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I learned to play piano with chords in my left hand while playing the melody with my right hand. This is an easy way to play songs whether you play by ear or read notes. Plus your audience will recognize the song you are playing by hearing the main melody line you are playing in your right hand.
I also add chords to my right hand and this can be a wonderful benefit to playing the piano as well because your playing will sound full and beautiful with rich tones. I began reading notes in hymn books and saw that there were extra notes to play for the alto and soprano parts. Most of the time I played root position chords. I could pull out single melody notes in my right hand. And I would listen to recorded music over and over and started copying styles of playing. It was great to read notes and begin to understand the structure of music theory. Also, to harmonize the melody with these extra notes in the right hand was fun and liberating for me... no more sheet music!
Here's a successful tip I wanted to share with you:
* Melody note must stay at the top of the chord inversion at all times.
Sometimes as musicians we learn only the root positions of the chord. It is so important to learn the chord inversions because once you do, you are adding more options and voicings to your playing.
In case you are not familiar with chord inversions here's a list for the chords in the Key of C (C, F, G)
C= CEG, EGC, GCE
F= FAC, ACF, CFA
G= GBD, BDG, DGB
Now you're ready to add the appropriate chord to the right hand. This is what I share with my students who want to play Jingle Bells, Jesus Loves Me and Mary Had A Little Lamb:
* Playing in the Key of C
Left hand plays a C chord in root position (CEG) When the melody falls on any of the notes in the C chord, then your right hand plays a c chord inversion with the melody note on top. Jingle Bells melody note begins with E, so play GCE chord, keeping E note on top of the chord in your right hand. Continue with this same pattern when you hear that you need to change to the F chord in your left hand and then the G chord. I recommend trying this approach with simple Christmas songs, hymns and nursery rhymes. I sincerely hope this tip adds more confidence to your playing the melody with your right hand. Most important of all, have fun playing songs!
Would you like to read more on harmonizing the melody? Read my ezine article here: