Tarik Rahman

The Process of Learning Pop/Rock Piano

Tarik Rahman
The Process of Learning Pop/Rock Piano

The process of learning to play pop/rock piano will vary depending on your musical interests and aspirations. There are, however, several common skills and techniques you should not be without.

Some of the elements of your pop/rock piano lessons will overlap with the materials taught in jazz piano lessons. You will learn about chord theory, improvisation, and how to play in a band.

Pop/rock music has an especially unique rhythmic feel, and its own melodic and harmonic language which you will learn to speak through the piano. You will be able to see and understand how the simple chord progressions used in early rock ‘n’ roll were developed through the decades to create a delicate balance between experimentation and basic musical elements that catch our ear’s attention.

The process of learning to play pop/rock piano begins with you and your music collection.

First and foremost, it’s essential that you have a passion for listening to music. Whether your musical tastes are specific or varied, give your pop/rock piano teacher a list of 5-10 artists, songs, or YouTube links that are representative of your favourite styles of music - this will be the starting point for your adventure into learning to play pop/rock piano.

Whatever your musical interests, here are some of the main areas your pop/rock piano teacher may cover in your piano lessons:

  • Chord theory: How are pop/rock chord progressions built? What are some of the tricks pop/rock songwriters use to turn a simple sequence of major and minor chords into something fresh, interesting, and meaningful? Your pop/rock piano teacher will explain the basics of chord theory, progressing on to the vast possibilities for chord voicings on the piano, chord inversions and alternate bass notes, and how mixing chords from different keys can offer amazing new sounds and a sense of surprise for the listener.

  • Improvisation: How do I build a pop/rock piano or keyboard solo? How do I improvise a pop/rock accompaniment, with rich chords that won’t clash with a vocalist? How does jamming with other pop/rock musicians work? Our pop/rock piano teachers have the answers.

  • Approaching different styles: Piano may be an obvious instrumental choice for pop/rock ballads, but how does the pop/rock pianist approach faster guitar-driven songs, rap, hip-hop, or electronic music? Our pop/rock piano teachers can show you how versatile the piano can be, and the different approaches you can take to play music of any tempo, and in any contemporary style of music.

  • Songwriting, composition, and music production: We have pop/rock piano teachers who are professionals in these fields, and can teach you the skills, techniques, and tricks of the trade necessary to start creating your own music.


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