Easy Play Method

Easy Method for Piano Playing


I'm back to teaching piano lessons this new semester. I like many methods of teaching. One approach I've been using is from Carol Tornquist. More specifically, her easy play method is about:


  1. Notation - eventually reading 4 octaves (including sharps, flats and ledger lines)
  2. Theory - necessary for a full understanding of making music (emphasis on intervals, chords, keys, and harmony)
  3. Melody - beginning on 3 black keys (L.H. and R.H.), then moving to C position (5 fingers) and other key groups.
  4. Rhythm - beginning with a simple meter (2/4, 3/4, 4/4) and an introduction of a compound meter 6/8.
  5. Chords - introduced I, V7, eventually using major, minor, diminished, augmented chords (block and broken)
  6. Keys - use of all major and minor key signatures, the order of sharps and flats.
  7. Accompaniment - Use harmonic intervals, then 3 note chords.
  8. Creativity - writing melodies, "questions"/"answers", harmonies for melodies.
  9. Transposition - encouraged to help students think in "keys"
  10. Technique - ear training exercises.
Happy Boy Plays Piano

By Level 1 and 2, my students know some music definitions. Here's just a few:

  1. D.C. al Fine - To go back to the beginning and play until Fine.
  2. Forte - Loud
  3. Transpose - To play in a different key
  4. Mezzo Piano - Medium Soft
Many boys and girls have learned some Italian words to describe TEMPO. For example:

  1. Fast - Allegro
  2. Medium Tempo - Moderato
  3. Andante - Slow
Level 1 Fundamentals

Introducing Patriotic songs for Level 1 students helps them to hear the interval distance. For example in the Key of F when they play America the Beautiful, students hear the first melodic interval, which is a 6th, from Middle C up to A.

So, kids have learned that an Interval is a DISTANCE between one note and another and that there are two kinds on Intervals: Learn Intervals

  • Melodic: 2nd (C to D), 3rd (C to E), 4th (C to F), and 5th (C to G)
  • Harmonic 2nd (C and D together), 3rd (C and E together), 4th (C and F together), and (C and G together).
  • An interval of a 7th is either: line to line (G to F) or space to space (F to E).
Boy Learning Half Steps

When students learn about half steps and whole steps, they start listening to tones. Many enjoy playing the Chromatic Scale at this time.

  • Half Steps - A Half Step is the shortest melodic interval there is on the keyboard. In other words, it's the distance from one key to the next... black or white... up or down. For example G to F#, E to F. C to C#, and E to Eb.
  • Whole Steps - A Whole step is a distance from one key to another, with just one key between them. For example G down to F, E to F#, C to D, and E down to D.
All ages on different levels like to practice scales, especially the C Major Scale. Every Major Scale has 8 notes grouped into a "pattern" of half steps and whole steps. Sliding your thumb under your 3rd finger on "F", play the C Major Scale from C to C (ascending). Then try it going down (descending) crossing your 3 rd finger over your thumb on E. One of the most well-known Christmas carols begins with the Major Scale descending, and that is "Joy to the World" by George F. Handel.

Many junior high students are writing their own songs using broken chords. In the Key of C, you  play 3 major chords:

C Major (I) = C-E-G
F Major (IV) = F-A-C
G Major (V) = G-B-D

Children and adults enjoy listening to seventh chords, hearing how they are alike or different. Many play 3 Dominant Seventh Chords in Level 1. History of Seventh Chords

G7 (C Major) - BFG
D7 (G Major) - F#CD
C7 (F Major) - EBbC

When a chord changes from one to another, it's called a Chord Progression. To help with more improv skills, one must learn left-hand patterns and chord inversions.

Remember that the I chord is also known as the Tonic. C root position = CEG
Also, the IV chord is called the Subdominant. (FAC)
And that the V chord is also known as the DOMINANT. (GBD)

Subdominant Chord Inversions

Root = FAC
1st = ACF
2nd = CFA
Root = FAC

Dominant Chord Inversions

Root = GBD
1st = BDG
2nd = DGB
Root = GBD

The Dominant Seventh chord is formed by adding the "7th" above the "root." (GBDF)
Since the Dominant Seventh chord has 4 notes in it, you may leave out 1 note and still have a triad:
BFG.

Hope this helps. Keep practicing... I know I will!

Blessings!


-- LadyD

 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

From The Inside Out: Chord Chart

From The Inside Out: Joel Houston l LadyDpiano

I love this worshipful Hillsong tune, From The Inside Out that was recorded in 2005. It's fairly easy to play. If you're not familiar with this one, have a listen on YouTube.

From The Inside Out (Chords and Lyrics by Joel Houston)


Key of G
4/4 Time Signature
Intro
C /// l //// l G /// l D /// l C /// l //// l G ///
Verse 1
D                 C
A thousand times I've failed
                     G        D
Still, Your mercy remains
                      C
And should I stumble again
       G                     D
I'm caught in Your grace
            Em
Everlasting
         C                              G          D
Your light will shine when all else fades
           Em
Never ending  
         C                   G           D        C    G    D  C  G
Your glory goes beyond all fame
Verse 2
D              C
Your will above all else
            G               D
My purpose remains
                 C
The art of losing myself
           G           D
In bringing You praise.
            Em
Everlasting
         C                              G          D
Your light will shine when all else fades
                Em
Never ending
         C                    G          D   C
Your glory goes beyond all fame
                                G
In my heart and my soul
                               Em
Lord, I give You control
                                     D
Consume me from the inside out,
       C                        Em
Lord, let justice and praise
                          D
Become my embrace
                                  Am
To love you from the inside out
Verse 3
                 C
Your will above all else
            G                   D
My purpose remains
                 C
The art of losing myself
           G            D
In bringing You praise.
             Em
Everlasting
         C                              G          D
Your light will shine when all else fades
                Em
Never ending
        C                     G          D
Your glory goes beyond all things
      C                                  G
Yeah, In my heart and my soul
                                     Em
Lord, I give You control
                                     D
Consume me from the inside out,
       C                           Em
Lord, let justice and praise
                                  D
Become my embrace
                                  Am
To love You from the inside out
             Em
Everlasting
         C                              G          D
Your light will shine when all else fades
            Em
Never ending
         C                    G          D
Your glory goes beyond all fame
              G            C
And the cry of my heart
         D             Em
Is to bring You praise
                   C     D
From the inside out
               C            D
Lord my soul cries out
              C        D
from the inside out,
              C             D     C  G  D  C  G  D
Lord my soul cries out, Lord

Wishing you JOY around your table with family and friends this Thanksgiving season.
I am thankful for YOU!

Blessings,

-- LadyD

 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

17 Canal Songs

The Canaller's Songbook: LadyDpiano

Have you ever been on a boat? Better yet, have you sung on a boat?! I sure have from local shores to crystal blue waters in Mexico!

Unlike sea shanties, the collection of canal collections contains almost no work songs. These songs took their melodies from the popular music of the day. The subjects used in canal songs tell us a bit about how the canaller viewed himself and how he was viewed by others.

The Canaller's Songbook

The Good Ship Calabar: LadyDpiano


1. The Good Ship Calabar (Ireland)

          C                                      G7              C
Come all ye dry land sail-i-ars and listen to my song
                                            Bb                   C
It's only forty verses and I won't detain ya long
                                                  Bb                      C
It's all about the adventures of this Sou' Lisburn barge

                                                               G7            C
As I sailed as a man before the mast on the good ship Calabar.

2. Boating on a Bullhead (YouTube Video)

3. Simon Slick (Lyrics and Midis)


4.From Buffalo to Troy (Song in Key of A)

5. A Trip on the Erie

6. A Life on the Raging Canal On Spotify

7. Oh! Dat Low Bridge

This song was written for an 1880's minstrel show called, The Grip. Music by David Braham and lyrics by Edward Harrigan.

      G                   Em                    D7
It's many miles to Buffalo (Oh that low bridge)
 G                                      D7        G
Balky mule he travels slow (Oh that low bridge)
             G                 Em                       A7                 D7
There's gravel on the towpath, there are hornets in the sand,
       C                   G                         D7         G
Oh, pity poor canallers that's so far away from land.
Chorus:
G                    Em             G                     Em
Look Out! That Low Bridge, Look Out! That low bridge.
      C                         D7
The captain, cook and all the crew,
      G            D7             G
oh duck your heads way down
       C                    D7
The fastest boat in all the fleet,
         G           D7        G
"Two Sisters," come to town.

8. Meeting of the Waters

This was the song sung in New York City on November 4, 1825, for the dedication of the opening of the Erie Canal. Chords and Lyrics.

             D               G        D  
Let the day be forever remembered with pride,
             A7                                    D     A7
That beheld the proud Hudson to Erie allied.
                                                        D                  A7
Oh, the last sand of time from his glass shall descend,
           D            G              A7            G
E'er a union so fruitful of glory shall end,
           D            G              A7
E'er a union so fruitful of glory shall end.

9. I'm Afloat (Written in 1842)

        F                                      C7
I'm afloat! I'm afloat! On the Erie Canal.
       Bb              F                                                 C7
Its wave is my home and my scow beats them all.
       F                                                 C7                          F
Off! Up, with your hats! Give three cheers, now three more.
       Dm              Bb              C7                     F
I'm afloat! I'm afloat! After four months on shore. 
       A7                   Dm                 G7                C7
The prim, painted packets right past us may souse. 
                  F                      C7                      F                        C7
They may rub. They may bump, but they can't stave out bows.
         G7                                     C7
With darkness around us, and bridges full low.
                                               G7             C7
O'er the raging canal rights onward we go.
            F                                                 C7               F
Come, boy. Whip the mare. Keep her head to the wind.
          Bb                  F                                          C7
And I warrant we'll soon leave the snails all behind.
       F                                               C7                           F                Dm             Bb
Up! Up! with your caps. Now give cheers three times three. I'm afloat! I'm afloat!

            C7      Dm                          G7                  C7                 F
The canaller is free.  I'm afloat! I'm afloat! And the cook's getting tea.


10. The Raging Canal By P Morris

11. The Aged Pilot Man mudcat.org

12. The Girl from Yewdall's Mill www.loc.gov/resource

13. Black Rock Pork (lyrics)

14. Paddy on the Canal (Midi & Lyrics)

15. The E-ri-e (Lyrics)

16. The Dark-eyed Canaller (YouTube)

17. Low Bridge, Everybody Down (Sheet Music)

        Em                         Am         B7
I’ve got a mule and her name is Sal
Em                              B7   
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Em                                            Am          B7
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
Em                           B7
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Em      G                                         D7            
We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Em                                      B7
Filled with lumber coal and hay
       Em                   Am             B7
And we know every inch of the way
          Em            B7    Em
From Albany to Buffalo

D7    G                           D7
Low bridge, everybody down
G                                                D7    G
Low bridge ’cause we’re comin’ to a town
                                               C
And you’ll always know your neighbor
          G                          C
You’ll always know your pal
                G           C                  G    D7  G
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

The last song is one of my favorites. Have fun with the chord progressions. Perhaps purchase the book if you're interested in playing the melody lines, The Canaller's Songbook.

Blessings,

-- LadyD

 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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