So, You Want To 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!).
PLAY WITH PASSION!