Jazz Piano Chords

Jazz-Piano-ChordsThe exploration of jazz piano chords is an important part of your journey toward more creative cocktail piano playing. Of course, the benefits go beyond the scope of playing cocktail piano. In short, the more you learn about jazz piano chords, the more interesting your playing becomes from a harmonic standpoint.

It’s one thing to learn how to play cocktail piano in a confident fashion using basic chords like triads and 7th chords (and, as I have emphasized time and time again, much satisfaction can be gained by playing in this fashion). It’s quite another when you begin incorporating some of those tasteful jazz piano chords into those standard tunes of yours.

For the most part, when the topic of jazz piano chords is brought up, the discussion inevitably must lead to the subject of chord voicings. You see, when it comes to playing chords on the piano in their most basic positions, jazz players will often opt out and, instead, pursue more creative ways of getting that harmony across. This is true more often than not. Let’s consider an example:

Let’s say that you are playing Erroll Garner’s Misty in the key of Eb. After the pickup notes, the first melody note in the first measure is a D and the chord is Ebmaj7. That chord in its most basic form looks like this:

Eb G Bb D

Now, this works just fine. However, a creative cocktail pianist or jazz player may opt for something with a little more substance. Also, I would like to mention here that playing a chord that sounds more substantial does not necessarily mean playing more notes. As an example, one tasteful way to approach this chord with this melody note might look like this:

D    (right hand)
G
____

Bb    (left hand)
Eb

Here is an example of a chord voicing that utilized the exact same notes as the basic chord does. However, you’ll notice that they are arranged differently. Go ahead and play that Eb and Bb with the left hand and, above that, play the G and D with the right hand. Here we have what is referred to as an open voicing. You can see that the melody note is actually the top note of this chord voicing. Surely, you can hear a significant difference when playing the basic chord and then playing this voicing for Ebmaj7!

This is just one example of how to enhance your cocktail piano playing by incorporating more spicy ways to play those chords. As you make it part of your routine to learn more and more about jazz piano chords and voicings, you will find that there’s no turning back… you’ll just want to engage yourself deeper and deeper into this art form. Now, that’s a sign of artistry in the making!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

Learn Cocktail Piano:
A Few Tips

You are taking the initiative to learn cocktail piano, so if you are looking for a few helpful suggestions, I would like to take this time to offer some input. Often, I will receive a question similar to: “What is the minimum I should know in order to play in a fashion that sounds tasteful?”:earn To Play Cocktail Piano

Of course, the answer to this question is relative to what you think sounds tasteful. However, the short answer is yes. As you learn cocktail piano and remain open to learning and implementing finer techniques and strategies, you can indeed gain some satisfactory results by placing your focus on how you use what you know.

Even if you know only basic triads (three-note chords), if are able to play a melody to a favorite song of yours, you can achieve some results that are quite tasteful. Again, it is how you present what you know musically. I had a lot of fun creating a number of programs that help along this line. In particular, there are two series that you may consider looking into and you may find it quite helpful to start with #1 of each series:

1) How To Play Standard Songs With Confidence

2) 1-2-3 Cocktail Piano

The first above will emphasize the importance of learning that melody and will have you enjoying an appreciation of how little you really need to know in order to look forward to some pretty nice results. The second will have you embarking on a step-by-step journey that will show you how to not only start sounding good relatively quickly but will have you “layering” one technique upon another so you sound more and more tasteful as you proceed.

Also available is a Cocktail Piano Starter Pack which includes #1 from each of these series as well as three other programs that are sure to serve as inspiration toward your cocktail piano playing development. One of these focuses on learning your 7th chords in a very basic way. Once you have a handle on your basic 7th chords, the doors are open for you to make progress that can be quite palatable, especially when this knowledge is combined with your experience with the other programs.

I will state once again that cocktail piano is a way of playing rather than a particular style. It is my aim to have you appreciating yourself and your ability right from the start. It is this kind of approach that will have you maintaining the energy and enthusiasm necessary to take yourself through more and more levels of maturity in your playing as time progresses. Let’s face it: if you are gaining the rewards for your efforts, you will automatically have the incentive to keep exploring this creative musical potential of yours!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

 

Cocktail Piano Tutorial Videos

The cocktail piano tutorial videos that I have created were intended to serve as genuine “over the shoulder” type sessions. Even with all the private one-on-one piano lessons I have had the good fortune of taking advantage of, I must admit that a significant amount of what I have learned in the way of cocktail piano styling techniques came from what I refer to as those “lucky moments” when I had the opportunity to meet up with a professional player during one of his breaks and ask questions and get actual demonstrations! For the most part, I was faced with generosity from such people, since like interests tend to “click” and most pros are happy to help those interested when the chance arises.Cocktail Piano Tutorial Videos

Some of these episodes only lasted for about two or three minutes but when you get to look over the shoulder of a pro player who is actually willing to share specifics in line with your interests, it’s amazing what you can walk away with. Well, since I also have a real appreciation for those who aspire to learn this art form, I thought to myself, “If I was able to benefit from sessions that lasted only two or three minutes but focused on exactly what I wanted to learn, what would it be like for others who got to take advantage of looking over my shoulder for much longer time frames?”

The result is my growing library of cocktail piano tutorials that are available to people worldwide. I’m happy to say that the feedback has been wonderful. Truly, I am grateful for the opportunity I continue to have as I get to communicate with people from all over the world with similar interests. I have people like you to thank for the many learning tools I have made available since it is your questions and commentary that lead to more and more of these video sessions that  focus on exactly what people are looking for in this area of cocktail piano.

I intend to create more of these tutorials and I most certainly look forward to your continued input as it’s your specific needs and desires that determine the content of these learning sessions. So, allow me to tip my hat off to you as I express my gratitude!

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

 

So, You Want To Play Cocktail Piano?

Play Cocktail Piano!You want to play cocktail piano. You’ve decided to explore the art form  and you want a place to begin. I’m excited for you! One thing I would like to emphasize here is that, though this may be just a beginning for you, that does not mean that your early days playing in a cocktail piano style need to be anything less than satisfactory.

Learn To Play Cocktail Piano With The Right Attitude

You see, I believe that the experience should be fun and fulfilling right from the beginning. I realize that some people may be a bit reluctant to dive right in and start creating music due to the idea they have adopted that they must learn everything about what they aspire to play before they actually begin the actual playing. This is not the case! As a matter of fact, I created a significant number of my video sessions on how to play cocktail piano while maintaining the perspective that people want to learn how to sound good as soon as possible. There is nothing wrong with that mind set! A key to achieving this is maintaining a fun attitude from the very beginning while focusing on strategies that are productive right from the beginning.

(Excerpted from Cocktail Piano 1-2-3)

Make That Melody Sing!

Let’s say you have a favorite song. For our purposes here, I’ll pick a favorite of mine… Over The Rainbow (by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg). Now, here’s the ticket: learn that melody well right from the start. Focus on making that melody really “sing.” I mean play it with confidence. It’s not necessary to master all the chord changes in your first stage. As you play those keys, pretend they are actually “singing” that melody… “Soooomewhere… oooover the raainbow… waaaay uuuup hiiiigh!) Make it sound like they are! Once you learn that melody, your focus on learning it is not needed, so your attention can be placed on other aspects of the song, like adding some left hand harmony, etc. When I created How To Play Standard Songs With Confidence, I had this in mind and so strongly wanted to convey this to the aspiring cocktail pianist. This was a primary focus in the first video of that series.

It’s About Momentum

You see, by learning a little but learning to play it confidently you maintain the mental energy and enthusiasm to want to take things to the next level. Why? Because, each and every single time you sit at that piano or keyboard of yours, if you make it a habit of producing something you feel good about, you instinctively look forward to your next session. You know you’ll be sounding good at something. Does this make sense? I hope so.

Make Musical Sense

Even if you are playing just the melody of a song for starters, when you get that melody to sound good (playing it with confidence), there is a certain amount of satisfaction you gain from that. It’s musical. Yes, it may be simple. But it makes musical sense.

As you become involved with learning to play cocktail piano, taking this approach from the very beginning will certainly be conducive to forming this type of habit. Your confidence will escalate more and more… you’ll have fun each and every time you sit at those keys… and, ultimately, you’ll sound better and better (to you and your listeners!).

Remember,

Always…

ALWAYS…

PLAY WITH PASSION!

Musically,

Dave
www.PianoAmore.net
www.ProProach.com

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