Brushing Up On The Piano…

Many moons ago you could find the kid hammering away on some ivory keys over a tune he couldn’t give a care about. I knew I had musical talent growing up since playing piano wasn’t that difficult and the sax was even easier. But I never truly applied myself b/c other things (and distractions) were flat out more fun. I used to despise playing classical music and concert band and practicing those songs felt more like punishment rather than enjoyment. I’d much rather play basketball or get another hour of Super Mario World in rather than rehearse some smelly Mozart tune for the umpteenth time.  That’s the mind of a 9 year old for you.

Alas you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s nearly gone. When I got older I realized that I almost threw away something that I excelled the most at mainly because I didn’t know any better. Now that we have a new keyboard in the house I’ve been practicing songs and loops that I actually enjoy. I want to take it a step further and cop some sheet music and memorize notes so I can play by ear better. Being classically trained was annoying as ever but now I see why it was so important. I still know the notes, can read sheet music w/ a lil’ trouble and the major scales never left me.

Hopefully this sudden urge to play piano isn’t just a phase. It’s one of those things were your skills can fall off hard if you don’t hone them on a constant basis and lately I’ve felt the effects of my neglect. But hey, you live and you learn right? Right now I’m just trying to master background chords to some R&B and a few rap songs I liked when I was younger. I’m not good enough to take on leads just yet but I’m getting there. Right now I’m working on this.

Jay-Z Feelin’ It

Thanks to this video

The keys on the loop always stuck out to me so I decided to give it a go. Dude pretty much has the chords down and it’s pretty easy since it’s just a loop. The only thing I’d add is a B flat before the C goes to the D. If you need a better point of reference it’s the bar(s?) BEFORE you switch from the C octave chord to the B flat chord. The OG version plays six notes before the switch and the B flat is still in key. When you add the extra B flat it sounds truer to the sample from what my ears can tell.

I got some more complex songs under my belt as well but I’m still getting the kinks out on those. In closing, yamming away at these keys is more fun than ever. I never thought playing the piano would be this enjoyable but I guess I’ve been missing out in the past decade or so. Let’s hope I’ll get good enough to learn (or even improvise) on some Stevie Wonder records down the line.

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