Want to Learn Despacito? Learn it and You'll Know 100s of Other Songs Too!

pop songs scales Dec 08, 2017

With Despacito having become the watched Youtube video ever, I thought it would be cool to show you how if you learn Despacito, then you can play and sing 100s of other songs at the same time, let me explain.  

First: The Chords

Despacito is a very simple song that only uses 4 chords that repeat for the entirety of the song.  They are

Bm  G  D  A

This puts the song in the key of D Major. (B minor)

D Em F#m G A Bm C#dim D

If  we were to give them numbers, D=1, E=2, etc. Then the song becomes

vi IV I V

Knowing that, you can play the song in any key, pick a major scale, and just play those particular chords, then you can play the song in that place, higher or lower from the original.  Example:

Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb Cm Ddim Eb      This becomes

Cm Ab Eb Bb

Other Songs

Knowing that Despacito has a vi IV I V chords progression means that you can sing the melodies of other songs that have the same chord progression over it.  You can play...

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What is the Major Scale?

scales Dec 07, 2017

What are major scales and why are they important?

The Major Scale

There are 12 keys at the piano, 7 white & 5 black, that repeat themselves up & down the piano till you have a total of 88.  

That being said, during any particular song or piece of music, only 7 of those keys will be used at any given time.  

Those 7 keys make up what's called the "major" scale.  

Most songs all have what's called a "home key."  This is the note or chord where the song begins and ends.  Let's say it's C major.  

Any song that only uses these 7 notes is called "diatonic".  

When you make C your "home" key, then then scale is only made up of white keys.  

Which means you can play any "diatonic" song by only playing white keys, which is pretty cool.  


Sharps & Flats

You'll notice when going up the scale from C to D, etc.  Some notes will have black key between them, and others...

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Do I need to read music as a gigging pianist?

sheet music Dec 07, 2017

This is a question I get a lot.  On one extreme, many classically trained pianists will only read music, and only play the notes exactly as they are written, while on the other hand, many self-taught pianists can't read music at all, but can play any song after only listening to it a few times and maybe looking up the chords.  

So who's right?  

The real answer?

It depends.  

Depends on the Gig

Depending on the occasion, reading music may not be that important.  

If the gig is to simply play some pleasant sounds in the background, then heck, you don't need any music at all, just play a few chords, make up some pleasant melodies, and boom, you're golden.  

If the gig is to play popular songs, then just pick a few, and you don't need to read any music to learn those, that's for sure, again, just figure out the melody and the chords.  

However, if the request is for specific pieces of the classical repertoire, then...

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What is the Circle of 5ths?

scales Nov 27, 2017

If you've been playing piano for a while, but haven't heard of the circle of 5ths, boy are you missing out.  This is gonna me an awesome lesson for you.  This will really help you understand your scales, and you're going to love'em.  Just bare with me here.  

What are 5ths?

First, you need to know what a 5th is.  a 5th is just an interval, the amount of space between two notes.  Here's an example

AB = 2nd, AC = 3rd, AD = 4th AE = 5th  

If you go past G, you just start over in the alphabet.  

FG = 2nd, FA = 3rd, FB = 4th, FC = 5th  

That's all a 5th is.  Now what happen if you just went up the piano in 5ths?  What notes would you have?  

C G D A E B F# C# G# D# A# E#(F) B#(C)

And what would happen if you went down by 5ths?  GF = 2nd GE = 3rd, etc.

C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb Bbb(A) Ebb(D) Abb(G)  

That's every note on the piano spelled with either sharps or flats using the circle of...

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Phd Pianists Can't Play Happy Birthday!?

classical piano pop songs Nov 25, 2017

First I want to preface by saying that all of the following is 100% true, and quite unbelievable if you think about it.  

Also, if you think playing the piano is a many years endeavor and pursuit, then you are wrong.  Playing Clare de Lune may take a while, but pop songs?  not so much.  

1. The Classical Pianists

Many years ago, my piano teacher attended a recital of a very famous pianist at his university.  He was very well known in the community, and one of the greatest pianists of our time. After the recital was a reception.  

At this reception were dozens of pianists, some of the best pianists that this university had to offer.  Most of them were pursuing their masters and Phds.  

These pianists were in addition, some of the most virtuosic players you can imagine, some of the toughest music ever written for piano was within their grasp, no doubt about it.  We're talking Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto,...

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