POP PIANO MUSIC CENTER (MALAYSIA) | POP PIANO IMPROVISATION FOR ALL AGES | ADDRESS: PUBLIKA SHOPPING GALLERY - BLOCK D1-G4-07, NO 1. JALAN DUTAMAS 1. 50480 K.L M'SIA TEL NO.: +603- 28574422 | EMAIL: INFO@PPM.NET.MY | MPBJ NO: L160000118226 | OPERATION HOURS: 11AM-9PM TUES-FRI 10AM-5PM SAT
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What has Pop Piano got to do with playing by ear? Pop music refers to music of today (contemporary). And music today isn’t about accurately playing from scores (although we do emphasise the ability to read notes) Take any pop song you hear, and you will probably find thousands of different variations of the same song on sites like Youtube. To play any pop song, we can use improvisation (which is basically playing by ear) either by ear or from fake sheets (or lead sheets). The easiest demonstration of playing by ear can be heard by a lounge pianist. He or she can play familiar tunes, but these songs sounds different because of variating chord patterns, chord substitutions or tempo shifts and even melodic embellishments. The possibilities are endless.
Classical pianists are unable to improvise because it is not part of the classical curriculum (or it is not their main curriculum in the higher grades). They find it difficult to play anything off their heads, or from a bare-bones fake sheet. “Any typical Grade 8 classical pianist will most likely be unable to play & improvise a simple 'Happy Birthday' song, because they do not have the scores to play from”. This statement is in no way prejudice towards classical pianist (Having classical piano training is very beneficial in all genres and aspects of piano playing), but because the emphasis in classical training is to replicate the original arrangements of classical era composers (.e.g. Mozart, Chopin) and not to improvise them.
A player is someone who needs precise instructions or materials in order to play. He or she needs pre-arranged score sheets in order to play. Without the score sheets, he or she cannot play because they need to follow a path. So if they need to walk from point A to point B, they need precise directions, no matter what. A musician, on the other hand, is a player and an improviser. He or she is able to create tunes and play them in any style. This is done spontaneously (on-the-fly). Improvisation is all about being spontaneous. So if they need to walk from point A to point B, they may take slight detours to see different things and experience different events, even though eventually they will still arrive at the same destination. Every pianist (even classical pianists) can and should learn how to improvise (play by ear). And that is what pop piano is all about.