Sunday, February 7, 2016

Parenting Tip - Chords for Your Family Song

I wrote a Music Tip blog post a few months ago about chord progressions and how popular music is so full of them.  Lots of rock songs use a 4 chord progression that is repeated over and over again. The chord progressions use root chords as well as 1st and 2nd inversions.  You don't really need to know what those kind of chords are to get the idea of this blog post, but I'll explain briefly.

A root chord is built on the 1st note of the scale (let's say C) then skips a note and uses the next note (E), then skips a note and uses the next note (G).  So C,E,G are the notes played in the root chord.  BUT, you can move their positions around.  If you "invert" the C and put it on top, you have a 1st inversion: EGC.  If you again invert the bottom note to the top, you have a 2nd inversion: GCE.  And if you do it once more, you're back to the root position CEG.  So you can tweak the chord and make it sound a little different, but you're still using the 3 basic notes.

Interesting, huh?

As I have been analyzing music, I have found the root chord plus the inversions EVERYWHERE!  In popular songs, in classical songs, in hymns, in folk songs.......and the reason is because those chords are the building blocks, the basics, the foundation which the music is built on.

I've been trying to get my students to internalize and understand and identify these chords inversions.  Why?  Because they can learn their songs so much easier.  They already know the chords, they know the notes, they know the fingering, and they can get right on to learning the right hand notes.  It makes learning to play the piano so much more enjoyable and easier when you already know the basics.

There are 73 different songs that all use the same chord progression.  The melodies are completely different, but the basic chord structure is exactly the same ( I would give you the you tube link to a funny group who demonstrates and sings these songs, but there's a lot of raunchy stuff there too, so I won't).

Which brings me to what I was thinking about this morning.  Those basic chords are like the basic things we are told to do in Church. Have family scripture reading.  Say family prayers.  Have Family Home Evening. Each family is different, so we sing a different melody according to our individual and family's needs, but we are still playing the same chords in the same progression.

Families with small children will read the scriptures in a different way than families with teenagers will. Empty nesters will read their scriptures different from the way a person living alone will.  But we will ALL read our scriptures.  The same holds true for how we hold Family Home Evening.  Get your family together, learn together, enjoy time together, but do it how it works best for your family, right now in your present circumstances. Raising a family is so much more enjoyable and easier when you know what foundation you should base it on. Your children will learn to sing their song so much easier when the basic "chords" are embedded in their routine. 

What does your family song sound like? Is it bouncy and lively?  Is it loud, or has it begun to slow down and get softer with age?  You are creating your own beautiful melody that is perfect for the chords in your song. Sing your song with the particular singers you have in your family right now, and if you sing it with the correct chord progression, you'll have a hit song on your hands.
Sing your song strong, and well and often.

Thanks for reading,



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