Monday, May 16, 2011

Thinking in the Music Galaxy

Playing by ear is easy after you learn command of the 24 basic chords and their inversions.  Keep adding new ones until you’ve gone through all 12 majors and minors.  It’s okay to play well in certain keys and not in others.

In the beginning, it’s more important to get a good feel for what it means to be good on the instrument.  Once you master a comfortable key, you are able to approach harder keys with greater confidence.

Make The Decision

The only thing standing in the way of your success is resolution to devote quality time to learning the basic chords.  You can do it in about a month if you put your mind to it.  To take control of your lifetime learning process, you’ve got to practice.  Do it everyday. 

Study the chords and their patterns.  Work on ones you don’t know and memorize the positions.  Test and drill yourself as you analyze what you are doing.  Work your own math, figure things out and ask yourself the hard questions.  Become a motivated, inquisitive student to learn what you must.  The answer is there and you've got to keep looking for it.  Always look for deep answers to simple questions.  Ask me anything if you get confused.

But it's totally up to you how motivated you are to MAKE THAT DECISION. 

When you reach command of the basic chords, you'll know you are good on the piano.  That’s when your entire world opens up.  At that point you realize you can get as good as you want (if you are willing).  Furthermore, you can go in any direction you want with confidence that otherwise would be empty without command.

Confidence Issues

People with command often underestimate their control over the instrument.  “I can’t improvise.”  is a common lament.  Improvisation comes with time, effort and experience.  Gauge your abilities on how long you've been in command.  Be aware of the accelerated type of knowledge you use to teach yourself to get better.  You are a rare person of exceptional potential because of what you know. 

Reread the previous post “The Musical Universe” and immerse yourself into that information.  You must keep this in the forefront of your mind and not allow yourself to backtrack to traditional trappings.  If you want to lead then you must follow the numbers path.  Learn this and the rest of your piano days will be bright and rosy.

People tend to get hung up on so many notes and keys to keep track of because they cannot shake “96-concept” thinking.  Discard your dependence on alpha tones and laser-focus only on the 8-note order.   That's what puts order to the Musical Universe.

"Exploded Engine," a sculpture by Rudolph de Harak,

Music theory is just like anything else you might not fully understand.  An engine, for example, is a bit complicated but -once broken down and explained- makes perfect sense.

There’s a technology to music the same.  While the product of music theory is infinite, the interactive components of the technology are concise and limited.

Numerically, all theories you use to keep track of where you are, are all rooted in 8-Concept thinking.  Transposing, modulation, key signatures, melody lines, progressions and more all use the same measure and rely on your insider view of the major scale.  Do not view any of the theories as singular to themselves, they are not.  They are merely tributaries to the major scale; offshoots totally dependent upon 8-Concept thinking as well.

Atlas Ability

It is very very powerful to realize you can control such a big instrument with proper 8-Concept thinking.  THAT, my friends is how playing the piano is easy.  You quickly get to a point where your mind plays better than your fingers do.  As you gain experience, the concept becomes a part of your being.  However, in the beginning you must continually look to the major scale for answers. 

Some think that piano talent is a kind of mystical “gift.”  Any play-by-ear, piano-bar musician out there knows how to get around.  Style aside, anybody that’s good knows the math of music.  It’s not a willy-nilly, just-get-a-feel-for-it kind of thing.  It’s a simple mathematical science that is the roadmap to getting around.

For most seasoned musicians it’s been a long road to 8-Concept awareness.  For you it’s a turbo-boost to your musicianship.

The only thing you have to do is realize it.


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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