Favourite 2021 Videos

(Thumbnail being weird. Sorry!)


Despite the goings-on of 2021 away from your piano endeavours, I'd like to hope you had a successful musical year and that, perhaps, my videos were a tiny percent of that progress, both in terms of knowledge acquisition and skills enhancement.


As you may know, YouTube is diabolical when it comes to notifying subscribers of new content, so such articles are beneficial for you to catch up on missed content and me to know I'm reaching more people who enjoy what I put out... and scrape together some kind of a 'living'.

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I have selected my favourite video from each month of the year but be sure to check the main video list at your leisure. Some are part of a series (or playlist, so enjoy the other parts which are linked within the description of said video) and some are stand-alone.  Focusing on chords, finger independence and progressions is paramount so most of them relate to that, although a few song tutorials are thrown in.  Remember that tutorials are not necessarily about learning that particular song but taking the skills or theory therein and applying those to your own repertoire sources!

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Starting back in January, I have selected this video on one of my favourite jazz tunes: East of the Sun. I always want you to be able to play jazz repertoire with ease and the most important part of that is to master the chord progression away from the piano.  You need to have the piece on your internal jukebox but also be able to speak the changes to yourself numerically.  Since most jazz songs are quite similar, this usually just involves remembering small variations in the regular 6251, up a 4th and floating 251 ideas.  This piece is no different. Here is Part 1 to enjoy.


My choice for February is a mix of major scale mastery and chord types; two incredibly important things. Not only that, you get a nice finger work-out and can (should) do it eyes-closed.  You choose a master key, choose a chord type then play that chord type on the notes of the selected key. You get such a mix of major scale and chord work here, it should be a daily exercise.


My selection for March is on the topic of removing conscience interference. I propose two ideas: one is to play, an octave apart (always giving you a useful technical element!) absolutely anything from the chromatic scale by jumping around... just see what happens.  The next idea is a brain-breaker using the chromatic scale again which is only possible with eyes closed, natural limit and speeding up slowly. Very pleasing to be able to do it and experience no conscious interference.


April's choice is probably one of my most important videos on the channel, not just April! It comes with a PDF print-out and (nicely) forces you to get real about what you can and can't do, helping you to focus on what is important. No matter your path in music, you can't avoid the basics - just as in language, you need the most common verbs and basic vocabulary before you can enjoy diving into films and books to build vocab an expressions, otherwise you'll have huge gaps and develop bad habits.  If you don't like the other 11 choices in this list, please at least settle on this one!

 


Unfortunately, this video choice didn't get much traction back in May, even though the content is very important. Dynamics!  I provide you with some very nice ideas which help with individual finger control as well as just how to play more expressively.  I really liked making this video so hopefully this article will help it get some more views and you'll enjoy implementing what I talk about and demonstrate.

 

 

In June, I realised I was getting lots of comments from people who just wanted to be able to play fast. While I don't encourage you to just 'try to be fast', it can be fun and can be beneficial if you do it properly.  I propose ten technical ideas which enable you to watch your rapidity increase! As I say, good for fun but also useful if you really dedicate time to these ideas. You'll see results very quickly.


July's choice is a short, forgotten video which is a shame since many people like when I perform and in this, it's just me performing one of my compositions called Duna Autumn and talking over it naming the chords and highlighting a few things. The intention of this video was two-fold: to perform, as people like and to encourage discussion on technique... which didn't quite happen. Nevertheless, this is my choice for July and I hope you enjoy it.


I'm surprised that I made so many videos in August considering it was bloody hot. After some mild deliberation, I have settled on two videos: six, eyes-closed technical exercises and because many people like Ragtime, it seems, I made three ragtime videos too, the first of which is the second video below.  It was from this point also that I started to make thumbnails for my videos (which has hardly any effect on click-through rate of views, by the way).

 
 


A slightly cooler September choice is using the infamous jazz song Emily to apply some improvisation philosophies to. This didn't really get many views despite the important content which can be applied to any jazz repertoire so I hope, even if you don't care for the song (part 1 and 2 are provided in the description since it's a tutorial analysis), that you'll apply the ideas to your own repertoire. The emphasis is on being melodic and not dry.

 
October had quite a lot of videos too but my selection is perhaps the most immediately useful: my go-to 'muscle memory' chords but instead of overwhelming you, I simply provide one chord for each key. Since I've shared them in this way, you would do well to also get them pretty instantly into your fingers since they're only muscle memory ones for me because they appeared a lot in my piano life... so why not learn them too?  Of course you can go further and learn certain chord types in other keys but this is a good start.  Perhaps identify your own, too?


November's choice is a common problem topic: dealing with the little finger when it's the melody note and a chord is below it (to the left) in the same hand.  I include the ring finger too since that's commonly used as a top-note melody player. I also provide a chord poking exercise which helps to recognise chord inversions without actually having to remember them all individually.

 


To end my list with December's choice, it must be the infamous song Can't Take My Eyes off You but a tutorial (and performance) of the version I heard in the series Money Heist.  You of course don't need to know the series but in the video's description, I provide the original then the MH version (plus another version I knew from 12 or so years ago).  I really encourage you to give this a try since everyone knows it and the chord progression, despite not being a 'jazz song', is exactly a jazz chord progression so it was very easy to learn.

 


I wish you all the best for 2022 both at and away from the piano and thank you for your support, either financially via Patreon or having purchased something, or simply by taking the time to watch my content which also helps!  Videos shall continue and as always, likes, comments and subscriptions are always welcome!  Be sure to also join for free my Video Management Website to help you navigate my ever-growing collection. You also get a 20% discount on my Water Pianism Syllabus (PDF) if you join it!