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Seven Studies in Pop Piano coming in late Feb/March

Edit, 19 April: I’ve pushed by the publication date a bit, but we’re nearly there. More info here!

Several people having been asking me about the pop piano book I mentioned a few months ago (thanks especially to Greg for reminding me!). Anyway, I’m pleased to let you all know that Seven Studies in Pop Piano is going to be available as a digital download later this month or early in March, depending on how long it takes me to finalise the layout. If all goes according to plan a print edition will follow soon afterwards.

Right now it all looks a bit like this:

This is what it looks like right now

Seven Studies is going to be a little different from last year’s An Introduction to Cocktail Piano. That book took the cocktail style and looked at most of its characteristic sounds and techniques. That’s harder with pop piano, because it’s such a diverse style. So, instead, I’ve written a collection of short solo piano pieces (the “studies” of the title) of that demonstrate some of the important techniques and give you a chance to practise them.

Alongside each study will be extensive explanatory notes, and, as with Cocktail, there’ll be an accompanying video in which I play through each of the studies in turn and discuss it.

So, there we go – I’d better stop writing about it and actually get writing it. Feel free to post any questions below 🙂

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • charlie February 15, 2016, 5:40 pm

    thank you Bill. awesome.
    just told a friend all about your great books and videos.

  • charlie February 15, 2016, 5:41 pm

    and super looking forward to your new pop video and book. 🙂

  • George Reamy February 22, 2016, 3:28 am

    First of all, thanks for all your hard work and generosity! I am sure you have helped many people.
    I was wondering if you might comment on fingering and finger position. As I am trying to practice regularly I don’t want to develop any bad habits. Some folks have told me things like “use whatever feels natural or is comfortable”, but that sounds like a lack of discipline to me.
    Thanks again.

    • Bill March 18, 2016, 11:49 am

      Hi George: that’s a good question, and the short answer is that it depends what you’re playing and what you’re trying to achieve. The point of good piano fingering is twofold: to make life easy for yourself (i.e., so at any particular instant your fingers are in a good position to do whatever’s coming up next; it’s helpful think like a snooker or pool player, playing each shot with the next one in mind…) and to help you make your playing sound flowing – which is particularly important if you’re playing something that’s supposed to be legato (smooth).

      That means it’s always useful to think about fingering, especially if smoothness is important (as it tends to be in, say, classical or ballad-style piano). However, if you’re mainly focussing on styles like pop and blues piano you don’t need to be TOO obsessive. So, I’d amend the advice slightly to this: use whatever feels natural or is comfortable AND which helps you to play in the best possible way for the piece.

      BTW, if you’re playing from written music with added fingerings, take those fingerings as advisory rather than mandatory. Fingerings on a well-prepared and edited piece of piano music will usually constitute good advice, but you shouldn’t fret about going against them if that’s what works better for you.

  • Rachel February 28, 2016, 4:37 am

    Bill, I have watched quite a few of your videos and I love how clearly you explain the lessons. I now understand that in each scale there is a chord for each note in a scale and those same chords can be used for the same scale/key when playing a song. My question is when you are playing an improvised song in a certain key, does a chord in that key have to have melody notes to match the chord you are playing? For example, if you are playing a song in the key of C and you are using the D minor chord from that key in your left hand for a meaure or two, do you play the notes in your right hand in the key D minor at that moment or does it not matter which keys you use as long as they are in the key of c?

  • Greg March 17, 2016, 11:24 pm

    Hi Bill,
    I’ve purchased both of your books so far and they are superb, very helpful. I’m looking forward to Seven Studies. Thanks for your hard work and dedication.

    Greg Wa. State USA

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