One of my biggest frustrations as a teacher is to see students take shortcuts. Always taking the quickest route and using hack methods seem like a quick win, but in the long run, you miss out on so much.
What adds to the frustration is to know that it only takes a few simple steps to unlock long-term concepts and skills. Musically, paying attention to small details can ultimately determine whether you learn to play by ear, improvise, transpose, and perform other skills that mean so much as a musician.
Simple, but important details
Some of those details include:
- Clearly identifying the key of a song. Until you know the key of a song, there’s no basis for relating the chords and notes in a song.
- Learn the scale for the song’s key. When you do this, you begin to have a framework for how the song (and any other song) works. You learn which notes you can use to improvise and alter chords. And it will set you up for the next step…
- Figure out which scale notes your chords are built on, and think of your chords in terms of numbers. The chord built on the fourth note of a scale sounds and functions the same in every key. Same with the chord built on the sixth scale note. Pay attention to these numbers, and eventually you will begin to hear the connections in every song, making it easy to play by ear and transpose.
- Learn every inversion of every chord. When you encounter a new chord (especially a cool one!) don’t just learn to play it one way. Teach your fingers how to play it in any position.
Once you get started with these strategies, they take almost no time at all, but they pay huge dividends. Scroll down for a video tutorial on these strategies.
Don’t sell yourself short
Ultimately, musicians who rely on hack methods sell themselves short. For whatever reason, they’ve chosen to listen to a voice that says, “You don’t have what it takes to do this right.” I believe that you do have what it takes!
For more help in establishing your foundation for these big-time musical skills, check out Fluent Piano Chords and Fluent Piano Melodic. They will efficiently walk you through all the steps you need to achieve your musical goals – the right way!