Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Greatest Cassius Clay Sings Stand By Me

Do You Want To Be Great?

I aspire to be as great as I can be without killing myself.  I have advanced play-by-ear abilities and sight-reading skills.  I don’t play professionally nor do I want to.  What I love the most is to explore the journeys of my extensive sheet-music collection.  That’s what I love.  The journeys.

I love reading other peoples’ music, learning their styles and reading the lyrics of gifted pros (pun).  How to interpret what the composer is trying to convey so clearly.  Show me sheet music and I’m off.  Thousands of pieces played at times.  There’s nothing that rivals the thrill that reading music gives me. 

 . . . and playing by ear, you can’t ever get away from that.  It’s always a reality.  You play everything by ear, even the stuff you read.

Reality says there comes a point in peoples’ lives when they are preoccupied with work and lovers and things other than the piano.  The question is whether you can withstand a 6-month lull in playing and still come back to it like you never left.  That’s command.  How do you get that good? 

The first thing is to understand that 
Command really isn’t that good.  

As a level, it’s high but really, compared to others that know their chords and play with style, it’s only the beginning. 

A person in command doesn’t necessarily possess great fingering skills.  However, they do possess strong chording skills and that puts them in a power position.  They have command of the piano just like someone who plays a guitar.  The concept for the two instruments is identical.  Learn the chords and the sooner the better.

Do you want to be great?  Great enough, for sure.  Never-forget-it great.


Joseph Pingel is a pianist, teacher and musicologist.  Click here to get the free companion book to this blog.  See his other sites at and 

© 2011 Keyed Up Inc

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