I had such an overwhelming response and interest in my presentation regarding Pop music on Saturday that I couldn’t help but add just a little more! First of all, a big THANK YOU for all who stopped by to check it out and also a CONGRATULATIONS for those of you who have decided to take matters into your own hands and improve your piano skills! I could speak about functional piano all day long, but that will have to wait until June 21 when I provide a 3 credit CMTE course at the MO MT Institute in Columbia (hope to see some of you there!). In the meantime, I can provide a few suggestions for getting started since you are most likely tackling this endeavor on your own. This is what I propose…
Each time you sit down to practice ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is this “Functional” ? Is the way you are playing functional for therapy? Can you effectively engage with the client while playing? Does the way you play create any distractions or barriers?
2. Is this “Practical”? Is what you are playing necessary to to achieve the musical goal for your performance or your desired goal for the client? Is the style or way you are playing within your playing ability?
3. Is this “Motivating”? If you aren’t motivated to practice or learn, you will not practice or learn. Start with music that interests you! Once you are confident playing songs that you enjoy you will have built your skills up and you will be ready to add a variety that you might use with clients.
4. Do I “Know the Chords”?– start simple. You don’t need to be able to play in each key. Just start with the basics and build from there. I suggest practicing without looking at any notation. Play just as you play the guitar… with lead sheets. This will force you to memorize the chords faster and will keep your brain focused on less so you learn faster.
Try this approach and see if it helps! I wish you all the best of luck in your journey to improve your musicianship and I guarantee it will be well worth it!