One of the world’s leading educational crossover composers, Christopher Norton is a composer, pianist, and presenter. Known for the Microjazz and Microstyles collections, the Connections series, andAmerican Popular Piano, Christopher likes to integrate traditional teaching methods with aspects of modern technology.

Playing in "Country Swing" Style

Country songs often use quite simple chords, so let's start with a very straightforward chord progression ​using only chords I, IV, and V (including inversions to create better voice leading). Play with your right hand only: To get a country swing feel, you can split the right-hand chords up, with the bottom note of the chord alternating with the o...
Continue reading
0
  19 Hits
  0 Comments
19 Hits
0 Comments

Playing Contemporary Pop

A piece of music can be centered around a key note, but have less of a feeling of a "western" chord progression. Contemporary pop pieces often use ambiguous chords and their harmonic structures can be based on modes rather than scales. If you start with a scale of C, you can build modes  on each note of the scale, like this: Eac...
Continue reading
0
  26 Hits
  0 Comments
26 Hits
0 Comments

Playing Indie Pop

​Indie Pop is a genre of rock music that emerged in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, characterized by upbeat, melodic progressions. This article will take you through the basics of the indie pop style, beginning with simple structures familiar to all piano students.  Here is a scale of G major:  We can build three-note chords on each note...
Continue reading
0
  18 Hits
  0 Comments
18 Hits
0 Comments

How do you work on improvisation in your group classes?

Improvisation activities with your group classes can be surprisingly effective. Working with their peers can help encourage and motivate students to try out different ideas and get over any initial hesitation they have about improvising. It is an activity that can engage everyone, and students get to develop their aural skills as they listen to eac...
Continue reading
0
  25 Hits
  0 Comments
25 Hits
0 Comments

The art of the vamp

A vamp is an improvised piano accompaniment, sometimes containing melodic figures (licks or riffs), other times simply consisting of block chords played in rhythms. Or it can have both! You  usually vamp when you are accompanying a soloist. A basic chord progression is provided and it's your job to "fill in." Here's a fun chord progression to ...
Continue reading
0
  12 Hits
  0 Comments
12 Hits
0 Comments

Improvising for non-improvisers

When  you hear dazzling improvisation from top jazz players, you may be overcome by something very akin to inertia. "I could never do that so I'm not even going to start," could well sum up many people's view on improvisation. My wife once summed up her own view of jazz as "a lot of men showing off." Cruel (but fair) as this jibe might appear,...
Continue reading
0
  24 Hits
  0 Comments
24 Hits
0 Comments

About The Piano Magazine

The Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to the Piano Magazine in 2019.

Follow us on

Terms of use

Have Questions?

We are happy to help.

Editorial questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subscription questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Technical questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cron Job Starts