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About the
Pop-Piano Method

I've developed the piano training that I wish I'd had as a teenager

Students (and parents) often ask:  "Are there any books with songs that we KNOW." 

I know what they mean.  The lesson books and "popular" song books available at the Easy Piano level don't always offer songs they're familiar with, or with simplified  arrangements that aren't musically satisfying.

And the more advanced Piano/Vocal books of current pop-artists are too difficult to sight-read, with syncopated rhythms meant to replicate  guitar, bass, and drum parts recorded by a full band that simply don't translate well into a piano arrangement.

A number of my students (most have been taking piano for 2-3 years) surprise me with songs they've "taught themselves" off of YouTube that demonstrate visually on the piano keyboard how to play chords and melody lines.

The "problem" here is  that  students usually have no idea "what" chords they are playing ... and what they're playing by ear and rote (touch and repetition)  is ahead of their musical understanding.  Their playing is also "choppy" and out of time.

IT REMINDS ME OF MYSELF  WHEN I WAS A TEEN playing my favorite radio hits on the piano by ear (but without the aid of YouTube)!  My traditional teachers, bless them, were clueless!  They stuck to the books, the methods, and classical and traditional repertoire -- which I mostly enjoyed --but I WANTED TO PLAY (AND SING) MY MUSIC, too.

Playing "my music"  by ear led me into experimenting and creating my own songs or melodies. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started learning the art of songwriting and took myself seriously as a songwriter, which led to recording CDs and performing my original music.

I've combined my traditional piano playing with my knowledge of popular songwriting and years experience writing songs, playing with  rock and country bands, into a method that will give my students the advantage I didn't personally have back when I was a budding musician. 

I've had success in private lessons working with piano students and vocal students who play the piano, teaching them chord structure and music theory as they learn to play their favorite pop songs.  This musical understanding makes it easier to play, and molds them into true "musicians" with a skill that will bring enjoyment of music for a lifetime.

Adding the craft  of "songwriting" opens creative channels and leads to a deeper understanding of the art and form of current popular music.  They'll learn to identify different elements of a song, chord changes, how lyrics shape the rhythm and melody.  We'll analyze song structures and get inspired to create our own music.  Even if students don't write their own songs, they'll be "educated listeners"  AND be able to  play the chords to  songs they hear and enjoy.

Now I can offer budding musicians and songwriters of any age the advantage I've often wished I'd had when taking lessons as teen.  Students will benefit from my methods for learning to play the piano without having to be a great sight reader (music notation), and how to accompany themselves singing without reading notes on the staff and playable  piano arrangements.

Questions about Pop-Method  Lessons:

Generally, students from 13 years through adult, or as  young as 11 or12, depending on ability.

The student ideally will have 2-3 years piano, or be able to play songs by ear without formal lessons and know the note-key locations on the piano (A B C D E F G).   A knowledge of music through piano lessons, chorus or other  musical instrument is a definite advantage.  The student must  have coordination for playing with two hands.  Being able to read notes on the staff helps, but is not absolutely necessary.  Normally, it's easier to learn to play the pop-method with previous piano lessons.  But it's also an opportunity to learn piano and music basics for someone who plays more by ear and doesn't have previous piano  lessons.
If in doubt, an interview is recommended prior to signing up for lessons.

The pop-method is a different method than what's generally considered  classical/traditional  piano. The pop-method can be learned  in addition to strictly "classical".    Learning the Pop Method will enhance the pianist's ability for playing a different style of music by ear.  Pop music involves learning chord structure, without necessarily reading notes on the staff.  It expands the sight-reader's  ability to play by ear and knowledge of music theory, playing from "fake" books (chord and melody lines) and exposes students  to the craft and art of pop-songwriting.  Being able to read notation is a foundation for faster understanding and ability to play the pop-method. 

Yes.  The student decides what songs to learn.  Part of how we learn a song is by listening to the artist's recording (online or CD).   Lyrics are needed for making lyric/chord sheets.  Printed  sheet music for piano/vocal/guitar, if available, can be used.  Some songs translate into pop-piano arrangements better than others.   Eventually, students will learn how to play songs on their own using this method. 

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