
strategies for playing by ear! First off, I would like to wish you a
happy new year and invite you to listen to my audio greeting:
Last year sure did go by
fast, don't you agree? And for many of you, it was a breakthrough year in your
piano playing --- for others, perhaps just another year. Wherever you are in
your music, now's the time to make a commitment to really take your
piano playing to the next
level! It's the beginning of a new year and there's a sense of beginning
again. Now's the time.
...And the "next level" is
not a term reserved only for beginners. Whether you've been playing for 10
years or 10 days, there is always a "next
level" for everyone! Everyone.
Those who make it far in
their piano playing (and you can definitely spot out these people from the
rest) are always looking for the next level. They never settle for
where they're at, regardless of how good they sound. That's another topic
though :o) ...
For many musicians, the
ability to play fast scales,
runs, and right-hand solos is the ultimate level. For some, it is the ability
to figure out chords to a song
in a matter of minutes and sometimes seconds. For others, it may be simply
being able to play a major scale without making any mistakes. The next level
is different for everyone, so don't be intimidated --- take it step by step.
On that note, I have come
across a physical tool that I've been using for quite some time now. I could
have introduced this to my customers a long time ago but I wanted to try it
out for myself before endorsing it to 130,000 people. These small devices have
allowed me to literally triple my practicing efforts in half the time. I'm
talking about FINGER RINGS!
No more practice is
necessary than before ... no more time ... no more effort than before. And
I've seen triple the results in half the amount of time practicing. What are
you talking about Jermaine?
...Let me explain:
RINGS are exactly how they sound ---
they are rings that you put on your fingers with small weights attached. The
amount of weight on each finger can be controlled by you (5g, 10g, or 15g).
The finger rings are made to be flexible and fit all finger sizes. They help
you to build strength, dexterity, endurance, and what we all want...
CONTROL AND SPEED.
... And they're not just for pianists, keyboardists, and organists. Virtually all musicians can use them to build strength and control in their fingers.
Imagine being able to strengthen and condition the muscles and tendons in the fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms – while you practice (and at a much faster rate than before).
Now believe me... I can go on and on about the technical aspects of these rings and how they benefit both the flexor and extensor muscles (the tiny muscles that open and close the fingers) --- BUT--- I'll save that for Tuesday, January 18, 2005 when I'll be making these finger rings available to all my subscribers. That is exactly four days from now.
You'll want to be logged on to the internet Tuesday morning (1/18) to be one of the first people to reserve your set of finger rings because I'll be throwing in a free video on how to use the finger rings effectively for the first 99 people to order. You'll see straight from Doctors and Surgeons how these finger rings effect your practicing and every day activities.
... and much much more! But you'll have to check your e-mail on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 to get more information! In fact, I'll have a full informational website set up with tons of details on these new revolutionary practice rings. You don't want to miss this one. That's four days from now.
Your friends will beg and plead to know where you got these. They are not sold in local stores.
Enjoy this month's online classroom and you'll be hearing from me this Tuesday.
2004/05 Newsletter Archive Available at https://www.hearandplay.com/newsletters * If you didn't catch any of last year's newsletters, visit https://www.hearandplay.com/newsletters.html to get access to tons of ready-to-use information! ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Online Classroom: "Strategies for Playing By Ear!" Part One: The Key Center ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Note: You might want to print this lesson out for easier reading... There are a number of basic and advanced skill sets that, when understood and applied, help a musician to play by ear much easier than someone who is just poking and guessing at the piano. I'm sure you know someone who can sit at the piano and in a matter of about SEVEN LONG, FRUSTRATING HOURS, pick out a song (chord-by-chord and note-for-note). While that is characterized as "playing by ear" sure enough, there is definitely a better way to do it... and you don't necessarily have to be born with a gift to do it. Now... don't get me wrong --- some people "get it" a lot quicker than others. There is certainly such a thing as giftedness and it extends way beyond music. Some are gifted in music ... others in sports ... some in science ... others in writing. Then, on the other hand, some people learn and "pick up" on the skills and excel way beyond the gifted. So it goes both ways... Enough of my viewpoints. Let's get to some strategies for playing by ear: Learning to find the key center of a song. Outside of learning major scales and the various types of chords to go with each major key, learning how to find the key center of a song is perhaps one of the most important skills to have. The "key center" is simply the major key of the song. When reading sheet music, it is the key signature. It is also referred to as the tonic or plainly "the key." In chapter 9 of the 300-pg course, "The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear," we discuss theoretical ways to determine the key center. Below, I will explain practical ways to find the key center simply by using your ear. To make it plain, the key center is the ONE note that you can press down during the entire song and it will sound appropriate (at least most of the time unless the song modulates to another key or moves into a minor key, etc.). If you take the time to listen, your ears will never fail you. If you're new to this, just start at middle C as you're listening to a song, and play each note chromatically (one note after the other) until you arrive at a note that flows perfectly with every chord and progression of the song. I promise that you'll find a match and when you do, there will be no question about it. Just trust your ear! T-R-U-S-T. To recap: Start at C Listen to the song as you continuously press C down by itself (no other notes, just C). If C is not the key center, it will be obvious. You will hear dissonance (a disagreeable sound). The key you're looking for is the key that sounds better than any other key ... the key that matches over the melody, the chords, and the progressions of the song. There will be no doubts about it when you come across the key center of a song. The hardest part is "coming across" it. If C is not the key, move on! Since we're going chromatically, we'll move to Db (aka "C#"). Do the same thing. Is there total agreement between Db and the song? If so, keep Db in your head and quickly press other notes around it to make sure you're not mistaking Db for what should be Gb or another "similar" note. Let me explain:
Most of the time, you'll hear dissonance, which will immediately alert you that you're not pressing the right key center. Thus, you'll move on. But there will also be times when you don't necessarily hear dissonance but you don't hear total agreement either. You might be hitting the 5th tone of the actual "key center" or perhaps the 3rd tone. What does the 3rd and 5th tones help to create, anyway? MAJOR AND DOMINANT CHORDS. So it is possible for your ear to be hearing a certain note in the key center's major chord but not the KEY CENTER ITSELF. For example, I may be listening to a song that is in the key of C major. Because I am trying to find the key center, I don't know that it is C major yet --- I'm still trying to figure it out with the method above. Let's say I came to G and it sounded really good. "Perhaps this is my key center," I think. "There's no reason for me to believe this can't be the key center. It's not exactly on point but it's not dissonant either," I continue. You see... G is not the key center but it is the 5th tone in the key of C --- the real key center. Because C and G have a very close relationship (they are perfect fifth intervals apart), my ear may be deceived into thinking that G is the key center. The same applies to E in this example because E is the third tone of the C major scale. Both E and G help to complete the C major chord (Cmaj = C + E + G). So it's no surprise that E and G may mislead a musician in this example. Here's how to double check once you think you may have found a key center.If you think you may have found the correct key center and it matches continuously throughout the song, apply these tests to see if the potential key center passes: A) Press the notes directly below and above the key center just to make sure that those keys don't match the song even better. Sometimes, our ears makes us think one note is the key center when it is actually the NOTE RIGHT ABOVE IT. Notes that are half steps apart (right next to each other) have the strongest likelihood for errors like this. B) Remember when I said you may have a tendency to predict the fifth interval tone instead of the key center itself? This happens a lot. So, to make sure you've got the key center and not the fifth tone of the key center, you'll need to press the following notes:
Keep in mind that as you get better and better, you'll be able to determine the key center of a song much quicker. When you get really good, you won't even have to use the tests above because you'll be 100% confident in your ear. But if you're using the chart above, it's pretty simple. If you're pressing C and you're pretty confident that C is the key center, then you're probably correct! Good job! But as one last resort, test it against F (as shown in the chart above). C is the fifth of F. We just want to make sure that we're not confusing C for the key center when perhaps F might be the correct one. If F doesn't match, then return back to C, your final answer and key center. GOLDEN RULE: Your ear is always the final judge.
Also, as you get more advanced, it will only take you a few notes before you figure out the key center of a song.
THINGS YOU'LL OBSERVE:
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF FIND THE KEY CENTER
I hope you've enjoyed and I'll see you next month! Don't forget to check your e-mail on Tuesday if you're interested in the finger rings!
Next month, we will study "bass line recognition" and how to learn songs by simply determining the bass (or left hand movements) first.
Chords to study for month's February and March online classroom:
Well, I hope you enjoyed my January newsletter and I'll be back in February! Take care!
This concludes your January Online Classroom Lesson If you were intrigued by the online classroom lesson above, then you would definitely benefit from my course! *** “The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear” 300-pg Course *** With 20 chapters and over 300 pages, the home piano course provides several resources, techniques, tips, principles, and theories to playing the piano by ear. Along with hundreds of chords and scales, you'll also learn how to turn them into gospel, jazz and blues chord progressions and better yet, how to use them to play ABSOLUTELY any song you want ... IN VIRTUALLY MINUTES! Again, don't miss this opportunity. I've even added an additional bonus if you purchase the course this week --- You can read more about the course at: https://www.hearandplay.com/course
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Yours Truly, Jermaine Griggs www.HearandPlay.com www.GospelKeys.com