I was just a normal kid growing up in Florida when I decided I wanted to play piano.
My mom signed me up for lessons and soon I was going once a week to sit and play scales with 'Miss Bernice.
' I was too young to realize how much it was really costing my parents.
At first, I loved it...
it was fun being the center of attention for a couple weeks.
But pretty soon I realized that this was NOT really music.
It was scales.
And it was SLOW.
I would work on reading notes and doing my scales for hours every day, but it was just sooooo slow to give me any desired musical results.
It wasn't long before I was putting LPs on the 'record player' and learning the songs I loved...
through trial and error.
I literally had to invent my own little "system" to get the songs off of the LPs and into my fingers to keep myself motivated while I kept learning to read music.
I'll tell you a little about that in a minute.
Meanwhile, I kept going to my lessons (I'm glad I did, because that's where I learned how to read regular music off a page...
hard as that was.
) The drills were boring and difficult, but I stuck with it.
KEEPING THE MUSIC ALIVE The trick, I found out, was to do enough "music" to keep me interested while I was learning to read! My most musical experience was learning by listening, at least at first.
It was me, my LPs, and my piano.
That's where I first discovered chords! Those are what first set me free to play what I heard and felt.
(If you're a total beginner, chords are when you play several notes at the same time that sound good together.
) I won a Grammy in 2005, I've played on Broadway, and I've literally travelled the world playing piano.
But to this day, the most fulfilling thing for me is simply sitting and playing what's in my heart and head.
So I mentioned my little "learning system.
" What was so important about that? It gave me 'speed of learning' by keeping me motivated.
I was able to learn and play songs before I had the skills to read those songs.
This kept me going when just doing scales might have shut down my motivation.
While I was doing the hard work of learning how to read music (at my lessons), I could still come home and learn (very quickly) how to play and enjoy whole songs, because I was learning chords and how they worked! It's that system of learning chords, (along with a LOT more) that I teach in my Learn & Master Piano course.
And I've taught literally thousands of people to play.
They follow the system...
MY FIRST 'QUICK' SECRET I wanted to give you some 'high-yield' secrets.
If you were sitting next to me at my piano, I'd tell you these same things.
Here's my #1 tip: LEARN THE MOST IMPORTANT PATTERN FIRST! And what is that pattern? "Ebony and Ivory" The repeating Black and White pattern that runs the length of the keyboard is your friend.
The first thing you want to do is learn your way around the keyboard itself.
Fortunately, that's easy...
just look at the black notes! There's a repeating pattern of 3 black notes and 2 black notes, all along that sea of white notes.
Those are how you know where you are! The truth is...
you really only need to learn 7 letter names! The notes are called by letter names (A through G).
The white notes are just those letter names, repeated all up and down the keyboard.
OK, there really are 12 notes...
when you count the black notes too.
But I can't cover those in this email.
The point is...
it doesn't take long to learn which note is which.
For instance, the white note just to the left of the 2 black notes closest to the middle of your piano is called...
" But remember...
that's not the only C.
EVERY white note to the immediate left of a 2-black-note pair is also C! Every note just to the left of a 3-black-note group is an F.
At first, you don't even need the note names to make music.
But you need to be familiar with that repeating pattern...
2-black, then 3-black, then 2-black, etc.
I teach you all the tricks for learning the notes quickly in my course, Learn & Master Piano.
But for now, just get familiar with the pattern.