To learn piano, go micro and macro: both at the same time

To learn piano, go micro and macro: both at the same time. This means that it’s both the big picture and the tiny details that enable us to move towards the ultimate goal. Both at the same time.

Macro: Play through a Beatles songbook, becoming acquainted with every song.

Micro: Choose one Beatles song to focus on for a while, and carefully master the bass line, chord inversions, melody and try out various ways to improvise your own version.

Macro: Listen to every Charlie Parker recording you can find. Absorb his rhythmic feel and phrasing.

Micro:Practice soloing over the ii/V/I chord progression. Learn it in all 12 keys. Study the licks that jazz greats such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Sonny Rollins used over this progression. Compare and contrast their individual styles. Write out your own melodic phrases over these chords. Practice them in every key as well.

Macro: Spend 15 minutes each day reading through Bach’s Preludes and Fugues (even the ones in hard keys!).

Micro: Learn Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in Bb major (WTC I) extremely well. Repeat every phrase until you can play it with the proper articulation. Play one melody while you sing another. Memorize both the Prelude and Fugue until you can easily play it for your friends or in a concert (I played this piece in college).

Micro and Macro: Most piano students only do one or the other. But if you really want to play piano, you’ll enjoy doing both.

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