Missed Content

A few videos you may enjoy...

I posted quite a lot of videos in quick succession recently so there is a chance that you were not notified of them.  Or, if you're new to my channel, you may still be stuck in the past looking at the older videos YouTube so often promotes (to both our detriment).  Not only would I like for you to see them because they're beneficial but because the content is very applicable to both daily practice and self-discovery.  Below, I share four of them and why you would do well to watch them, along with some specific or expanded discussion on each.

The first video I'd like to highlight is on the topic of chord mastery.  It is so important to be able to recognise and memorise chord progressions at and away from the piano - especially away since this results in reduced conscious interference at the piano.  Sure, there is the almighty 36251, up a 4th, floating 251 chord progression knowledge which you must know (video here) and that will help you to recognise and memorise many, many jazz and pop songs but the focus in this new video is more on helping you get used to memorising progressions, especially those which are slightly outside the box or which slightly alter the standard progressions mentioned above.

The exercise goes like this:  pick a number of chords in your progression (let's say 5); choose from 1-7 (as if a major scale but don't pick the key yet) randomly as if composing (2 3 7 4) and memorise (again, no key yet, just the numerical sequence); now pick a key (A major); apply the results as major triads or correctly the diatonic chord type depending on your level (Bm7, C#m7, G#M7, DM7); visualise these away from the piano and master the progression away from the piano, only going to it when truly confident with your internal piano playing them; take it to the next level by applying random chord types to test yourself (Bm7b5, C# augmented, G#6, D7sus) and again, only go to the piano once you've mastered the progression and shapes in your chosen key.  Then, try the same results in a few keys at and away from the piano.  You're training your brain to memorise patterns, see chord shapes and play fluently at the piano... a true Water Pianist if there ever was one!

The second video challenges you to experiment with different creative techniques (which benefit your playing actual repertoire) on how to play a melody, your own or a known one, in as many ways as possible.  You are encouraged to use all fingers, not to think about left hand/right hand only does this/that and to apply some chord knowledge, rhythm, time signatures and key change practice (transposition) as well.

Even using a chosen scale (but a melody is probably more enjoyable for most, especially if it's your own), you can do what I propose in this video.  For example, play the melody one or two octaves apart using only one finger (the same or different on each hand).  This isn't as easy as you may think.  What about octaves?  Octave precision, in both hands, simultaneously and independently, is so very important; they can be opened ascending or open descending, or closed.  What about staccato and legato?  Eyes closed?  In terms of adding chords, play the melody with either hand and using the other, play only the major then minor triad chords along with it.  This is a very useful and brain-challenging thing to do and is made all the better if you change the time signature too!  What about applying one chord type to each note that you don't know so you can get some practice in of seeing that chord type in different keys (caused by the melody involving different notes).

You can also practise left-hand specific accompanying ideas such as open chords, stride or walking bass over chord types.  The key to doing all this is personalisation!  A Water Pianist is never bored when practising or performing because they are playing in a way which is true to themselves.

This third video becomes challenging but it's perhaps my favourite topic: note value awareness (NVA).  I encourage you to pick a melody (using at least 3-5 notes; the longer the better) and to choose chords which contain the melody note, starting simply (major/minor triads), then the four primary chord types (M7, 7, m7, mM7) then maybe the 6th, half- and whole diminished and sus2, sus4 chords... then go outside the octave and use extensions and alterations thereof!  See?  It gets more challenging but it yet another great way towards chord mastery and seeing chords in different keys while mastering chord types.

Taking an example of the above with just three notes in the melody, C, Eb, F, we would begin by playing their major and minor triads (however you wish, wherever you wish), then considering a chord where the C is, for example, the 9th... C is the ninth of A so play an A chord type using C as the 9th.  Eb as the 13th?  Easy:  Gb, so play Gb7 with that Eb on top.  The F as 6th?  That's Ab, so play, for example, Abm with the F: Abm6.  You see?  So many brain paths are being activated here:  chord types, major scale mastery, NVA, fingering practice, inversions (if you wish), internal piano reinforcement, progression practice, ...

Finally, some ragtime.  This video is not to teach you ragtime repertoire necessarily, it is to help with hand independence and stride is a great way to break your brain.  Traditionally, stride is done with the left hand but the rhythm of ragtime comes from within, not just the left hand!  So, why not play ragtime in reverse!?  You'll find it comes to you quite quickly, especially if you use a metronome to find your natural limit.

I'd also like to take this article opportunity to inform you of my new playlists.  I created seven new ones which contain every video on my channel, no matter whether or not the videos already appeared in other playlists.  You can see an article on them, plus links, here.

My Way Tutorial on how to play it Your Way!