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April 12, 2008

eNotes - Saturday, April 12


Well, I am sorry to be the object of your jealousy, but I am heading off to sunny (I pray) Florida in a couple of days. I wanted to send this eNotes out to you before I left. Actually, pretty much everyone I know or at least 50% have already escaped south. Does that include you? Let's see . . . friends have traveled to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina, and California. It appears my family and I are the last to hop on that wagon. Better late than never (that's for sure!)

I've got a couple of things to mention to you that I am quite excited about.

I have just finished recording and writing my latest CD and book program entitled "The Piano Express". It is a beginner method for learning how to play popular music. If you aren't quite ready for the "Playing with Style" program but you took the Instant Piano for Hopelessly Busy People class, then this is for you. You will learn how to construct major, minor, seventh and minor seventh chords. You will also learn how to transpose and play two accompaniment patterns. Nine songs are included to teach you how to play from a fake book.

It's all at the graphic designer's right now, so it should be ready to go by mid-May. The price will be $25. I'll send out more information to you as the time rolls around.

Taking a Survey

I have a new program that I will be starting in a few weeks. Instead of having adults come to ME for their lessons, I will go to you. The program is called "LunchLessons - Piano for the Busy Professional". It will consist of four 45-minute lessons held during the lunch hour at various companies. Students will bring their own keyboards and the lessons will be conducted in groups of 5-10 people, depending upon the interest. The text would be "The Piano Express". I would private brownies for dessert. Here are its selling points.

* It would provide students with a convenient time and space for piano lessons that they might otherwise not be able to schedule
* It is a great de-stressor for employees
* It is a fun way for employees to connect with each other outside of the traditional channels (don't they call this team-building?!)

I'd LOVE to hear what you think. It will only take 15 seconds to answer yes or no to two questions plus you will see the results of other people's responses. Here is the link.

Upcoming Classes

On May 3rd, I will be teaching "Shower Singing in Public" and "Instant Piano for Hopelessly Busy People" at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Cambridge, MA. I believe there are still some openings in each class! Have fun on warm spring (that's debatable, I know) day, take yourself out for a lovely lunch in Harvard Square and spend the morning or afternoon with me again! I'd love to see you. Here's the link.
The Cambridge Center for Adult Education
A few words about Accompanying

If you are interested in accompanying yourself while you are singing, there are some basic rules you need to remember.

* When playing to accompany yourself or someone else singing, less is more. In other words, don't get too elaborate. Your job as the accompaniest is to support the singer and not get in their way. This doesn't mean that you don't play with interesting voicings and rhythmic patterns. Quite the opposite. Just don't play alot while the singer is singing.

* Leave out the melody. Whoever is singing will provide that. That's their job!

* During measures, when the singer isn't singing, it sounds great to use the melodic material that the singer has just sung. You can imitate their riffs/phrases exactly, or change them in some way, so it sounds like you are having a kind of musical conversation.

* You need to always work out an introduction and ending for your song. I often use the last 4 measures of the main tune (called the "head tune") as my intro.

* Don't be afraid of just holding chords when accompanying for a ballad. You don't need to use rolls and arpeggios. Simple beautiful chords are quite often enough.

For more cool ideas for accompanying, check out "Playing With Style". It has 21 different accompaniment tricks and licks. Playing With Style
Well, as usual, I've enjoyed our time together. Take care, my friends, and, as always, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments you have.

Goodbye, arrividarci, au revoir, "I'm going to Disneyland" as they say in the Superbowl. (That's NOT where I'm going, but I just like to say that).


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