Musical Masterpieces

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Inspired by more than one musician, including the “students” in this class (as well as the “teachers”), my own students and a couple of boys that are children of a friend of mine, I’ve got a few musical masterpieces in the works.

I’m still working on my callouses, D-Em-G progression, thinking about other chords, and strum rhythms on the guitar.

I’m working on a project with the two boys I mentioned earlier for their aunt’s wedding.  One plays electric guitar and the other plays drums.  They are 10 and 8 and want to play Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” (this is my favourite version on YouTube) at the wedding reception.  Their mom asked if I would sing with them and I thought I could add keys as well.  The first thing I did was listen to the song and figured out the chords (not terribly difficult, thankfully and I know I can find tutorials on YouTube but I’m working on my ear! F-Gm-B flat if you are interested.)  They had sent me a video of them playing along with the song and I was to play along with them, record and send back.  I noticed the guitar player was using a capo, so I decided to investigate what chords he was actually playing.  Turns out it is D-Em-G.  So now sometimes I strum along, with my capo on and sometimes I play on my piano, either way it’s still in the original key of the recording, which is F.

I like the idea of a capo when learning guitar because it seems like you can play more songs in original keys with knowing less chords.  Eventually I will learn F-Gm-B flat on the guitar but for now I can play it with the chords I already know.

Other adventures in learning by ear are the piano part for The Lumineers’ song “Flapper Girl” and Ellie Goulding’s rendition of “Your Song”.

My long term performance goal is to be able to play the guitar or piano and sing an entire song at the same time, I’ll keep you posted.

Anyone have any suggestions or tips for super beginners?  I have a couple of piano students who are really keen but finding the learning curve too steep, a little disheartening! Advice of all kinds welcome (they are 10), thanks.



One thought on “Musical Masterpieces

    ColinJagoe said:
    February 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    You’ve stumbled on the best kept secret of guitar playing. Use a capo to play songs in keys you don’t feel happy with by using chords you do feel happy with! 🙂 The goal of playing and singing is wonderful. My advice is to just do it, as often and as loudly as you can. You will learn that putting it all together is a matter of repeating things over and over, and once you do 1 song, more will quickly follow. So this is kind of applicable to the 10YO’s as well. Find a simple song, and keep repeating it. Once you nail one song, with a chord change or 2, then you’ll find other songs with the same chords and you’re off. Then add a chord at a time as you find you need them. There’s no magic trick, just time and not worrying if you don’t sound ready for Carnegie Hall the first week. You know what they say about how to get to Carnegie Hall right? Keep at it, and would love to hear how its coming along!

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