Playing The Piano Using Chord Symbols Instead of Being
Handcuffed To The Written Sheet Music
"I Took Piano
Lessons As a Kid, But I've Forgotten Almost Everything..."
There are literally millions of
adults today who took piano lessons when they were growing up, but at some point
along the way gave them up. Some couldn't care less, but many have an urge down
deep to take up piano playing again someday.
Over the years I have never
heard anyone say "I'm glad I never learned to play the piano", but I have heard
hundreds say something like "I sure wish I had paid attention when I was a kid",
or "My piano teacher was too strict (or too boring), but I would love to get
back to the piano some day."
And most people that feel that
way have the "round-tuit" problem that we all have; they mean well, but the
busyness of life distracts them from starting to play again. And they really
don't want to take lessons again from the little old lady down the street who
can't tell the Beatles from Beethoven. Plus it's hard to work regular lessons
into their already-packed schedule.
So what's the solution?
Learn to play the piano from
Chord symbols (for example,
Cmaj7 or G6) are a type of notation used frequently in jazz and other areas of
modern music to notate chord progressions and changes. This type of notation
differs from that of classical music in that chord symbols don't show the
function of a chord the way the Roman numeral notation does. Chord symbols, for
modern music with lots of changes, are much easier to read. They function as a
sort of shorthand for change-heavy music and are written with four chord parts
in mind: the root, the quality, the extension, and the alterations.
The first part in chord symbols, the root, tells the musician which note is the
root of the chord. In an E6 chord, for instance, the E serves as the root. Chord
symbols also allow for inverted chords, or chords with a root other than the
bass note. These chord symbols express that by showing the bass note with a
diagonal slash under the original symbol.
Quality, the second part in chord symbols, denotes whether the chord is major,
minor, diminished, or augmented. In a Cmaj7, the maj tells us that the C chord
is major. The abbreviations for this area in chord symbols are maj, min, dim,
and aug, respectively.
The extension in chord symbols, written after the quality, shows the musician if
the chord differs from a triad (a third chord), such as an eleventh or seventh.
This part of chord symbols is not always shown; if there is no indication of an
extension, the musician is to assume that the chord is a triad.
The last part in chord symbols, the alteration, is usually but not always
expressed. Think of this part as the "notes" section in chord symbols; it gives
the musician any specific (and sometimes irregular) instructions for playing the
chord and is always written in parentheses after the extension (or the quality,
if no extension exists). For instance, (no fifth) would tell the musician that
the chord is to be played with the fifth tone left out. Sus - short for
"suspension", would mean to play the 4th scale note instead of the 3rd. A minus
sign would mean to lower (flat) a chord tone, such as C-9 which would mean to
flat the 9th of the chord. Conversely, a plus sign would mean to raise (sharp) a
particular chord tone.
Reading music using chord symbols allows a person to use written music as a map,
rather than a note-for-note approach. By just reading the melody note and the
chord symbols, musicians can improvise to their hearts content and create their
own sounds on the keyboard.
The best of all worlds, however, is to be able to read music as it is written in
a sheet music score, but also be able to read the chord symbols. Then the
musician is free to choose which is best - the written part, or an improvised
part. The sky is the limit for musicians who can do both.
For more information on the 3 methods adults
can learn how to play the piano, watch my free short 6-minute video titled "How
To Learn To Play The Piano - 3 Different Ways."
here to watch the free 6-minute piano lesson video!
The very best way for adults to learn to play the piano
is to use a combination of methods -- a synergy of reading the melody (the tune
of the song) and then adding the harmony by knowing and understanding chords and
chord styles. For the very best course on the subject, go right now to
Crash Course In
Exciting Piano Playing For Beginning Adults