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Playing Popular Piano & Keyboards

This book is for everyone who finds staves incomprehensible and scales depressing but just wants to play: an easy-to-learn but effective method that will have you playing whatever you want - whether R&B, rock, soul, blues, pop, jazz, urban/hip hop, or old standards - NOW!


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Are you afraid of the piano or keyboards? Do they conjure up visions of endless lessons, finger-stumbling exercises, incomprehensible staves of unplayable scales and that depressing feeling that you would never be able to play what you like best?

Playing Popular Piano and Keyboards starts you off on the right note by making the piano and keyboards more approachable – and more fun!

By following the simple method in this book, you will be able to play the sort of music you enjoy – think of R&B, rock, soul, blues, pop, jazz, urban/hip hop, or old standards. The book is written and structured to make it suitable for beginners, ‘classical pianists’ and all those who once had lessons – and gave up.

Set out in straightforward lesson form, this book gives an easy-to-follow method of understanding chords and of using them to play from sheet music, by ear and for improvising. The book is written and structured to make it suitable for beginners, ‘classical pianists’ and all those who once had lessons – and gave up. It can also be used as a teaching aid.



How to use this book


Chords and what they can do
1. The Basis of music
2. Taking a song apart
3. Familiarity with certain fundamental chords and playing by ear
4. Personal experience
5. Summary

Lesson 1
Basic chords
1. Major chords
2. Minor chords
3. Diminished chords
4. Augmented chords

Lesson 2
The remaining chords
1. The Sixth chord
2. The major seventh chord
3. The seventh chord
4. The ninth chord
5. Remaining chords
6. Summary

Lesson 3
Inversions; the three chord tricks; transposing
1. Inversions
2. The three chord trick
3. Transposing
4. Summary

Lesson 4
12 bar blues
1. Introduction
2. What is 12 bar blues?
3. Exercises
4. Summary

Lesson 5
Playing by chords; from music
1. Introduction
2. The method
3. Practical illustrations
4. Summary

Lesson 6
Playing chords; by ear; jazz
1. Introduction
2. A review of common chords
3. Chord progressions
4. Playing by ear
5. Jazz or improvising
6. Summary

1. Basic revision course
2. Chord symbol chart
3. Transposing chart
4. Chord examples


Interview with the author

Q.  What is this book about?

A. Quite simply, if you want to play popular rather than classical music on the piano or keyboards, then this book will show you how.

Q. What is the inspiration behind the book?

A. I wanted to put in it everything that I wished I’d been shown when I was first interested in playing the music I most enjoyed listening to.

After quite a few years of playing other instruments, I realised that there was an approach to learning how to play the piano/keyboards that would make them much more accessible to me. That’s how I got into playing the piano and entertaining myself and then other people.

In the years before I wrote the book, people I met would say to me that they wished they could play the piano or hadn’t given it up. I used to tell them that there was a way they could learn and, in the end, even I got fed up of hearing myself saying that, and so I decided to do something about it by writing the book. As part of that process, I went back over how I had learnt about chords and then I put that into lesson form for the book.

Over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or read – particularly lately with the COVID-19 restrictions – about this or that person who would like to learn to play the piano. 

I’d like this book to help more people get the fun out of playing the piano/keyboards that I do, for, without doubt, it has been, for me, one of the best things to do over the years for enjoyment and relaxation.

Q. What are the main elements of the book?

It shows how chords are formed and how they can be used to play the piano and keyboards. I give easy-to-follow examples of various different chord types and their application.

Chords are actually the basis of all music and grasping that is fundamentally important in any quest to make music for yourself or with others.

People, whether they’re beginners, or ‘returners’, or players of other instruments can all use the book and get into understanding chords on the piano/keyboards and how best to use them to play from music in printed/online form, or ‘by ear’, or to improvise, for example in jazz.

I also cover 12 bar blues and regularly used chord patterns in popular music.

Q. How do you know the system or method works?

A. Well, for a start I actually play the piano myself using the methodology I set out and, more importantly, it is how I taught myself to play in the first place.

Better still, I did trial the method with a few willing ‘guinea pig’ pupils and used that experience to further refine the approach. I even did a series of classes at RADA, many years ago, to see how well a wider variety of people would respond to the system I advocate.

Encouraged by the results, I honed the lessons into publishable form and the fact that this latest edition is the third indicates that the book has stood the test of time.

Q. How did you choose the title?

A. With great difficulty, but in the end, I went for one that says what it does on the tin.

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Paperback ISBN-13: 9781854189165
Pages: 112
Size: 215.9mm x 279.4mm
GBP 10.99 Buy at Amazon UK