A Look Back

Early, still useful videos tour!

I started my YouTube channel because I felt that I could bring something new to the world of piano education: philosophy and focusing on the mind.  As the channel approaches 100,000 subscribers, it appears that quite a few people appreciate this mentality and following thousands of comments and emails and feedback, I have come to learn that many have made significant changes, improvements and rectifications in their thinking, both at and away from the piano and also away from music itself.  I am, of course, delighted that the teachings have had such an effect on so many and shall endeavour to maintain this trajectory.

The point of this article is to go back in time to mid-2014 (!) when I uploaded my first educational video and then share some favourites with you to watch, with a beg for your forgiveness at the video quality!  It's quite interesting for me to hear myself discussing the same principles which I went on to refine and make foundational to the Water Pianism philosophy, as it became known.  

The video below is the first video I uploaded and discusses what I now call 'the four primary chord types'.  I fix a little naming issue with the the dominant 7th and encourage you to play all four primary chord types in each key.  I also even mention "emotional connections" to the chord types, which is a now very popular video (see here) and philosophy.  It is only 6 minutes in duration.

Looking back, I see that I focused on jazz rather than total piano beginners but that slowly changed.  One useful jazz video I made from those first few is the one shared below in which I present a structured, analysable method for starting out with improvisation.  Often, books and other videos just give you tons of scales to use but that's useless because you still need to know what to do with the 'pool of notes', rather than just having 'the pool of notes'... much like a painter who may have a colourful palette and nice brushes yet no idea how to paint a picture!  This is a paint-by-numbers kind of thing, to get you started.

After a while, I started to get requests for jazz repertoire tutorials and decided very early on to not simply teach 'how to play the song' but to learn something else in particular, using the song as a framework.  The first tutorial I was asked to make was for the song All the Things You Are. That video is posted below.  Again, even in the early days of the channel, I was encouraging you to master the chord progression numerically, based on the master key, as well as reinforcing the oh so repeated chord progression of 6 2 5 1 and the idea of 'moving up a fourth'. I go on to share some improvisation ideas.

On the 4th of July, a date of significance, I started my piano videos for beginners after having done quite a lot of jazz content.  I was receiving nice messages but people felt that I was missing a trick by not sharing my philosophical approach with beginners in general.  The first video, of course, focused on major scales!  I also encourage you to find your weakest fingers and to focus on your 'emotional centre'.  I mention what I now call 'conscious interference', encourage you to identify your musical personality and other such philosophies which are absolutely foundational to the Water Pianism philosophy.  I think you'll enjoy it!

I will end this hopefully interesting article with the video below which was a surprise to some because it was part of the beginner's course I started in the video above:  Liszt's Liebestraum #3!  I wanted beginners to understand that traditionally difficult pieces are not difficult when dissected; what I now call the 'dissection philosophy' - one acquires (and masters) what they need, when they need it - it doesn't matter how much dissection is needed based on the 'difficulty' of the piece.  Liebestraum contains so many useful techniques which can be mastered away from the piece and applied to other repertoire.  The video, therefore, is a kind of 'Oh yea?' attack on those who follow the very debilitating mentality of 'it's too hard for you'... and as you know, I will not accept or let you accept such negative nonsense!!!  This song is stretched out over 7 parts, with a full performance at the end of video 7 if you wish to go and find that.

So as we can see, the channel has always promoted a mindful approach to piano playing, with focus on major scale mastery, self-awareness and following a path with is suitable to your nature and abilities.  Be sure to also see my newer content and don't get too caught up in the past videos because many things have been refined thanks to feedback and my own realisations.  Of particular note is this 'Subscriber Requests' playlist, which is a mix of all kinds of content, along with my new free podcast playlist for learning away from the piano.

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