Hello Matthew!  I really do enjoy them as they supplement the actual video course I purchased. I just want to confirm I have registered for your Piano by Ear course and have loaded down and am working through the lessons. The key is to practice the lessons in between and sometimes I miss a week or so before going on.  I find the video ;lessons excellent and believe you have a very clear way of getting the info across. Not sorry I spent my money and supported you.

Ian, Australia


 
Hi Matthew,
I meant to tell you before now, I did get your course and I am loving it! I have learned a lot already and have been practicing my scales, chord, and inversions every day. I am pretty excited about this because I feel like I am starting to learn the WHOLE keyboard like never before, and I think learning my inversions will really propel my playing. I am in no hurry however, because I don't expect it to come overnight, but that's ok. At least now I know what and how I need to practice to get better. Besides I am enjoying the journey. Your instruction videos are very easy to follow, and I like that I can go back over them as many times as necessary, something I couldn't afford the luxury of, if I had a piano teacher sitting beside me. Great course! Glad I got it!
 
Tom
Kansas
 

 


Mine is the usual story: traditional piano lessons as a child, a general interest in all sorts of music throughout my life. When I retired I decided to go back to the piano. I live in the south of Ireland and there is a university level music academy here and I found a nice teacher. It wasn't long, however, before I realized  the lessons were continuing where I left off as a kid. The approach was designed to make you into a concert pianist or a music teacher. That's fine because we need concert pianists, but I just wanted to play from memory all the tunes in my head.  My teacher was patient and nice as she listened to me stumble through my little Chopin pieces but my progress was very slow and frustrating. I couldn't really take notes, could not review anything. When the lesson was over it was over. I gave it up.

I stumbled along on my own for a while: a book here, a YouTube video there. I had a good ear and after a while I could play a little and have fun but finally got to a place where I was just repeating myself and had no idea how to go farther. What I wanted was a base to build on. I realized I learned best watching somebody show me things. There are many fine players on YouTube and it took me a while to find the approach I felt would be for me. Then I saw a video of "Amazing Grace" on ThePianoByEar where the tune started very basic and then was played in a more and more advanced way. I knew that was for me. I would be happy if I could play like that.

Since I didn't know where I would fit in I bought all the DVDs. That was much cheaper than the piano lessons anyway. It turned out I could comfortably start with the second disk. My only regret is that I didn't find that sort of course as a child, because I really enjoy playing and might have saved myself many years of stumbling around.


Michael
Ireland

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Matthew,
I just thought I'd let you know that I'm enjoying the DVDs, and the lessons via the newsletter, as well. I was able to progress to the lesson on adding a chord to the melody in the right hand fairly quickly, but can see that I'm going to be here a while. I feel very challenged here. When I first ordered your CDs, I was more interested in learning how to  "accompany" people who wanted to sing, rather than learning how to actually incorporate a melody line into the chord. However, the more I do this, the more interesting it has become to me, and I find myself really enjoying it. 
 
The only questions I have, would be about learning to play accompaniment. I'm needing help in the rhythm, with the left hand as well as the right. The more I get into the lessons, though, the more I can see that what I'm doing right now, will help me learn all that, down the road.
 
I'm very happy with the products I've purchased from you. I've looked for a long time, for online lessons from someone who actually plays the kind of music that I want to learn to play.
 
Thanks,
Donna 
United States
 

 

Matthew,

I'm a 74 year old "senior" who took piano lessons for two or three very brief periods of time during my childhood and teen years; but the materials used and the approach to learning, did not appeal to me - did not excite me - did not give me early "successes" and satisfactions - only a continual sense of "I'll never learn this stuff."

As the years have gone by, I have occasionally sat at the piano my wife and I bought more than 40 years ago and played from some of the sheet music, pop song and hymn books written for piano players.  However, when I played, my wife would often say, "Would you just stop the noise!"  Sort of hurt my feelings, but I sympathized with her because my playing really was so awful.

A year or so ago I decided that I really would like to learn to play the piano with a much improved level of knowledge and skill, but I did not want to repeat the approach of long ago.  I decided to make a commitment to learning to play by ear.   I made an effort to find local piano teachers and materials that could help me start out on my goal of learning to play by ear, but without satisfying results. So I turned to the internet and was amazed at all the information and resources that were available.

I settled on your web site, and ordered the first few items available for beginners.  I was emotionally touched with joy when I found that the materials and instruction were so clearly presented that with even only a little practice and study I could begin the process of learning to play by ear.  In just a few weeks, if not a few days, I was experiencing the early satisfactions that I had wanted and needed in my youth.

My piano practice time is extremely limited because I'm still quite active with obligations to my business, my church ministry, and my family. However, I have found that by following your instructions, DVD's etc. my skills are developing.  I know my piano playing must have significantly improved because for the past year, I have never heard my wife say:  "Would you please just stop the noise."   And I have even played a hymn or two, a time or two, for my little church congregation!

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you Matthew for bringing a long time cherished desire and joy to me.  There is a long, long way to go to reach the skill level I'd really like to have. Time and circumstances may prevent me from ever getting "there."  However, the trip itself is one of the most satisfying ones of my life.  Keep up the good work; keep the DVD's and other materials coming.

Gary
Overland Park, KS

 

 


 

 

 

 

This is Caroline, I can't begin to thank you enough for the piano course. I am stopping at the moment at lesson 5, to allow my brain and finger tips to absorb it all in. I love the way you teach. This course is so much fun. I look forward to practicing everyday.  I also think you are very kindhearted and too generous to give me that extra DVD!!! God bless you. I like how you open your student forum for all to see, because i enjoyed reading peoples discussions about the courses.  I also love how you start off with a simple melody and you build it up with chords and variations to show us how you can really dress up a plain melody. LOVE IT! I watched the Xmas DVD and can't wait to get started on that!  I learned about a 7th chord yesterday, I had no idea what it was used for, so when i learnt that it was used to move onto a higher chord I was soooooo pleased, felt like a kid who found a candy at the bottom of my pocket..haha. All these little details make learning piano so much fun, because I know how to use them. Well, if ever I know someone who wants to learn, I will highly recommend to them your courses. Take care and god bless your family!

Mrs. Kido, Japan

 




Matthew,  a few weeks ago I received my copy of Chords Galore. I purchased it during the promotional period because of the introductory price, but I knew I wouldn't watch it right away. I was sure the DVD was full of good information, but I thought to myself, "What could be more boring than an entire DVD full of lessons on chords?"

 

 
Well, today I finally popped it into my computer to see what it was like and I can honestly say I can't quit watching it. The instruction is not boring at all but concise. And the 'real world' examples keep me rushing to the keyboard to try them out. This DVD is another home run! Way to go.

Steve, Missouri


 


This is Clark... I ordered your DVD Advanced III the southern gospel stuff. This is great ! Thank you so much for making this. I've taken lessons off of many top Southern gospel pianist like Tracey Phillips etc.. I play at singing conventions and attend gospel music schools, but this helps break it down where I can slow it down and learn. I'm already starting to apply some of these things to other songs I play. Great Job ! I can't wait to practice this more and to continue with the rest of the DVD. I'm glad I ran across this resource ! Let me know if you ever continue with the southern gospel series. You're great..
Clark, West Virginia (USA)

 

 



I really appreciate the great service you provide. Since it is a DVD it can sometimes bring up a lot of questions and it's really helpful knowing you respond to my emails so fast and answer my questions. That was the one thing I was nervous about when ordering online. I knew I would have a lot of questions and it's so nice knowing you will answer them. A lot of services online do not have great support like you do and I really appreciate it. And I am hoping to buy your next DVD soon, because it has been a dream of mine to play by ear. Thanks again. -
Luke, New York

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Hi Matthew.  As a piano teacher who has a great interest in learning more about playing by ear as opposed to the traditional methods, I am very impressed with your course. You make the approach to the keyboard so easy to understand and your inventive methods are clear, concise, and easy to follow. Also, your personality comes across as a very sincere person that makes you feel an infinity to you even though we've only met via your DVD's.  Thanks for giving budding pianists an effective method that will propel them into the wonderful world of playing by ear.
Jim, Arizona

 

What a deal! Matthew is a great piano teacher and we have found these dvds to be so beneficial! we loved them so much for our daughter, that we bought the advanced set as a gift for our Pastor's wife who wanted them. Athough she has played beautifully for many years, she says that she has learned so much and isn't even finished with the lessons, yet!
Stacy, USA


Hi Matt!  I wanted to say thanks so much for the wonderful music lessons you have been sending me.  I have already purchased all of your DVDs and I am so excited.  I am 70 years old, recently retired, and have always wanted to play piano.  I took traditional lessons about 10 years ago, and frankly, I was a bit overwhelmed until I eventually stopped playing.  Thanks to your lessons I am already making much more progress than I ever dreamed.  Never did I think I could play piano by ear.  Thanks again for your encouragement and may God bless you and your sincere efforts to help others play piano.
Bill
, USA

 

 

NEW LOOK AND FEEL!

 
New Digital Video Format available now!
 
Matthew Stephens
matthew(AT)thepianobyear.com
417-255-4210
Piano By Ear Tips and Techniques

Adding Chords to the Right Hand Melody
By Matthew Stephens

Adding chords to the right hand can be a wonderful benefit to playing the piano.  It can make your playing sound full and beautiful.  The problem is that some people who play by ear want to just chord with the right hand.  So, when they play a song, all the listener hears is chords rather than the chords and the melody. 

In order for your audience to know what song you're playing you must play the melody.  Playing the melody with the right hand and chording with the left hand is a simple way to play songs.  But, adding chords to the right hand melody will make your songs sound richer and fuller.

Before I begin, I must say that you MUST know chord inversions for the chords you will be using in a certain song.  For those of you who have purchased the "Piano By Ear for Beginners" DVD, you will have learned (or are learning) inversions. 

****
The melody must stay at the top of the inversion at all times.  For instance, if you are playing the simple children's song, "Jesus Loves Me" in the key of C, while you are in the C chord change (1st change), you play the inversions of C chord while the melody stays on top of the chord.  When you switch to the F chord change (4th change), you will play the F chord inversions, keeping your melody on the top of the F chord.

Let's back up...in case you're not familiar with chord inversions.  I will explain and list the inversions for the chords in the key of C (C, F, & G).  To make a chord, you play 1-3-5 of the scale of the chord you are playing.

Example:

C scale

CDEFGABC
12345671

So, to play C chord, you would play the notes C-E-G together to make the C chord.  That's the first inversion of C chord.  The next inversion would be arranged by moving the C to the top as in E-G--C.  I added the extra space between the G and the C because there are actually two notes between the G and C.  As you continue to move up the keyboard, for the next inversion you would move the bottom note, E, to the top to arrange the third inversion of C chord to appear like this... G--C-E.  When you finally move the G to the top, you have the first inversion again (C-E-G) only now it is an octave higher than when you began.  To do the F and G chord inversions, you would follow the same procedure.  They are listed below:

C CHORD INVERSIONS

C-E-G,     E-G--C,     G--C-E,     C-E-G


F CHORD INVERSIONS

F-A-C,     A-C--F,     C--F-A,     F-A-C

 
G CHORD INVERSIONS

G-B-D,     B-D--G,     D--G-B,     G-B-D


Now that you know the inversions for each of those chords you can add the appropriate chord to the right hand's melody.  To do this you will follow these simple rule.

*While playing in the key of C, while in the C chord change, if the melody falls on any of the notes in the C chord (C-E-G), then you will play the appropriate inversion of C chord with the melody note on top.  If the melody note does not fall on one of the notes for the C chord, then you play that note on the right hand alone.

While playing in the key of F, while in the F chord change, if the melody falls on any of the notes in the F chord (F-A-C), then you will play the appropriate inversion of F chord with the melody note on top.  If the melody note does not fall on one of the notes for the F chord, then you play that note on the right hand alone.

While playing in the key of G, while in the G chord change, if the melody falls on any of the notes in the G chord (G-B-D), then you will play the appropriate inversion of G chord with the melody note on top.  If the melody note does not fall on one of the notes for the G chord, then you play that note on the right hand alone.


Look at the melody notes in the key of C for the song "Jesus Loves Me".


G     E    E       D   E   G   G
Jesus loves me this I know...


During the first phrase of that song, you are in the C chord change.  Therefore, you will play and inversion of C chord with the melody on top with your right hand on every melody note except D (over the word "me") because all the other notes are part of the C chord.

Moving to the next phrase, you change to the F chord change.


A     A     C A    A       G       G
For the Bible tells me.....so

During this phrase of that song, you are in the F chord change.  Therefore, you will play an inversion of F chord (with the melody on top of your chord) with your right hand on every melody note except G (over the word "me") because all the other notes are part of the F chord.  Keep in mind that on the word "so" you will move back to the C chord change so the "G" note there will be played with an inversion of C chord with the melody (G) note on top.

Practice this until you are very comfortable with it.  Then, use this technique on other songs.


 


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