There seems to be an inverse correlation between construction and longevity. The longer lasting the song, the simpler you can expect the harmonic and melodic structures to be.
A song I sang as a teenager on long and winding road trips was a riddle in counting backwards from 99 to one. The idea is that the more you drink, the harder it is to count backwards in a group. [Note: Back then, there was no such thing as drinking age, especially on the island of Okinawa!] Add another dimension of modulating it through the major triads based on the twelve notes in a chromatic scale and you will be sure to stay sober!
Continue reading “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall and counting”
After you get your first ukulele (whether you borrowed, rented, or bought), the next thing you need to do is to learn how to strum. This is the rhythm section.
However, it’s nearly impossible to write about strumming without showing it, so you’ll have to come to one of my ukulele workshops, especially the one called “Different Strokes for Different Folks.” For now, I am going to answer your question about what to do with the other hand: which chords should you learn first.
Continue reading “Which ukulele chords to learn first?”
It doesn’t take long to learn to play a few basic chords on the ukulele and join an uke club to strum, sing, and socialize. No other instrument allows the beginner to practice playing in the relaxed company of others and travel the world with it.
Or “play, pluck, and party”
Or “jam, jingle, and joviality”
As an ukulele enthusiast, I consider the existence of so-called ukulele clubs a golden perk of playing the ukulele. I don’t know of any clubs for other instrumentalists that welcome beginners to jam with more advanced players. Perhaps barbershop quartets or multi-instrumental jam sessions may allow for that, but how common are they really? The ukulele clubs’ tradition of group playing is a fun way to push myself to learn new chords and expand my repertoire. I can’t think of a better way to combine practice with socialization.
Continue reading “Ukulele Clubs: sing, strum, socialize”
Anne Ku arranged a version of the popular Sinatra song Fly Me to the Moon for easy piano with full fingering and chords — and free download of the 2-page sheet music.
2015 is a year many Sinatra lovers will celebrate with songs that he made famous. One of these is a favorite among my piano students. Each year, a new pianist will ask to play “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Continue reading “Fly Me to the Moon for Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday”
Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” is a ballad suitable for arpeggio accompaniment, in the key of E major.
Unlike “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz‘s “I Won’t Give Up” is a ballad, requiring broken instead of block chords. Similar to “I’m Yours” the chord progressions repeat: A/E E | E | A/E E | A/E E | E | Bsus | B |
Continue reading “Jason Mraz I Won’t Give Up for piano ensemble”
Beginners want to learn a complete piece quickly and have fun with it. Yankee Doodle is such a piece for easy piano. There are many things you can do with it.
One of the earliest songs a beginner can learn to play on the piano is the sticky tune of “Yankee Doodle.”
The easiest way is to use both hands to split up the melody, starting with the right hand.
Next is to let the right hand play the melody and the left hand do very simple bass or interval accompaniment.
Continue reading “Yankee Doodle for easy piano”
These days students are more motivated to learn to play music they have already heard of than to discover music by reading notes. There are many methods to communicate or transcribe music nowadays.
Besides playing the music on CD, via youtube, via iTunes, on iPod, on radio, on record player, you can enjoy it even more if you can play it on a musical instrument. Of course, you can always sing it acapella.
Continue reading “Playing music you love by reading notes”