Thursday, December 18, 2008

How To Create a Solo Piano CD - A Step by Step Approach!

So, you want to know how someone creates an entire solo piano CD. It seems like a monumental task - and it is unless you break it down! Here's how I do it step by step.

Step One
The first thing I do is find the concept. I also consider this the most important aspect to creating an entire "album" of songs or pieces. Why? Because this is what gives you inspiration!

For example, when I created my 2 CDs La Jolla Suite and Anza-Borrego Desert Suite, the first thing I did was find the concept or title I would be using for the CD - in this case the 2 names you just read above.

You see, having this to start with gives you encouragement and inspiration to go on. This is because you can "see" the finished product. I remember quite well how excited I was when I first came up with the idea for "La Jolla Suite." La Jolla is a section of San Diego (a very beautiful section) that gave me all the artistic flow and energy I needed for completing it.

Step Two
Come up with your song titles. After the concept is identified and you know what you'll be working on, it's a good idea to flush out the entire album. Does this process remind you of anything? Yes, it's like what an author may do when preparing a book outline. Very similar indeed.

For La Jolla Suite, it was quite easy! I simply wrote out the places and things I loved the most about this fantastic place and the outline appeared very quickly. Another important aspect of the song identifying process is deciding on length. If your compositions tend towards the long side (7 minutes or more for each one) then plan on having 7 or 8 pieces. On the short side (3-5 minutes) plan on having many more. The goal is to create enough material for a 50-60 minute (or more) CD.

Step Three
Now, once you have the concept and the song titles, you're ready for the fun part. The song titles can actually suggest the mood of the piece! I remember when I was composing Sea Caves (a piece for La Jolla Suite). I kept repeating the words Sea Caves to myself then just went to the piano and literally "felt" the piece through. It came out to be a somewhat sad mood but that's exactly what I felt so it worked out.

This plan of action works well because you've already flushed out the outline for the entire CD. Now, the fun creative work can occupy your time. I think it took me a few months to completely finish all the pieces for La Jolla Suite. The rest of the time was spent in polishing them and getting them ready for performance.
So there you have it - a workable plan for creating an "album" or CD of your music!

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson

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