Telephone: 248-560-9200

FOUR SONGS IN FOUR WEEKS

WHAT MAKES THIS METHOD QUICKER AND EASIER THAN NOTE READING?

The really difficult thing about reading notes in piano music is how many notes you have to read all at once, and the fact that you have a bass clef and a treble clef to read at the same time (and these clefs are both read differently). The chord method we teach only requires a student to read one note at a time and only uses the treble clef, totally eliminating the need for the bass clef (we use chord symbols instead).

WHY DON’T PRIVATE PIANO INSTRUCTORS TEACH PIANO THIS WAY?

The main reason most private piano instructors do not use this method of instruction is that the emphasis in private piano instruction has always been (and for some reason continues to be) playing classical music exclusively. Classical music is very precise and requires students to learn the note reading method. Pop music (styles other than classical) is not nearly as precise and requires the pianist to exercise more freedom in playing. That is the main reason all professional piano players (who play “pop” styles) always use the chord method.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE COMING TO YOUR CLASS?

The class is absolutely a beginning class in playing, using chords. Some knowledge of the treble clef is helpful but not always necessary. If you have no knowledge at all of the treble clef, you can be sent a study guide to use before the class meets or wait until the first class meets.

DOES A PERSON NEED TO HAVE TAKEN PRIVATE PIANO LESSONS FIRST BEFORE ATTENDING THE “FOUR SONGS IN FOUR WEEKS” CLASS?

Many people who attend our class have had some lessons first. Many have never had a lesson before. Even those who have had lessons have to recognize that what we teach is usually very different from what they received in private instruction, so it is really not necessary to have taken lessons first.

WHAT CAN I REALISTICALLY EXPECT TO DO AFTER TAKING YOUR COURSE?

We will teach you the three basic types of chords that music is built around. We will show you how to play simple chords in your left hand and simple melodies in your right hand and with a little work, you will be able to play simple tunes with both hands at the end of the class (don’t quit your day job). You will be encouraged to go out and purchase the “fake” book of your choice and begin working on your favorite songs right away. This method is all based on hearing and imitating, not note reading, and you will be able to perfect your techniques using these materials.
WHAT IS A “FAKE” BOOK?

This term was invented years ago by some disgruntled note reader that didn’t like the idea of someone playing without reading notes (and now we are stuck with the term!) There is nothing fake about playing using a fake book. It is just a different way of communicating music. Fake books use only a melody line in the treble clef and chord symbols above the melody line (no bass clef). It is like an outline of the song and the piano player improvises the rest. This method allows the pop musician much more freedom in playing.

WHY DO PROFESSIONALS WHO PLAY “POP” MUSIC ALWAYS USE THIS METHOD RATHER THAN THE NOTE READING METHOD?

Note reading works just fine for classical music because that is what it was designed for, but this type of musical communication has its limitations. How do you write a “blues” note down on a page? It can’t be done. What do you write when the rhythm requires you to play on a beat that does not mathematically fit the note method? (just a little before the downbeat, or between some other beats in the measure?) This is also not possible with notes written in the traditional fashion. So pop musicians, who need this kind of freedom invented this chord method of playing to give them this freedom.

DOES THIS METHOD WORK FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC?

There are classical “fake” books that would allow you to play classical music using this method, but this is not the correct way to play classical music. We tell people the correct way to play pop music is to use the chord method. The correct way to play classical music is to use the note reading method.

I’M IN THE MARKET FOR PURCHASING AN INSTRUMENT. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND-A PIANO OR A KEYBOARD? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The tones produced by a piano are acoustic. They are produced by a felt hammer hitting a string. The tones produced by an electronic keyboard are electronically produced and are designed to imitate this acoustic sound. Keyboards are much better today than they were years ago and you would have a difficult time distinguishing a good keyboard from a piano. Keyboards also give you the advantage of being able to use a headphone for privacy and they also have many other features and sounds. Many include drum machines inside the keyboard. Still, there’s nothing like a really nice grand piano. You have to weigh your preferences and your budget.

To register for a class, call Dianne Cragg at (248) 229-0403 or email at [email protected]

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  • Steinway Piano Gallery Store of Detroit
    2700 E. West Maple Road
    Commerce Township, MI 48390 (M-5 & Maple road, just west of Haggerty)
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  • PHONE

    248-560-9200

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  • EMAIL ADDRESS

    [email protected]