Well, at least I'd like to think so. Here's a story to help explain...
I'll never forget the time I took my first piano class. It was at the Community College of Philadelphia 1984. It was a group class with 20 or so electronic keyboards arranged around the room. We each received a class text book titled "Class Piano." No shocker there.
I opened up the book and saw that I would be learning how to read music and play triads. I also saw that I would be playing very simple classical pieces. Now, while I enjoyed this and learned how to play these easy pieces, it just didn't do it for me. It was because as I soon as I put the book down, I was dumbfounded! I didn't know what to do on the piano without the book!
I soon realized that I didn't want to become a professional note reader. No. I wanted to be able to sit down at the piano, place my fingers on a chord that called to me, and just play. I wanted to express myself at the piano in the same way visual artists are able to take pen and paper and artfully color their inner worlds. Why was this so difficult to do?
It was at this time that I started to look for new ways to play. I came upon a book that taught a modern chord position which could be used right away to make music with. Amazing! No note reading. Just chords. And once I learned a few chords, I was able to create my own music. This open position chord structure allowed me to improvise music quite easily.
Another book influenced me as well. This one showed how to play chord progressions using 4, 8 and 16 bar phrases. With this chord charting technique, I could see that I could create my own pieces. It taught me the principles of repetition and contrast - the cornerstones to musical composition.
A few chords arranged for 8-bars is repeated 2 or more times giving you what is called an "A" section of music. Another few bars of different chord changes and the "B" section is produced. And all of this was taught within a very slim volume. Maybe 46 pages or so.
After a few years of working with this material, I synthesized both methods so beginning piano players can take a modern sounding chord and work with it within a set framework. The result is a method where students are able to improvise their own music right away!
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