Wonder How I Do This?

Two videos show you how...

You could buy an arrangement of this famous song and play how the arranger wants you to play; or you could find the melody by ear, recognise the chord progression by ear (and maybe a bit of trial and error at the piano, perhaps) and then play it how You want: embellishing the melody, choosing your own nicer chords and even improvising over the changes like a jazz tune.

Part 1 below shows you how I find the melody by ear and orientate myself in a key (C, for ease of viewership), while also playing chords which seem to be logical or which are obviously correct.  This is all only possible, with any repertoire, once the song is on your internal jukebox. After all, if you don't know it in your mind, you can't hope to play it at the piano!

Identify the melody 'within the scale'; in other words, see where it 'hangs out'.  ISL hangs out around 12345 of the master key, so that's useful information when wanting to transpose for whatever reason.  Know that most chords follow the 251 up a fourth logic and guess what: this song is no different!  It starts on the 6th (like many jazz songs), and goes... and goes... oh, what a surprise:  6 2 5 1 ... up a fourth!  It then does a floating 51 onto the 6th (A in the key of C, so E to Am) with the 5 being an augmented (nice 5>1 chord type).  The 5 back to the 1 of the main song is done via a sus4... also nice.
Once you know the melody and chords, you can sra

Here's the video in full:

When and only when you have mastered the melody and chord progression (especially away from the piano), you can abandon the melody and improvise.  Part 2 below details how to do that but for a little overview:

Improvisation must begin simultaneously from three points: theoretical (so you know which notes will work and why), rhythmically (so it feels good, even if you know what notes to play) and in a personalised way (meaning, don't copy what someone else did or tells you to do... see what comes naturally through your fingers from your inspirational source).

A nice way to start is by playing only one note over all the changes.  Each time the chord changes, the value of the note will change.  C, for example, is the minor of A, the b7 of D, the sus4 of G and the root of C.  Playing it rhythmically makes it much more interesting than just bom bom bom bom on the first beat.  Then, add another... and another, until you start to make little melodic ideas using, at first, notes of the chord.  Then you might land on or start from 'notes of interest' (9, 13, b5, etc).

So as you see, there is theory but at the end of the day, you must play You, even if what you feel does go through a 'theory filter'.

Here's the video in full:

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