Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Learn how to play a few Holiday songs

This is a great time of year to take a few piano lessons and learn to play some holiday songs.

Most people I talk with at my shows have one or more of the following reasons they'd like to play the piano but think they can't:

1) I'm too old and/or too busy to start.
2) I don't know how to read music and/or I can't play by ear.

The first reason is, if we were talking about a career playing complex music, possibly true. But if we're talking about playing at home and/or parties for fun, it's not at all true. Learning to play a few tunes with easily remembered arrangements doesn't take a lot of time, and doesn't depend on some sort of youth factor (great memory, flexibility, etc.)

The second reason (don't read music) is also not true. You can play a lot of piano without learning what all those little black dots mean! Knowing how to read can be helpful, and if you do there will be things you'll be able to do, but for the task of learning to play very adequate piano, you don't need it. There is another system call piano tablature which takes, not exaggerating, five minutes to learn and that's it.

Virtually all classical musicians know how to read (though not necessarily particularly well) but we're talking about a much simpler form of music, the holiday song, based on relatively simple chords and melodies. We'll start with Holy Night or something equally easy and slow, you'll see how quickly you'll be able to learn it and other tunes.

As for playing by ear, that doesn't mean what most people think it means. I suppose it means you sit down and just play the notes your ear wants to hear. That is not a thing! Or, if it is, it's so rare that it can easily be dismissed as a requirement. I almost think it's an idea musicians have promoted in order to keep people from trying to compete with them!

So give me a call if you're interested in learning a few tunes before the end of the year. I will not pressure you, you can call and chat at (of course) no charge. I'm very interested in getting people over their doubts about their ability to learn to play music, whether or not they decide to take some lessons or not.

I teach in my home in Wellesley.

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