Friday, August 22, 2014

How to score the Piano part of a song

One of the best ways to become a pro at playing the Piano is to play the keyboard of your favourite songs exactly as you hear it from the original track. Depending on your skill level, this might take a day or weeks or even months by there is a way to go about doing this.

I have put together some points that will be of help to you and these are methods I have used over the years and they worked for me.

What Scoring Entails
When scoring a song you are trying to play exactly what you hear the keyboardist play on the track, This
means that you learn the intro, progressions, midtro, outro, syncopations and every single movement.
This has an advantage. The advantage is that you are preparing yourself to be able to play like the person playing on the track.
While scoring a song, I always try to imagine myself actually playing at the concert or recording that made the track possible. This is good because it helps me see myself at that level and also capable of playing at that level.
  1. Do not attempt to score a song above your skill level
  2. Listen to the song several times before you attempt to score it
  3. Listen to the song with headphones
  4. Understand the bass lines as you listen to the song
  5. Picking notes off a hard to get chord

Do not attempt to score a song above your skill level

I have seen many beginner or intermediate keyboardists attempting to score a song above their skill level. I always advise them to take up easier songs. Taking a song higher than your skill level is like when a child is jumping from primary school level to university level; he or she will definitely struggle with university level teachings and only get frustrated unless he or she is a genius. If you are not a piano prodigy please try to identify the songs you can do at your skill level.

Listen to the song several times before you attempt to score it

You may hear a very nice song and feel like you really want to learn the progressions and transitions of that song immediately. Pause and listen to the song several times until you can understand some progressions and anticipate the transitions and progressions.

Listen to the Song with Headphones

This helps you to reaaaaallyyyy pick up all the chords and hear the bass lines properly. You CANNOT properly score a song if you only listen to it through your mobile phone speakers. It is better if you listen to it through a proper sound system and best to listen to it through headphones.

Understand the Bass Lines

This is veeeery important. Whenever I get stuck picking a chord, I try as much as possible to nab the bass line (which is also the root) of the song. After getting the bass line then I can proceed to picking individual notes of the chord.

Picking Individual Notes of Chords

Sometimes it is just not very easy to pick a chord. In such a case you try to isolate the single notes that make up the chord one after the other. So lets say you have the root note, the last note of the chord and you manage to pick out one or more notes you can easily tell what the chord is from your chord vocabulary or just try to guess the chord till you get it. I did this a lot and I still do it sometimes.

How to know your skill level for a particular song

If you find yourself spending too much time trying to learn a song then you should probably leave it alone and try simpler songs. Next is to find simpler songs that you can easily learn how to play.

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