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Popular Piano Lessons: Summertime

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With Summertime,
we're gonna be introduced to some really
cool blues chords and harmonies.
These are pretty dense things, so
you're gonna really wanna take your
time to read the notes carefully.
Make sure you compare
them with my performance,
the slow performance particularly.
So you get the right notes.
Okay, we're also gonna be taking
a look at swing rhythm a little bit.
And in particular,
there are a couple of tricky sections.
Remember when we did a melody and
accompaniment in one hand?
Well, [LAUGH] in this song,
we're gonna double that.
Melody and accompaniment,
melody and accompaniment,
in both hands doing four different things.
You thought playing with
two hands was hard.
We're gonna be looking at doing
four voices at once with two hands.
Don't worry.
If you just take your time, you can do it.
One of the tricky things about the left
hand riff is the fact that
it's larger than an octave.
You have to do a lot of leaping around.
So what I advise you to do to learn
this is first learn the bottom note.
And the top note of the chord.
I want you to first
practice going back and
forth, just between those two notes, okay?
The idea is that I want you to keep your
hand open even when you're down here.
I don't want you to close your hand up and
then have to reopen it to find
the notes of your chord, okay?
You see what I'm doing?
That's gonna be a very awkward
way to learn that riff.
You want this to be very comfortable,
almost as if your hand could play it.
And even though you can't reach it,
I want you to have your hand still open.
Keep it as open as possible and
you're jumping back and forth, okay?
Now, once you've learned that
with your hand open like this,
let's just do the top two notes
of the chord, the blues chord.
I want you to feel that white key,
black key relationship right here and
then go to the next two white key,
black key relationship.
It should feel very similar, okay.
It's an interesting thing what
happens when even you're jumping,
as long as you feel that relationship,
you're gonna feel like
they're actually connected,
as if your hand really didn't jump at all.
Okay and you'll be very accurate
as you practice this, okay.
So the top two notes.
Again, keeping it open,
almost thinking of the shape of
the chord before I hit it, [SOUND] okay?
Now let's add that bottom note, okay, A
and then we have this note on the bottom,
if you look carefully it's an E,
F-sharp and a C, okay.
But I'm thinking of these two and this
is kind of an extra note that hangs on.
[SOUND] And then these, we have a black
key with the F-sharp down here.
But it should feel pretty similar
even as you jump back and forth.
[SOUND] Okay, of course with the pedal,
you change every two chords or two beats.
Okay, and it'll feel easier,
cuz you're not gonna feel like you
have to hold them quite as long, okay.
So, work on getting that left
hand riff smooth and comfortable.
It doesn't have to be fast, but
just make sure you can find it without
struggling where the notes are gonna be.
Right off the bat, your right hand's
gonna come in with a great
syncopated entrance.
Let's take a look at it, okay?
So the left hand starts by itself.
Two, three, four, now the second measure.
Two, and three, and four, and.
You see what happened here?
When you come into the third beat,
the right hand comes in between that,
then the fourth beat in the left hand.
Looks easy, and
then you play right after that.
So in a sense you're having three,
and four, and.
One, two, three, and four and,
see how that works, okay?
So your right-hand first note's gonna
come right after the third beat,
and in-between the third and fourth beats.
So let's take a look at
that second measure again.
Three, and four, and
then you come in together on
the downbeat of the next measure.
You just hold that same riff.
Now the next little ditty.
I wrote it out as dotted eighths,
sixteenth, dotted eighth and sixteenth.
But what I'm looking for
is a swing rhythm.
You don't have to be so
accurate with these notes.
What we're looking for is long,
short, long, short, long.
So a lazy kind of a rhythm.
That's swing rhythm, okay?
So don't be too worried about
counting accurately there.
Just kind of a long, short,
long, short feel lazy.
Let' start it again from
the second measure.
Together, hold this right hand.
Look at these notes and here, lazy, lazy.
And if you want to you can pivot
here to play the bottom note.
Now the next section
gets a little tricky.
We're getting into one of these
sections where one hand
is doing double duty.
You're playing a harmony and melody.
In fact, what's happening is,
we're playing four voices in two hands,
so we're really extending the multi-voice
capabilities of playing the piano.
That's what makes playing the piano so
You've got a whole band,
a whole orchestra under your fingertips.
Let's take a look and break this apart.
First, let's take a look
at the right hand.
It's a little tricky here.
We're in measure number six,
the second half of the measure.
You're going to have these thumb
notes that go from D to C,
that's the accompaniment line.
[SOUND] And than the melody [SOUND] is
gonna come in with these two notes,
the G sharp and the E.
[SOUND] Then you jump down to the C,
[SOUND] and
then you're gonna [SOUND] play these
two notes, an F sharp and a C.
Doesn't make much sense but
with the pedal, it'll help.
You hear that melody on top
going like this.
Now what you have to be aware of is that
you're gonna have to move very
quickly from here to here.
The next measure,
because that's an eighth note, and
you played that twice up there.
Let's do that again.
You hear how that's connected?
Now, after you get to the D, you're going
onto hold to this, that's being tied.
Now here's where the crazy
multi-voice stuff happens.
Watch carefully.
Hold this top.
Now you're going to continue
while glue this pinky here.
Two, three.
Put your thumb under here.
You're holding the pinky still.
Tied over and then you play these
last two notes, A sharp, B, C.
Then you can finally let
go of that top melody.
Let's try that again.
It's kind of tricky.
D, hold it.
Thumb under, tied, and
then, the sixteenth notes.
All right?
So, just work on that,
get that comfortable, and
let's take a look at the left hand.
Okay, measure six, the left hand,
we're gonna break the pattern.
And just have this little transition here,
you can use, if you want to use two five,
two five, and just move that pinky down,
you can do that.
That's no problem.
[SOUND] In fact I would recommend that cuz
your third finger's still on that E.
[SOUND] So it's easy to find it and
just shift over, no big deal.
[SOUND] Okay now let's
get to the next measure,
measure seven, A and D [SOUND] okay?
Look carefully, what's gonna happen is
that the bottom note is gonna be held,
[SOUND] and
the upper voice is gonna transfer.
[SOUND] Move your third finger up to here.
See that?
[SOUND] Try to keep that
held as long as you can.
Now you can move your fifth finger up.
[SOUND] See how that works?
Okay, let's do that again.
[SOUND] Hold the pinky as long as you can,
three, two,
now move your fifth finger up again.
[SOUND] C sharp here and
then, [SOUND] okay.
Got two voices, a bass and a tenor voice.
Four voices in two hands.
Who would have thought of that.
Okay, now let's slowly
put it all together.
Okay, we've just
finished this pattern, ready?
And you can stay with
this third finger here,
[SOUND] right hand comes in here, [SOUND].
[SOUND] Right, we have that sequence,
we played it together.
Now, we're gonna reset your hand,
left hand's gonna jump up to here.
[SOUND] Okay.
Now keep in mind.
[SOUND] The fifth finger is
the only one playing, and
everything else is kind of locked down
here, for the first two notes here.
[SOUND] Okay, and after you do that, then
you're gonna lock your fifth finger here.
Put the third finger over.
Continue with the right hand.
[SOUND] It plays together, [SOUND]
still holding onto the fifth finger,
we're gonna transfer up
to this new position.
[SOUND] Tied.
Now you play this together.
[SOUND] Whew boy, a lot happening!
If you're really confused,
take it apart by leaving out the top note.
Here's what I mean.
Here's measure seven.
[SOUND] Okay.
Without the top melody.
[SOUND] Watch how this goes parallel.
you can break it down even further.
You can just leave out the pinky
in the left hand too, if you want.
[SOUND] Leave out the bottom note.
Put the pinky and the bottom note
back in in the left hand perhaps.
[SOUND] Play this here.
[SOUND] Okay and then when that's
comfortable, put the melody back in.
[SOUND] All you're doing is holding this,
that's the only thing
that's throwing you off.
[SOUND] Okay, let's go back and
put it together from this
little sequence here.
Too quickly.
So when you practice this, make sure the
pothole from here to here is covered to
get to this part at least, okay?
Now, hold the pinky.
All right.
You made it.
That's probably the hardest
lick I think in this song.
The rest of it isn't so bad.
So let's take a look at the next part.
So we're just
transferring out of here.
You're ending up with the fourth finger,
and see, I would probably switch to
a fifth finger because you have descending
notes underneath that.
In left hand,
I'm gonna jump down to a four.
Okay, that's what's gonna happen here.
We also have an additional note
in the middle, E, D sharp.
See how that transitions?
Now we move to this chord G sharp E,
G sharp octave chord.
All right?
Now here's where you really
need to have your pedal going.
[SOUND] Because you're gonna
have your melody holding, but
you can't do it with your fingers.
You're gonna need to do it with the pedal.
All right, let's do that
transition one more time, ready?
[SOUND] The end of measure seven.
[SOUND] Switch to five,
jump to a four down here, left hand.
Now, let's take a look at the right
hand alone here it's a little tricky.
[SOUND] We're gonna jump here.
[SOUND] Immediately go
to a five on this E.
[SOUND] Now here, I'm gonna put
my fifth finger underneath that.
[SOUND] Cool Jazz chord isn't it, D A and
D sharp, so D natural and D sharp, spicy.
[SOUND] Okay, then you're gonna reach out
for this fifth finger here on the black
key, now here's a cool technique,
watch what's gonna happen, slide down.
[SOUND] Just slide it down,
we have double fives there.
[SOUND] I'm gonna finish that note.
So let's review the right hand again.
[SOUND] Your pedal's gonna hold that for
you, so don't worry about holding it.
[SOUND] So get your pinky in
position to walk this down.
[SOUND] See what we're doing?
Five, four and the fifth finger,
your gonna kinda turn your hand [SOUND] so
that you can play that blues chord here.
[SOUND] Reach out for the pinky.
[SOUND] Slide it down.
[SOUND] Okay?
Let's add left hand chords to that.
It sounds so cool.
And, [SOUND] move your fifth finger down.
[SOUND] And then your left hand is
gonna play a B chord here, B octave.
[SOUND] I love that chord.
[SOUND] Slide it down.
[SOUND] C sharp, C natural.
[SOUND] Okay.
And now we're back to
main melody territory.
All right, let's transition
back to the main melody.
[SOUND] Again, like the beginning,
the right hand is gonna
come in between the third [SOUND] and
the fourth [SOUND] beats.
Then slide this pinky down.
So what's interesting about this next
section here in left hand,
instead of playing these chords,
we're playing kind of
a broken version of them.
Remember I had you doing these two notes
to find them?
Now you're glad you did.
It's easy to find that middle note now.
That just goes back and
forth a couple of times.
So again.
[SOUND] See how that syncopation works?
[SOUND] Together, together, left, right.
And then you hold it.
[SOUND] together, together, left, right.
To hear it in context.
So work it out slowly until you
can feel that rhythm there.
[SOUND] Swing the swing.
And return to this one more time here.
Now the right hand has
a variation coming up here.
[SOUND] See what happens here?
This is a triplet after these duplets.
[SOUND] Triplet.
Instead of one, two, one, two, triplet.
It's a very subtle thing.
It's a slightly faster thing.
I have this little mnemonic
that I use sometimes.
Buzzing, buzzing, bumblebee, bumblebee.
Gives you the difference between a duple,
if I'm stepping.
Duple and triple.
Buzzing, buzzing,
[SOUND] bumble bee buzzing.
You can use that if you want.
All right,
we're measure 14 right now.
So let's see how this fits [SOUND].
Bumblebee buzzing [SOUND].
Okay, hear what's happening?
What's actually happening
here is that you're having
the accompaniment [SOUND]
finishing off here [SOUND].
Then the right hand [SOUND],
this E is actually the singer, okay?
That should be played stronger
than those previous notes, okay?
Now, notice how the left hand [SOUND],
we were doing these patterns here [SOUND].
The pattern breaks and goes down to a low
D [SOUND], A and then F sharp, okay?
Don't forget the sharp carries over
from the previous F sharp here [SOUND].
So make sure you get this transition in
That's how you play that.
Now, left hand [SOUND].
And we have this big chord here [SOUND].
This big chord over here make
sure you figure out where
these notes are
right hand and
switch to a one
Now here we have two things happening
once, the melody on top and
then we have these two notes
being held under that.
So it's gonna look like this [SOUND],
So the tricky thing is making sure that
these two fingers stay [SOUND] held okay,
together with the left hand.
Remember this thing, we just played it
So let's go before that
So you have a lot of the same notes
these two notes stay the same [SOUND],
all you do is really move the upper octave
Move the upper octave
jump to reposition your hand for that cord
Now notice how my two fingers here
are playing a C and an F sharp.
I'm gonna simply play the C again,
slide this down to F natural [SOUND] so
I can play that cord.
Left hand you gonna have to
find this A [SOUND] and D and
a C [SOUND] jump out to there and
you wanna practice from here to here
Jump down and see how I can slide that in
And then here is B minor chord
Use your pedal to hold this,
you can keep your pedal on for
the rest of this song [SOUND].
And while this is holding we're gonna play
this little closing melody, up to this G
left hand plays the D here
And then the right hand is gonna
jump way down to the F clef, okay?
Remember, A fall down ball game
and E ledger line to the A
It's great closing blues chord, okay?
One quick note I wanna show you,
a lot of left hand is playing
One, two, three, four, five,
six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
this is a very common
accompaniment pattern.
Even though the notes
are a little different
that interval is very common in pop
music, okay?
So we're gonna see a lot more of this in
some of the songs we'll be looking at.
So [SOUND], it's basically it's like
having a third [SOUND] an octave higher.
That's what tenths do.
It's a very great way of getting a nice,
open chord sound and feelings.
So take your time, a lot of dense stuff.
The short song but a lot of dense
things to work in details, so
take your time with this.
If there's one section to target in this
song, it's measure six through ten.
That's definitely the hardest part.
That's where the four voices come in and
you're jumping around playing
these very dense chords.
Take your time, and
really focus on this middle section.
Once you get comfortable with it, then
the rest of the song will really come into
place pretty easily, cuz they're a lot of
the same patterns over and over again.
Don't get frustrated.
Really take your time to figure
out where those chords are, and
you're gonna actually feel them
feel comfortable eventually.
They will fit your hand, if you have your
hands positioned in the right place.
And if you really just take you time,
So, don't worry, measure six through ten,
that's the danger zone.
Work on that over everything else, and
once that's comfortable and smooth,
put the rest of the piece together and
you'll be just fine.