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Author Topic: Collection of Advice from LGM members on "How to Play a Song"--*must see*  (Read 5678 times)

Offline Virtuenow

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This post full of advice for those beginners who have learned all 12 scales, fingering, basic chords/inversions and progressions....What to do next?  Read on, advice from LGM members over the past  & recent years:

*Please note, these bits of advice are excerpts- not full posts by members; to find the full post, enter parts of text in the search box on main forum page

How to play and learn songs:

Tips from forums at learngospelmusic.com

I. To Start Out (Playing Songs):

Posted By Bboy 6/3/04

I thank God for showing me such great things through His Spirit and through all of you wonderful people since I have been a part of the LGM family. If it is alright, I think it would be a good idea to post some advice for people starting out. I am not all that by any means, but I have learned that one of the secrets to getting more is to sow what you know into someone else. Isn't it a shame that so many selfishly keep what they have? If they knew the mystery of sowing and reaping, they could be GUARANTEED to get more, because God PROMISED to give seed to the sower!

Okay, enough preaching  :wink: Here are some things that work for me, and please all of you chime in so everyone can have a good list of suggestions to learn from.

1.  Listen to music. Hum parts to yourself, try to listen ANALYTICALLY to songs as they are being taught. A good ear can be developped. Let someone else play every now and then, or when visiting another church notice the different styles of playing (different shout runs, fillers and riffs, etc). Don't ever be too proud to ask the musician to show you what they did, and how they did it.   

2.  Keep a notebook. A simple, ninety-nine cent spiral notebook that you keep by your piano / keyboard is invaluable. Write down what you see other musicains doing, what God shows you personally. Divide it up into songs that you know you can play, songs that you want to be able to play by next month / nest week / etc. Also keep a list of those songs and they keys they sound best to you. This will keep you from "fishing" for the key.

3.  Some people say start with the baseline, some people say start with the melody. Me, I like starting with the melody. Sit down and pick out the melody of a song that you are trying to learn, humming to yourself and enjoying the "hunt." Take that notebook and write down what you learned . . . nothing will stay with you longer than something God showed YOU personally.

4. Get into the habit of playing through mistakes as you practice. If you always go back to correct mistakes when you practice, you will do the same on Sunday morning . . . and that will throw everyone off. Get used to mistakes and get used to playing through them . . . everyone makes them and the more experience we get, the less mistakes we make.  So for example, if you play thorugh a song twice and you seem to always get stuck at the bridge, then grab your notebook. Date it, write down what you need to practice on and what your plan is to fix this problem, and then try to play through the entire song from beginning to end without going back if make a mistake. It's good for you.

5. Learn to sight read. When you sight read, you choose a pieace of music that is one or two levels below your current ability. Look over the entire piece, looking for key changes, parts that are expecially difficult, and patterns (runs, riffs, etc) Now play SLOWLY, paying more attention to rhythm than to accurate music. DOn't go back to correct mistakes, just play the whole thing again and again until you've got it.

Okay, that's my 2 cents. What other tips are out there that you saints want to share?

Be Encouraged, be filled with Holy Ghost strength in the inner man, and . . .

Be Blessed!  :lol:


II.  How to Play by Ear:

Posted by Vwebster May 3, 2005

I believe Sister T has a link to an article that has suggestions for how to listen to a song in order to learn to play it by ear.

1. Listen to the song for 3/4 hr without touching keyboard. Over and over at least 6-7 times (5 min song)
     a.the idea to get yourself into the song

2. Begin to decipher the soprano, alto and tenor part

     a. you'll have to start singing their parts with the song

3. At the keyboard determine what key the song is in.

4. Start to play the soprano part along with the music, then the alto and tenor. Finally all three parts together with your right hand only. Don't cheat and use your left.

5. Now you can start learning the piano track, bass then organ in that order. Save the riffs and breaks for later. The idea is to learn the song if though you are also one of the musicians at the recording.

6. Now your ready for the riffs and breaks.

(posted by Vwebster May 3, 2005)

III: Learn Songs Through Breakdown

Posted by JoyCH1 10/4/06

First, let me say that you are frustrating yourself because you have to learn some basics about the piano. Like, scales and chords in every key. You don't have to learn them all right away but pick 2 keys, ex: C & F. Then go to Bb & Eb and so forth. Make part of your practice learning the scales and chords in that key. THEN, pick a song (simple song) in either key and break it into parts. Practice just those parts until you are comfortable to move onto the next part.

IV.  Now, Pretend to Play:

Posted by diverse379 6/1/07

“Pretend to Play”: Pretense becomes reality

dont try to analyze the music dont stop the tape to catch the chord you missed  just keep on pretending to play
play whatever you can catch a piece of the meody  a vocal phrase
part of the bass line
part of the intro

a   lick or run

play the whole album and do it every day

eventually almost magially you will notice you are playing more and more of the song.

V.  Practical Advice and Application:

Posted by: T Block 1/12/06: Beginners need some advice

Pick up all of Israel and New Breed's CDs.  I'd say 90% of there songs uses basic chords.  And like sjonathan02 said, sit back and listen to as many CDs as you can.  Take a song you are trying to learn then apply theory using this process:

1. Find the key - once you do that, you will automatically know the major scale, scale degrees, basic chords, etc. of that key

2. Write down the bass line using letters & numbers - write out the actual notes in letter format, then change them into numbers that correspond to the scale degrees of your key.

3. Take those numbers, go to your progression papers, and find the progression that relates to what u wrote down above.

4. Write down the melody notes using letters only - this will tell you what inversions to play the chord progresions in, keep the melody note at the top whenever possible

5. Put everything together and then take it up through all the keys for extra practice.

VI.  Post Chord Voicing (jazzing up your sound):

Posted By Long Fingers 7/16/03: Question about Technique answered

Voicing makes your playing sound fuller. If you go to Sister T's site, there's an article there that talks about it, if you do a search on a good search engine, you'll find some informatio, and also there's lots of books on it.

you might want to do, is just double the bass note (playing the root note of the chord you're playing in your right and then adding it's lower octave to it). You could also just stick with chords in your left while playing the medley line, try inversions in both hands to get a new sound, it's all up to you.

Once you have mastered that, then you can move on to voicing. There are countless ways for a chord to sound and different ways to voice them. The simplist way to voice is by playing whatever chord you're playing in your right, play that same chord in your left, you'll hear that you have a fuller sound. Two other simple ways are the playing the root and seventh or the root and the fifth of a chord in your left hand while playing the other notes of a chord in your right.

VII. Steps to Learning to Play songs

Posted by Diverse379 7/24/07

I suggest buying a Chord book and using it the following ways

first find the bass notes in the song you are learning

when you have all the bass notes and know exactly how they fall

begin playing the melody against the bass notes

when you can do this in your sleep

open up your chord book

and begin looking for chords that work

sometimes you will choose chords that contain the melody note you need sometimes the chord will just sound hot

dont be afraid to go back and find new chords after you have worked out a song

this is a trial and error process but believe me it works

one of those C  chords will work over that C bass note  within the context of that song

you just have to discover it

your ears will tell you what sounds best

a rule of thumb to get you started

on the first chord of the key the Chord will usually be a major chord if the song is in major

most likely a major or Major 7 opr Major9 will work well

before moving to the fourth chord of the key the One chord can change to a &th chord

the 5 chord will almost always be a 7th chord

but sometimes a One chord will work well

a great chord for a 5 chord is the sus chord

the three chord sounds great as a dominant chord (alterred) sounds great as a minor chord also

the four chord sounds great as a major chord

this takes a while to really develop so take your time

the rewards are worth it you will deveilop your own sound and it will sound quite sophisticated because you are learning chords not from theory or even really ear but
by plugging in super upgraded chords

Offline Virtuenow

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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2007, 11:51:06 PM »
The title of the post should read: COLLECTION OF ADVICE FROM LGM MEMBERS.  Sorry, I just realized you cannot edit your own posts :(.  I knocked off a letter as I was posting the topic.  Silly, klutzy me!

Anyway, these posts were helpful for me in the learning process, so I hope they help someone else thorough this difficult learning stage.  Plus it is fun and informative to see different musicians approach to learning.  I tried to cover all the areas of questions that I have...,e.g, start w/bass or melody; how to jazz up chords; etc. 

God bless!

Offline T-Block

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Re: Collection of Avice from LGM members on "How to Play a Song"--*must see*
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2007, 12:46:47 AM »
I changed it for ya Toya.
Real musicians play in every key!!!
Music Theory, da numbers work!

Offline chevonee

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Re: Collection of Advice from LGM members on "How to Play a Song"--*must see*
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2007, 01:59:30 AM »
This is gr8. Thank you for posting this because it is very helpful and it is definitely a MUST SEE!! God bless you and keep up the good work. ;)
Strike while the iron is hot!

Offline T-Block

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I think this post is very informative and full of valuable information, so I decided to make it a sticky.

How bout dat Toya, you're very 1st sticky.  :D
Real musicians play in every key!!!
Music Theory, da numbers work!

Offline musallio

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Gr8 post..

Thanks for compiling this.
Powered & Sponsored by Jesus Christ...

Offline apostle5

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All of this information is great, thanks everyone! It kinda sounds like everyone has their own unique and different way of what works best for them. I am still fumbling through trying to find mine! ::)

Offline Virtuenow

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Thanks T-Block!  I just realized this was made a sticky (my first sticky :) ).  I still reference back to this for help.
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