Nature of the Song

The Nature of the Popular Song

the nature of the song...

A song is a short musical form. This is true whether we're speaking of a piece written at the turn of this century, (like Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue or Home on the Range) in the 20s (like Stardust) the 30's (Someone to Watch Over Me), 40s, (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), 50's (Fly me to to the Moon), the 60's (e.g., Yesterday), the 70's (like Candle in the Wind) - and so on and so on.

Songs are easy to remember. You hear them a few times and you know them. It's easy to get very good at picking out songs at the piano (even if you consider yourself tone deaf, a misleading and inaccurate term; Sudnow teaches you how to solve this problem with a very simple cure.) While each song is unique, all tunes share a great deal in common with many others. That's why when you know how to play twenty tunes well you can quickly play hundreds.

As first you work with chord charts, and learn how to arrange the melody and the chords together so that you get a full two handed sound. This is called voicing, and it's the most interesting and rewarding part of the song-learning process.

The Standard Song is where we have you begin. Not because we're pushing the great standards, but because learning to play a few of these 'older tunes' is very useful. They really provide the best settings to learn all about chords, and harmony, and coloring chords (or 'voicing', where you take tones of the chord and the melody and distribute them between both hands) . Once you play a few standards well, it's then quite easy to shift into any any particular musical era or style, from the twenties up to the current tunes of the day, and make those simple modifications you need to make a sound fit into a particular style. Your first tunes are the well known standards Misty, and As Time Goes By. They're great to play, everyone recognizes them, and they're the best kind of musical material we know of to equip you to then move into any style of song playing you'd like.

By taking on Songs you take on a manageable adult task. If you put in a half hour a day, practicing carefully, you'll acquire a repertoire of a dozen tunes you can play well, with a full cocktail sound (a term we dislike!) inside of a year (or much less if you had former training). From then on you can move in any direction you like.

If you try to build a repertoire of twenty minutes worth of music you can play well in the classical tradition - adult sounding classical music - you simply have to give up everything else you do in life for that to be possible, if you're over forty and never studied the piano.

The Song is the best form for adults to aim for - a manageable, very keyboard friendly, musical goal. We've yet to meet a student who can play tunes well who doesn't agree!