Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Adele With a Twist
It is easier than ever to access pop music online, students can easily hop over to www.musicnotes.com to purchase and download a piano score of any favorite song. However, I like to take the opportunity to help students play from the chords and lyrics sheets that you find at a site such as www.guitaretab.com.
I have been having a lot of success with "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele, so I'll share my approach with you. First of all, go to iTunes and buy the song, then go to www.guitaretab.com and print the chords and lyrics page. In my studio I have a digital piano along with external speakers, which are set up to play the music on my iPad.
First, my student needs to know that Dm stands for a d minor chord and F stands for an F Major chord. We go through the sequence of eight chords using root position in the right hand.
Next, we add the left hand root notes in the bass and give the right hand steady quarter notes.
Then, to make it sound even more like the song we apply a simple pattern to the right hand chords: 5-1-3-1-5-1-3-1. Like this:
Now it's time to try playing along with Adele. Students need to move quickly from chord to chord so you might start off by just playing the left hand bass notes or just the right hand quarter note chords with the recording.
When you get to the refrain, you might like to have the left hand play in octaves for more power, and the right hand could play steady quarter note chords. At the chorus I would continue the left hand octaves and let right hand do the 5-1-3-1 pattern again.
This is a really fun short term project for teenagers and it gives them the basic skills and motivation to go pick their own favorite songs and start building their own chords and lyrics collections. Some other songs that we have done this way include: "Haunted" by Taylor Swift, "The Show" by Lenka, "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus and "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLaughlin.