Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Music Tip - Popular 4 chord Songs

I've been teaching my piano students chord inversions to prepare them for playing the 4 chord songs I've been giving them.  My pre-teen and teen piano students are loving them--the songs, not the chord inversions!

For some students, I give them just the chords for hands alone until they are comfortable playing them--usually one week--then I give them the whole song.  For other students, I give them the whole song, but first have them play the chords, hands alone, so they can understand the chord progression.  I also reinforce the correct fingering and point out that it is always the 2nd inversion (for the left hand) that changes and uses the 2nd finger instead of the 3rd finger.

The whole point to these songs is to show a simple 4 chord progression that is repeated throughout the song, thus making the song EASY to learn and FUN to play.  It "hooks" my reluctant learners. 

"Piano Man" is a popular song that I give my students first.  I teach the left hand chords, then I play the melody while they play the chords.  This gets them interested in learning both hands, plus, if they're not familiar already with the melody, it helps them learn what it sounds like. The first week all they practice are the left hand chord progressions, which sound pretty cool and they all come back playing them really well.

The second week I play the melody while they play the left hand again, just to reinforce the song/melody.  Then I have them play just the melody line by themselves.  Next I play the left hand chords while they play the melody.  Dueting a song is SO IMPORTANT because it helps the student hear how the left and right hand coordinate the sounds together. Finally, I have them play both hands together.  This whole process takes about 5-8 minutes of their lesson time. They go home and practice both hands together and whola, when they come back the next week, it always sounds pretty darn good!  I can tell they have practiced--which is my aim!

By the way, did I mention I have been using my smart phone during piano lessons a lot?  I use it to introduce a popular song I want my student to learn to play.  I play the song on you tube (finding appropriate views, first) so they can get interested in the song.  Sometimes they've heard it before and sometimes they haven't, but hey, getting to watch a you tube cover song during piano lessons is a real grabber and motivator for my students!

Here is my arrangement of "Piano Man".  Enjoy!!

Thanks for reading, offer any suggestions you might have on the music.
Cathy

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1 comment:

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