No matter how much we might want our students to practice their Bach Inventions and Beethoven Sonatas, many students just want to learn how to play popular music, and the quicker the better. As I’ve written about before, teaching students how to read chord symbols kills two birds with one stone. The students can quickly get their favorite tunes performance-ready while at the same time getting a daily dose of basic music theory.
TK Goforth is a musician, music teacher and author who’s traveled the world performing professionally with local bands, big bands and jazz combos in Houston, New Orleans and Seattle as well as with bands in Europe, Africa, and the Philippines. As a teacher she makes it her mission to teach students (both children and adults) how to play piano in a way that they could actually use through their entire life. She feels there should be no reason for teachers to hear new adult students say “Well, I used to play.”
Her book “Chord Piano is Fun” is a straightforward explanation of music theory basics. Beginning with an explanation of whole steps and half steps, TK takes the student through the construction of the C major scale and then explains how to build a C major chord. She spends plenty of time on C major with written assignments as well as actual keyboard practice assignments before moving to G major and then F major. A new student will not be overwhelmed by pages and pages of chord and scale charts, but will be able to break down each new concept before moving on to minor scales and 7th chords. By the completion of the book students should be able to write a song and play the blues, in addition to having a thorough understanding of major and minor scales and chords.
Teachers and students: Preview the book here and spend some time exploring TK Goforth’s website. Lots of information and instructional videos for the pianist who wants to get “up and running” with the music they always wanted to play. A great resource!