Your Smiling Face – Piano Tutorial

In this article we’re going to investigate a classic James Taylor tune, “Your Smiling Face.” This is a great tune to learn for a number of reasons. First it has some great, challenging, and dense chords and voicings. Second, it’s a tune that works in a full band setting or solo piano. Thirdly, people recognize…

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Rock Piano Tips to Instantly Improve Your Playing

In this article we will discuss some specific rock piano tips that you can use in your playing right away. These rock piano tips are meant as a companion offering to our popular lesson “11 Rock Piano Technique Tips.” The tips offered below are just some of the tricks of the trade of every great…

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Diatonic Chords and Rock Piano

When learning to play rock piano one of the most important skills you can acquire is learning to play all of your major triads (and later minor triads) in each of the 12 keys. The major and minor triads that can be found within a particular key are referred to as the “diatonic” triads. This…

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5 Rock Piano Tunes To Add To Your Repertoire

From time to time I get questions from students asking more about the general knowledge side of music performance as opposed to the nuts and bolts music-learnin’ side. One such question that I’d like to focus on in this article is particularly near-and-dear to me: “What tunes should I learn?” Why is this question so special? Because when…

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Bruce Hornsby Talks About Music

My first musical influences growing up were in the pop-rock genre. I have always had a love for the music of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Sting, Prince, and all of the pop-rock icons. Without recognizing it at first, I later realized that I have always been drawn to artists who are also musicians. By that I mean artists…

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My Top 5 “Jazz Musicians That Rock”

I grew up as a huge fan of pop-rock music. It was really my first love when it comes to music, and it wasn’t until much later that I was introduced to classical and jazz music. Pop-rock (and all of the various genres that fall into that heading) was what my parents listened to and was…

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Slash Chords

Understanding slash chords is very important when playing rock music and reading sheet music or lead sheets (“lead sheets” refer to the kind of music you find in fakebooks, in which the melody and chord symbols are given but nothing else, meaning it is up to the player to create an arrangement or accompaniment from…

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“Don’t Stop Believing…” in the Importance of Transposition

“Don’t Stop Believing” by the band Journey is perhaps one of the greatest and most popular rock songs of all-time. And as most keyboard players who have had any experience in playing in a cover band will tell you, it gets played at almost every bar gig, wedding, or party. Basically, it’s a “must-know” tune for every…

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Rock Piano Left-Hand Playing

For all of the similarities that exist between the two, rock piano-playing and jazz piano-playing also have many obvious differences. One big difference in terms of technique has to do with the use of the left hand. In a jazz setting, the pianist’s left hand is often used for comping (i.e., playing chords in a…

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