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Personal Piano Professor, Issue#018 - Piano Melodies
July 09, 2013
Hello again!!

Piano Melody.. some hints on creating great melodies.

Hi every one.

Once again , thank you for your interest in these free online lessons. I sincerely hope that you are experiencing all the great benefits learning to play keyboards has to offer.

I really appreciate each and everyone of you who take the time to contact me and offer suggestions for lessons. I really wish I could be there in person to help with everyone's goals when it comes to learning to play keyboards.

It's hard to know where everyone is in their learning curve and your communications help me greatly.

I have been very busy lately so its been a while since I have been able add content to Piano Lessons for about that!

Piano melodies and improvisation.

Along with the lyrics of a song the piano melody is the musical statement that defines the song and make it different from every other song.

Most of what I can tell you about melodies on the piano comes from experience.

I have learned to play, sing, and compose hundreds if not thousands of melodies over the years.

In music school we had special classes in which we would analyze different melodies note by note to determine the relationship of the notes to the chord changes or progressions.

All Piano melodies start out as some sort of improvisation, sometimes on an instrument like the keyboard or in the case of many popular songs as a vocal sung using a specific lyric idea.

The art of improvisation is as old as music itself. It certainly existed before any notation was used for composition.

Improvisation can be viewed as instantaneous, real time composition.

It is also in my opinion, the most fun you can have at the keyboard. Improvisation allows you to experience musical freedom and express emotion and creativity in real time.

If you want to explore what makes a great melody and how melodies work together with chord progressions I invite you to check out these two free lessons.

Piano Melodies, Ode to Joy
Analyzing Song Melodies , Danny Boy

If you are interested in taking your piano playing to the next level, I think I may have struck the right chord for you. Just last week, I was contacted by my friends over at who specialize in teaching people how to play piano by ear.

Jermaine Griggs, the President of HearandPlay, just let me know that his site had recently been updated with a few new piano resources...

When I finally checked it out (because I was very busy last week), I noticed one particular article that discusses the differences between musicians who play piano from sheet music and others who play by ear --- some of the advantages and disadvantages of both.

The article focuses more on the advantages of playing by ear --- obviously because that's their specialty. Here are just a few of the many examples of what they said (you'll have to check out the article for yourself to get the full story):

Advantages of Playing Piano By Ear

1) "Being able to instantly recognize chords that are played in songs even without being at a piano."

How does this help you?

"You are able to learn songs faster and easier because you understand why chords are played at certain points in songs."

2) "Not required to memorize chord progressions (pattern of chords played one after the other) because understanding them will automatically incline you to know what chord to play next."

How does this help you?

"Allows you to improvise and add your own "flavor" to the song. This is especially advantageous when playing in a church as you can never predict how long a song will be sung or what key the singer might resolve to. In a band, this might be helpful if the leader simply instructs everyone to surprisingly repeat a part of the song or change the key in which the song is currently being played in."

3) "Will allow you to use the same methods to play virtually any song you want (most songs; don't quote me if you're referring to Mozart as this might take more practice than most other songs)."

How does this help you?

"Saves you the money and time of having to go out and buy the sheet music to a song that you've already learned how to play by using the ability of your ear to recognize melodies, chords, and progressions. However, buying the sheet music isn't a bad idea if you want to learn specific parts to songs that have high levels of complexity."

You know... I could really go on and on about this article, but due to the lack of space, I'm going to have to send you over there so you can check it out for yourself:

(...and if you're really serious about taking your piano playing to the next level, you might want to consider taking them up on their 300-pg course, "The Secrets to Playing Piano by Ear").

Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer or pass them to the right folks at

P.S. - There's also a little section in the article that talks about major and minor scales, chords, and progressions. Check out that section too.

Hear and

I want to remind you that many of the ideas for lessons come from those of you who contact me with questions. I encourage you to let me know what you need.

Also you can find a contact form on the site and suggest a song for a future lesson. Don't be shy. Let me know how i can help!!

I am grateful for all of you, and wish you the best success in your playing!!

Thanks, Greg

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