When stealing is good.

Pablo Picasso once said “Good artists borrow, great artists steal”.

I stole (in other words learned to play note for note) Erroll Garner’s piano solo on The Way You Look Tonight (1:46 in the video) in music college and have used licks, phrases and techniques from it in my playing ever since.

It’s a great way to learn. In fact I think it’s the best way. You internalise feel, rhythm, dynamics, and harmony from the guys who did what you are trying to do better than anyone else in history.

But it’s not just the masters of piano playing from whom we can learn. Any of us can learn something from anyone else who can do something on their instrument that we can’t. And so in this spirit, I have recorded some online tuition videos which will hopefully help some of you get to grips with certain areas of piano playing with which you may be struggling.

So here’s the first one. It’s Elton John’s Your Song, and in it I demonstrate how to play 3 versions of this well-known piano-based number.

There’s one for people starting out (0:03), one for people already well able to play (2:31), and one for people looking to play like a pro (5:14). It comes with easy to see graphics and a chord chart.

A new video (showing how to play a different song) will come out every Monday and while the one above is available for anyone to watch, the rest will be only available (for the time being anyway) to people who have enrolled in my upcoming piano tuition classes.

Because learning to play a song or a solo like someone else does is only one part of learning to play piano. There are so many other facets, including listening and using your ear efficiently, how to put a suitable left hand pattern underneath your right hand melody, having decent knowledge about harmony and rhythm, and how to play effectively with others.

If any of this interests you, you may as well know that the classes are almost full, but there are a very small number of slots left.

In my after-school classes, aimed at students aged 9-18, there is one slot on a Thursday at 2.50 (for a primary school student), and one on a Wednesday at 4.05 (for a secondary school student).

I am also running some courses for adults – for beginners and non-beginners alike. These are starting on next Tuesday Sept 3 and I have spaces left in both classes. You can contact me at kieran@kieranquinn.ie if any of the above interests you.

Happy playing everyone!