Learn to play “Yellow” by Coldplay : Piano Lesson #24

August 22, 2009

Hello everyone!

This is Shohini, and I am very pleased to have joined Edutainment! Playing the piano is my hobby and although I had wanted to play the piano since I was a child, I got the chance to learn and play this glorious instrument only as recently as 2005. I love picking up songs by ear and letting my mood decide what I play!

I am sure that all you piano lovers will agree that handing control of your thoughts to your fingers as they play the piano is nothing short of beautiful! Here is an honest confession though: I have never really been very fond of reading sheet music and prefer playing by ear any day!

It feels great to be a part of The Piano Encyclopedia team and I am very excited about bringing to you new songs to try out on the piano as part of the Piano Video Tutorials column of Edutainment!

I also have very exciting news to share! After almost three years of development, and more than 50 contributors – musicians, pianists, developers, graphic designers, writers and editors from all corners of the world, the second major venture of The Piano Encyclopedia, The Logic Behind Music Digital Home Study Course is completed!

Piano enthusiasts everywhere, rejoice! The method that revolutionizes conventional piano teaching is about to be unveiled to you!

I have been personally talking with Rod (the CEO & Founder of The Piano Encyclopedia) and he has been telling me some of the high points of our Digital Home Study Course. It is a dream come true for all of us here as we look forward to presenting before you the most exciting and fun way to “tickle the ivory”!

Interactive, innovative and exhaustive, The Logic Behind Music aims to help music enthusiasts learn the theory of music in a ‘practical way’ so that they have no trouble whatsoever in composing and improvising and get a well-deserved boost on their way to becoming musicians. So if you love playing the piano and don’t want to merely “interpret” music but “create” it as well, The Logic Behind Music is perfect for you!

Do watch this space, everyone, as I will be keeping you up to date with all the “secret” and inside sneak-peek news of the launch of the Digital Home Study Course “The Logic Behind Music!

Today, I have a wonderful piano lesson for all of you –

You are about to learn:
Song: Yellow
Artist: Coldplay

Yellow strikes a hypnotically alluring note right from the first few chords. Produced by Coldplay and Nelson, Yellow released in 2000 and was the band’s first breakthrough hit. The song remains an eternal favourite among Coldplay fans even nine years after its original release.

Hauntingly beautiful, it is one of those songs that you simply cannot stop humming once you hear it! In fact, Yellow is one of my all-time favourite songs! The background music in the original song is mostly acoustic guitar, however, a song as melodious as Yellow can’t possibly sound anything but good on piano, can it?

The first video here is a tutorial that shows you how to play the song by slowly showing each note with the accompanying chords. If you are just starting out with the song then getting the notes right is very important so you can learn the right notes to play from this video and then listen to the actual song to get the tempo right.

The next video is an amazing piano rendition by Adrian Lee who has played this entirely by ear. You can see the notes and chords that he has played quite clearly. How we all wish we were this good, right?

Now let me tell you a little about the original song video. The band had come up with the idea to film the video in a happy, sunny background with moving stars in the sky – an allusion to the lyrics. Yet, the weather played spoilsport with Studland Bay, where the video was filmed, being held hostage by howling winds and rain. Right then, let us have a look at the video itself!

Enjoy yourselves while learning to play this, and remember to:
“Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And all the things you do”

I hope you liked this piano lesson!

If you would like to take your piano playing skills to the next level so that you can easily play all the songs you love on the piano, do look forward to the launch of The Logic Behind Music! I promise you that you will have even more fun creating your own music following our approach towards learning music!

Till then,
~ Shohini 🙂

Now we have a new fun feature as part of the run-up to the release of The Logic Behind Music.

I will be asking trivia questions regarding the song taught in each post and all of you are invited to submit the answer in the comment box. In a particular quiz, the first person to give the right answer will be the winner. We are also going to have weekly “merit lists” where I will mention the winners with the most number of correct answers in this very column!

Sounds exciting, right? So are you ready for today’s question? Here it goes!

What, according to the band is the theme of the song, Yellow?
(Answer: “Yellow refers to the mood of the band. Brightness and hope and devotion” and also Chris Martin’s unrequited love.)


The 7 Tips to Becoming Super Productive

November 17, 2007

How good are your time-management skills?

Do you find yourself spending too much time on single tasks and never finishing early?!
I would like to share with you an article from an expert in the field, no one else than the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Michael S. Hyatt:

Almost everyone I know is working more time than they would like. That’s why a book like The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss has been such a big bestseller. This is a great book, but the promise is a little over the top. I don’t know of anyone, including Tim Ferriss, who really only works four hours.

Weekly Calendar

But what if you could shave ten hours off your work week? In my opinion, that is much more do-able. Virtually anyone, with a little thought and effort can do it. Here’s how:

  1. Limit the time you spend online. In my experience, the Web is most people’s #1 time suck. Yes, I know it is a wonderful tool for research, blah, blah, blah. But I often catch myself and my family members mindlessly surfing from one page to another with no clear objective in mind. Before you know it, you can eat up several hours a day. The key is to put a fence around this activity and limit your time online. Set a timer for yourself if you have to.This is true for Web surfing and it is also true for email. Unless you are in a customer service position where you have to be “always-on,” you should check email no more than two or three times a day.
  2. Touch email messages once and only once. Okay, let’s be honest. How many times do you read the same email message over and over again? Guess what? The information hasn’t changed. That’s right. You are procrastinating.I have a personal rule: I will only read each message once then take the appropriate action: do, delegate, defer, file or delete it. I describe these in more detail in a post I made last week.
  3. Follow the two-minute rule. My to-do list is very short. It never gets longer than about thirty items. This is because I do everything I can immediately. If I need to make a phone call, rather than entering it on my to-do list, I just make the call.If I can complete the action in less than two minutes, I just go ahead and do it. Why wait? You will be amazed at how much this “bias toward action” will reduce your workload.Conversely, when you don’t do it promptly, you end up generating even more work for yourself and others. The longer a project sits, the longer it takes to overcome inertia and get it moving again. The key is to define the very next action and do it. You don’t have to complete the whole project, just the next action.
  4. Stop attending low-impact meetings. If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that we go to too many meetings. Either the meeting organizer isn’t prepared, the meeting objective isn’t defined, or you can’t really affect the outcome one way or the other.Every meeting should have a written objective and a written agenda. If you don’t have these two minimal items, how do you know when the meeting is over? Could this also explain why meetings seem to drag on and on until everyone is worn out?If the content of the meeting is irrelevant to you and your job or if you don’t feel that you really add that much to the discussion, ask to be excused.
  5. Schedule time to get your work done. This is crucial. As the saying goes, “nature abhors a vacuum.” If you don’t take control of your calendar, someone else will. You can’t spend all your time in meetings and still get your work done.Instead, you need to make appointments with yourself. Yes, go ahead and actually put them on your calendar. Then, when someone asks for a meeting, you can legitimately say, “No, I’m sorry, that won’t work. I already have a commitment.” And you do—to yourself!
  6. Cultivate the habit of non-finishing. Not every project you start is worth finishing. Sometimes we get into it and realize, “This is a waste of time.” Fine, then give yourself permission to quit.I do this all the time with reading. It’s why I am able to read so many articles and books. Here’s publishing’s dirty little secret: most books are not worth finishing. Most books could be cut in half and you wouldn’t miss a thing. The key is to read as long as you are interested and then stop. There are too many great books to read without getting bogged down in the merely good ones.
  7. Engage in a weekly review and preview. Part of the reason our lives get out of control is because we don’t plan. Once a week, you have to come up for air. Or—to change the metaphor—you have to take the plane up to 30,000 feet, so you can see the big picture.I generally do this on Sunday evening. I review my notes from the previous week and look ahead to my calendar. I have written elsewhere on this topic, so I won’t repeat myself here.

You may not be able to reduce your workweek to four hours—and honestly, who would want to?—but you can certainly scale it down to a manageable level by cutting out the wasted motion and developing a few good habits.

I hope you enjoyed the article!

Share your experiences with us!
Do you spent your time efficiently?!

Cheers!

Questor


Enhancing your piano technique – Voicing

July 29, 2007

Vocing piano keyboard chords In easy ways, Voicing is the inversion of a chord. This is the vertical ordering of the notes of the chord, or in other words. which notes are on top, bottom, or in the middle.

This simple concept can change completely how rich and professional your playing sounds.
Geniuses like Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, always based their compositions in other to obtain the best voicing combinations for their musical phrases. However, this not only applies to classical music, a bad voicing can cause a jazz player to sound ‘cheap’ or very unprofessional, and a good voicing can make you be the most wanted piano bar player!

Fortunately, the secret of voicing can be summarized in one line:

You must always minimize the distance that each note of each chord must move in order to go to from the previous chord to the next chord.

Following this simple and amazing rule, your sound quality will improve greatly, and it’s just that easy for chords!

To expand into this subject, I invite you to read the following article, by the experienced pianist Paul Tobey:

It always amazes me when I hear different piano players and how they voice their chords. Voicing is one of those skills that is not talked about a lot but in my experience makes the biggest difference in a pianist’s overall sound.

What does voicing mean exactly? Simply put, voicing is the way chords are played which gives them their timbre or richness. In other words it’s how many notes are played, the distance between each of the notes and the quantity and quality of extensions.

There are literally thousands of ways to play a single chord. There are also millions of ways to play a chord progression if you consider that each chord can be played a thousand different ways. However, it’s likely a good idea to start off with a few solid possibilities instead of a thousand.

For example, let’s take a Cmaj7 chord. The chord itself is simple enough and is made up of C E G and B. However, depending on how rich you want the chord to sound you can also add D and A to the chord as extensions. Why? Because D and A come from the C major scale and do not clash with the basic chord.

These are what we call extensions. In other words a good pianist will already consider D and A in their chord voicing when they see the chord symbol Cmaj7. It doesn’t have to be written Cmaj7 (9 13) for them to understand this.

So, how would a pianist then voice this chord? Well, for starters, that depends on the melody. Whatever the melody note is will become the highest note of the chord. For example, let’s say D is the melody note of prominence while the chord is being played. That means that for a pianist our 9th is already understood as part of the chord and is the top note.

Next, it’s generally a good idea to play the bass note in the left hand which is C of course. Then the next 2 most important notes are the 3rd and the 7th because these notes give the chord its flavor. Consider playing the 7th in the left hand above the bass note. That would mean playing the C with finger 5 (baby finger) and B with finger 1 (thumb).

Then, play the 3rd, 5th and melody (9th) in the right hand with the 1st, 2nd and 5th fingers respectively. What’s left? The 13th or A which, you can cover with the 3rd finger of the right hand. So, from bottom to top you would have the notes in this order; C B E G A and D. That right there is a very rich sounding chord and you’d have to go a long way to find one richer.

However, this is only one way of voicing the chord. Like I said before there are literally thousands of ways. My suggestion is this; learn one way at a time until it becomes second nature. Voicing the root and 7th in the left hand and covering the 3rd and the melody in the right hand is a very good system to start with. Then with your left over fingers in the right hand cover the 5th and any other extension that’s available. This works for all chords including major, minor, dominant and diminished chords.

Once you’ve learned this way of voicing chords it becomes much easier to tackle a new formula because this one is already clear and concrete and will help you hear very clearly the difference between the chords. Until next time, keep practicing.

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did.

We expect your comments and questions, and if you’d like us to publish an article about any piano related topic just tell us!

Cheers and until next time!

Rod

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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Make your piano playing sound proffesional

July 29, 2007

Piano Keyboard Reharmonization

Wouldn’t you like to enhance your piano playing technique and sound more professional?


Learning a new song with the basic chords is always rewarding, but what if could tell you that you could learn how to replace these basic chords with more elaborated ones and sound like a proffesional?

This technique is called reharmonization and the concept represents studying the harmony that makes up the original chords of the song, and replacing it with a new set of chords, or adding more chords in between. This enables a richer and more professionals sound.

The technique sounds hard, but once you get to play with it you’ll discover that it’s easier than you thought and that the results you’ll be able to make will sound completely at other level, gradually incrementing your knowledge about harmony, and what makes music sound well.

To let you have a good start on reharmonization techniques, we invite you to read an example of reharmonization of Christmas Music by the hand of our friend and experienced pianist, Paul Tobey:

Christmas Sheet Music is generally like every other kind of sheet music except for one thing; because of the well-known melodies it is more open to re-harmonization. What does that mean exactly? Well, simply by virtue of the fact that everyone knows the melody it’s easier for the piano accompanist to take more harmonic chances.

Christmas songs like Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Joy to the World are so entrenched in our consciousness that few people even have to think about the words or the melody. It just comes naturally for most of us, at least in western culture, to sing the lyrics and melodies without any thought at all.

That’s what makes it all the more fun for pianists who accompany carolers to take some really neat harmonic chances with the underlying chords. Generally speaking no matter what you do, and as long as you keep the beat going, no one’s going to get lost.

Christmas sheet music is very often notated with accompanying chord symbols to help pianists make good chord choices. Of course, the more talented the pianist the more interesting the choices. That’s why I like chord symbols on Christmas sheet music because, it gives me a general guide to follow and makes it easier to add more chords to the mix.

How is this done? Let’s take a song like Jingle Bells for example. If we’re in the key of F, the basic chord symbols at the chorus are as follows;

| F |F |F| F | Bb | F | C7 | C7|
| F |F |F| F | Bb | F | C7 | F |

Now, how would one approach re-harmonizing this very simple chord progression (as there are many repeated chords making the progression sound kind of dull)? Most jazz players would know the answer to that question but for everyone else the trick lies in something we call the 2-5-1 progression or II – V – I. This basically means that in front of every landing chord we can put a II – V progression with the one (I) being the landing chord or destination chord.

If in the chord progression above you were to put a II – V in front of the Bb landing chord you would get a whole new sound. What is a II – V? In the scale of Bb (our landing chord) C is the second note of the scale and F is the fifth note of the scale. Therefore the chord progression would be C – F – Bb. However, because the second chord of the Bb scale is a C minor chord the progression would be notated like this |C- | F | Bb|.

Would you like to try something a bit trickier? Try adding sevenths to each chord. That means add a seventh interval, either major or minor 7th to each chord as reflected by the Bb major scale. Therefore the final II – V – I progression, with Bb as the landing chord, would be notated as |C-7| F7 | BbM7|.

So how would the chorus of Jingle Bells be notated if you used II – V’s in front of each landing chord? Like this;

| F |F | C-7 F7 | BbM7 | F | G-7 | C7 |
| F |F | C-7 F7 | BbM7 | F | G-7 C7 | FM7 |

As you can likely hear if you play these chords on the piano it makes the progression seem much more interesting and rich. So, the next time you pick up a sheet of Christmas music have a look at the landing chords and see if you can’t put a II – V in front of them. You’re music will have so much extra color to it and everyone will marvel at your new found ability.

As you can see reharmonization is not that difficult, and it can provide you with astonishing results that can take your piano playing to another level.

These techniques are not only useful for playing other pieces, but also for composing, and improvising at your own.

You are welcome to ask any harmony related question or tell us what you’ll be interested in reading next!

Cheers!

Rod

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  • Start Piano Lessons Now & Play Like A Pro. Impress Your Friends Today!

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How to draw web 2.0 Logos!

March 2, 2007

Tired of this shareware programs that want to charge you for their “Logo Creator” or “Logo Maker”,  or whatever names they have but are expensive and limited?!
We have the solution for you: in this article we transmit you the know-how of how to create top quality logo’s, that can match (or even surpass maybe ;), depending on the artist) even the brand new web 2.0 companies logos.

In this very intresting tutorial you will learn how draw your own logos with Adobe Photoshop,

We thank the guru Honkiat for providing us this lesson:

Ever wonder how these guys draw their Web 2.0 Logos? Sometimes its nice to learn from others, build up the basic skills and start your own creativity from there. In this Photoshop tutorial, I’m going to reveal you some of the nice Web 2.0 logos, how you can draw their logo exactly the same (well, not really 100% though) with Photoshop.

1. Download and Install style file

First of all, you will need to download a style I’ve created and load it into Photoshop.

  1. Download Photoshop style here. (Right-click -> Save as)
  2. For Photoshop CS2 users, put this style file into
    “C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Presets\Styles”
    Photoshop of other versions, put the file inside Presets\Styles

2. Load style

Call up your Style Dialog box in Photoshop

  1. Windows -> Styles
  2. Notice a small arrow button on the top right corner. Click on it and select Load Styles from the drop down
  3. Find web20 from the list and click Load. If you don’t find web20, try close Photoshop, re-open it repeat Step 1.
  4. Click on the arrow button again and select Large List from drop down

Your result should look something similar to the image on the right.

3. The six Web 2.0 Logos


Here’s six Web 2.0 Logo; MyBlogLog, Imified, mixd, skype, Linked In and Go2Web20. The style you’ve just installed is going to reveal how to draw them. I’ll go through “mixd” and “Go2Web20” logos, the rest is just reusing the same technique.

4. How to draw

The reason I use Style here is because once they are saved in to a .asl file (the file you downloaded) they are convenient to apply. Let’s go about drawing some of these logos.

Drawing mixd Logo

Initial observation, mixd logo consist of

  1. “mixd” text
  2. rounded rectangular
  3. small dot
  4. smaller dot

We will roughly draw them out in Photoshop, each elements in a different layer as illustrated in the image below.

Now here’s the the trick. Look for “mixd-label” in the Style Dialog. Drag them directly to background layer, small dot layer and smaller dot layer respectively. If you drag them correctly you will noticed that the layer will now inherits the colors and blending of the style. Find “mixd-font” in Style Dialog, drag it to the text layer and your mixd logo is complete, 90% like the original I’ll say.

Drawing Go2Web20 Logo

Have 4 new layers created, each for “GO“, “2“, “WEB” and “2.0

Drag “go2web20-purple” from Style Dialog into “GO” & “WEB”, drag “go2web20-green” into “2″ & “2.0″ and you will get this final output.

As for the rest (MyBlogLog, imified, skype and Linked In), it’s all about dragging their respective style in and match with the correct font.

5. Conclusion

If you look into the Blending Options of each style, you will noticed that most Web 2.0 logos are matter of playing with Gradiants, Strokes with the combination of the right fonts. This may not the “exact” way how these guys had done their logo, but its at least a way to achieve it. I’m not encouraging you to fake their style and redraw your logo, but try understand it and hopefully you can come out with a nice sleek Web 2.0 logo. I love putting my designs in Style (.asl), I can reuse them whenever I want.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as much as I did!

Cheers!

Questor


The right way for learning Japanese!

November 23, 2006

Hi there!

I just discovered another amazing site, this time about the japanese language.  I have been always interested in oriental stuff, such as martial arts, manga, anime, and all that cool stuff that this guys have. Not even talk about japanese katanas (swords). However as an anime fan, I am still reading the subtitles in english of my japanese animes.

I read somewhere that japanese was much easier than chinese, since it has less verbs conjugations and a simpler structure. So that gave me some hope…

I began reading some tutorials then, but I then realized that I hadn’t a clue of how to pronounce the words (or neither how they sounded), so it wasn’t actually really useful.

I now discovered Japanese Lessons Blog that seems to be pretty cool:

JapanesePod101.com is an innovative and revolutionary approach to mastering the Japanese language at your own pace – take the classroom with you, and spend as much time as you need on each lesson! Today’s lesson is designed to give you a taste of our Beginner Lessons series, which will introduce you to the language and progressively build your grammar and vocabulary until you’re ready to move on to the Intermediate Lessons. In this lesson, we work on introductions so that you can start using your newly aquired Japanese skills immediately! After listening, stop by JapanesePod101.com for more materials, and be sure to leave us a post!

However the best part are not the articles, but actually the material: it has sound recordings of japanese lessons in order to help you learn how to pronounce the words! Often, each article has a sound attachment, but there is also a category where one can view just the listening lessons

Aki is the principal voice of the recordings and she seems very cute! 😉 Check it out!
The best is that it contains multiple  levels for newbies, begginers, intermidiates, and even a survival-phrases-kit in case you are going to Japan.

In case you don’t like this blog, there are also software in the market that can help you learn.
A good choice seems Learn to Speak Japanese that can be downloaded as a free trial by clicking here.

Learn To Speak Japanese (the Roman character version) is specially developed for people who are learning a new language. It includes 245 scenes of common conversation and 850 words of basic vocabulary. It is presented in a small screen format so you can study while doing other work at your computer. This software will make every second of your time useful.

Even more there are Audio courses that be purchased on CD-Rom like Talk Now!
We recommend Talk Now! for any  language beginner who wants an entertaining self-study course to learn basic phrases, colors, numbers, food, shopping, time, countries, etc.    Talk Now! is designed for people who want to learn a language quickly. It’s fun, fast, and makes learning easy. If you don’t have time to become fluent, but need the basics in a hurry, then Talk Now! is for you.  

Please tell us about your experiences,

Konichiwa!

Questor


Learn how to draw realistic eyes

November 21, 2006

Hi there!

I wanted to share with you one of the most amazing drawing tutorials I ever found on.
The following animation covers drawing, painting, and shading of an eye, in realistic drawing style, from scratch.

The credits go to the talented skilled artist xylael who has spent hours making this animation lesson for all of us:

Eye tutorial drawing lesson realistic manga

Even for manga lovers, this is a nice lesson to learn, as manga style is just a simplification and exageration of details portraid in realistic drawing style.

The artist has used Photoshop and Painter as his drawing and coloring software, in order to do this magnificient piece of art. To view more information about the author and the tutorial click here.

I am sure you enjoyed this lesson as much as I did.

Please leave us your comments and we would love to receive your eye drawings!.

Cheers!

Questor