Hi--I'm Bruce Siegel. Welcome to DoctorKeys.
Whether you write songs, play with a group, or simply love to sing, there's no substitute for being able to accompany yourself or your friends at the piano.
What you play doesn't need to be complicated, it just needs to work. A good accompaniment supports your singing by providing the rhythm, style, and harmony that bring a song to life.
So I've created Play & Sing, a course that makes learning to accompany a pleasure.Who is this for?
These tutorials are designed to help you whether you're just getting started at the piano, or already play and want to add a new dimension to your musical life. The clearly indexed lessons and videos make it easy to skip what you already know, and find exactly what you're looking for.If you're a beginner . . .
The Play & Sing approach is not only a great way to learn to accompany, it's the ideal way to get started at the piano, period. The step-by-step course covers all the basics beginners need. No previous experience is necessary.
And because the tutorials emphasize chords and musical understanding (rather than notation), the music you'll learn to play is far richer than the usual beginners' pieces.If you already play but are new to accompanying or to pop music . . .
It's important to understand that playing an accompaniment is different than playing a solo. In some ways, it's easier. For example, you won't usually be playing the melody (the voice handles that), nor will you need to read music.
Accompanying takes a different kind of savvy, and some of it has to do with style.
For example, can you play Chopin beautifully but struggle to accompany a Beatles song? Do your attempts at playing pop or rock fall flat, and maybe even (heaven forbid) sound like Chopin, with a flowery left hand part instead of the simpler, punchier, bass line needed for this kind of music?
If so, you may be surprised at how much fun it is--and how quickly you can learn--to play some of the same basic piano styles you might hear on recordings by John Lennon, Billy Joel, or Jerry Lee Lewis.
But you'll learn more in this course than just how to accompany. Play & Sing can give you a deeper understanding of music you're already playing, as well as open the door to improvising and songwriting.
What you'll learn.
Beginning with ground-level basics like names and locations of notes on the keyboard, the course covers:
• Chords (and other music theory)
• Piano technique, including how to use the sustain pedal
• How to read a chord chart
• Rhythmic styles or grooves.
• How to play a bass line.
• How to play and sing at the same time.
And of course, you'll learn to play. . .Some of your favorite pop, rock, blues, and folk songs!
The skills and styles you'll master in this course will enable you to accompany these and many other songs:
Imagine (by John Lennon), Hound Dog, Hey Jude, Silent Night, When the Saints Go Marching In, Let it Be, Auld Lang Syne, Piano Man, Silver Bells, Octopus's Garden, Ob-La-Di, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and Amazing Grace.
But that's just for starters. For a long list of more recent songs you'll be able to apply your new skills to, see this entertaining video.
Chords--the secret to your success.
Chords are the key to accompanying, as well as the secret to getting off to a quick start at the piano. In this course you'll learn how to build chords, how to connect them smoothly, and how to set them into motion using rhythmic styles or patterns that add emotion and excitement to your music.Piano technique--essential but often neglected.
While other piano courses and tutorials may show you what to play, rarely do they teach you how to play.
Because of my classical background, I have a different approach. My tutorials cover posture, fingering, wrist motions, the use of arm weight for relaxation and control, even how to use the pedal--all the "hidden factors" that are easy for a beginner to overlook, but that make the difference between just hitting notes, and truly playing the piano. So not only will you learn to accompany pop songs, but the skills you gain will make it easy to move into classical and other styles.
Play now, read later.
You do not need to read music for this course. And that's not a gimmick but a growing trend in music education. By delaying reading, beginners can focus on more important matters like rhythmic flow, technique, singing, and so on.
On the other hand, do you read music but sometimes feel frustrated because you can't play by ear? If so, these lessons can help. As you gain an understanding of chords, bass lines, and the basic structure of music, you can begin to break your dependence on the printed page, memorize music with greater ease and security, and even begin to improvise and compose.
Let's get real.
Obviously, no teacher or course can simply give you the abilities you want. If your dream is to play the piano (or play at a higher level), you need to practice.
But more than that, you need to put in the right kind of practice. You see, you can either practice efficiently and move quickly towards your goals, or you can waste your time with meaningless repetitions that never seem to produce the desired results.
Which is why, in this course, I don't just show you what to play and leave it at that. I teach you how to practice.
I demonstrate the strategies the best musicians use--proven practice techniques that will enable you to learn without struggling. Some of them are simply common sense, but some are less obvious.
I love to teach. And that means helping you reach your goals as quickly as possible, while enjoying the process.About Bruce.
Play & Sing grows out of my work as a musician and teacher.
My own piano studies began at the age of 5. Later, as a teenager, I spent several years at the pre-college division of the famous Juilliard School of Music. Since getting my Bachelor of Music degree, I've accompanied instrumentalists and singers, served as music director of a rock musical, and have played and sung my original music in Southern California clubs.
As a private piano teacher, I've been helping folks learn to play, improvise, and accompany themselves for the past 25 years. My students range from 5-year-old beginners, to film composers, singers, songwriters, piano teachers, music therapists, and others. Some of my younger students have gone on to enjoy careers in music.
One of the best things about teaching online is hearing from folks who are excited about what they're learning, and who go out of their way to let me know. Here's what some of them are saying. (Many more comments are on the separate testimonials page.)
VERY EASY TO UNDERSTAND
Hi Bruce, I would like to thank you for offering a site that finally teaches how to accompany yourself on the piano in a very easy to understand way.--- L. Dean
WHY DIDN'T MY PIANO TEACHER TEACH ME LIKE THIS 30 YEARS AGO!
Excellent stuff - just the inspiration I was looking for. Why didn't my piano teacher teach me like this 30 years ago!------ 101x997
IN A FEW HOURS I HAVE THE PLEASURE TO BE ABLE TO PLAY AND FEEL THE MUSIC
Your teachings and videos + blog have brought me back to the True desire to play Piano/organ.
I have cried, because my Mom spent earnest monies to have me learn...(7 years). And I don't remember a thing!
With you, in a few hours I have the pleasure to be able to play and FEEL the music she wanted me so much to express. She would have been sooo happy if only she was here to hear it!
Thank you very much! And even more than that!
All the best,
P.S. I live in France and am French.
A THOUGHTFUL, WELL-PLANNED & PRESENTED APPROACH
I'm an old guitar & fiddle player. I've played music for decades, and never felt the need to read music. So when i started playing piano in June, i simply approached it by learning chords. I felt quite alone in my approach until i found your work. You confirmed everything. If i could convey the ideas and create a thoughtful, well planned & presented approach, it would look like yours. Now, when somebody asks me about piano, i send them your way.--- Fiddlenguy
NO ONE EXPLAINS AND SHOWS THE HOW-TO'S BETTER
Bruce, I am so excited about your piano course. It's just what I've been hoping and searching for a long time. No one explains and shows the how-to's better than you. Thank you, thank you!--- G. Kimmel
A PIANO TEACHER FINDS INSPIRATION
Thank goodness for your new site, Bruce. Just tonight I interviewed a beginner (13 yrs old), a girl with a beautiful singing voice who writes her own songs, so I used my newly stolen knowledge from DoctorKeys and introduced her to chord playing to accompany herself.
Your teaching ideas, videos, thoughts, everything, are such an inspiration for my own teaching and students. Thanks!--- Julie Cleveland, subscriber and piano teacher in Gloucester, MA
THANK YOU AGAIN!
Can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your lessons, Bruce. Your clarity, gentle manner, voice are just some of what I appreciate. Too, I'm grateful for your tip on wikifonia. Since yesterday, I've probably printed out 2 dozen lead sheets and begun to play a few. My wife sings, so the transposition function is just a godsend. . .
Your videos are so beautifully produced . . . You make it look and sound easy or, at least, do-able. Thank you again!--- Bob Novickas
WITH NO KEYBOARD EXPERIENCE, HE MASTERS BLUES SHUFFLE STYLE IN TWO WEEKS
AWESOME. I can't get over how great this lesson is. Finally a way to start working the hands together at a level where one can learn this stuff.
I've practised this 10 mins to half an hour every day, having absolutely no experience with any sort of keyboard whatsoever, and it took me about two weeks to play it just about flawlessly.
Guess you picked just the right level and structured pace to make the perfect lesson.
Cheers from Copenhagen, Denmark.
PANDORA ARTIST BENEFITS FROM TECHNIQUE VIDEO
I'm working on a new CD . . . I just went back to the piano and re-practiced the lessons you taught in the Whole Body Approach video. I remember you teaching them to me in my first visit or two with you. Really great stuff, Bruce. Your teaching has definitely impacted my playing a lot."
---- Roth Herrlinger (pianist and composer)
Hi Bruce. As someone who can play at a very high level, you have been able to teach people in simple terms how to get immense enjoyment by simply sitting at a piano and making music.--- Kenneth Porter, Australia
I LEARNED SOOOOOO FAST
DUDE. You are the best piano teacher I have heard, seen. I learned soooooo FAST. And I was so concentrated.--- Juan Melgar
MY GRANDDAUGHTER IS REALLY THE ONE TAKING THE LESSONS
Hi Bruce: I am going to call you "Almighty Bruce". Thank you very much for your help !!! I'm already enjoying your website next to my granddaughter who is really the one taking the lessons. Again, thank you!!--- A. Bolet
IT IS AS IF THE STUDENT IS ACTUALLY SITTING AT YOUR PIANO
Thank you for your continued commitment to provide online lessons that have been extremely helpful for a beginner such as myself. Also wanted to comment on your video camera placement. It is as if the student is actually sitting at your piano. This is the only online training series that has that level of clarity and perfect visibility.--- R. Pelletier
YOUR METHOD OPENS DOORS AND UNDERSTANDING
Your Accompaniment Styles session is very impressive - It is the area of performing that I struggle with. I like your method of presentation and truly appreciate your input and expertise - it opens doors and understanding.--- Bill H.
I'VE BEEN STRUGGLING TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT . . .
This is excellent!!!!
I've been struggling to learn how to play piano accompaniment and this vid just helped me a lot. Thank you so much for uploading this awesome vid :))))
I HAVE WATCHED DOZENS OF YOUTUBE TUTORIALS . . .This is a great video. I have watched dozens of YouTube tutorials and this is the first one I have come across where someone actually shows you slowly how to put your hands together. I can play from a fake book, and I am always trying to learn and improve. I hope you will share more videos like this. Great job. -- The Yannifan
I DID NOT REALIZE IT WAS POSSIBLE . . .
Bruce, I did not realise it was possible to play a sequence of chords with minimal hand movements. It makes a change from having to think "Um...right...where is my hand going next ?" It kinda breaks the rhythm having to do that :-) Thanks for taking the time out to put together such an easy to understand and helpful tutorial!--- fastLane500
HELPFUL, CLEAR, JUST PERFECT
Excellent teaching indeed. Helpful, clear, just perfect. Thumbs up! :)---cornrootworm
IF OTHER SITES TEACH THIS, THEN IT'S NOT THAT CLEAR
I like what you show in your “whole body” (piano technique) video – the clarity of it, and how you break it up. I also like the “accompaniment” video, for the clear explanation of chords – the practical way of using them, the building of the lessons, and showing HOW it is done. If other sites teach this, then it’s not that clear.--- Maxi S.
A one-time payment of $20 gets you instant access to all the lessons for 6 full months. (No automatic renewal.)
Perhaps you've seen part of a DoctorKeys tutorial and like my practical approach and clear explanations. If so, now's your chance to enjoy the complete, step-by-step, Play & Sing course, including theory, technique, practice strategies, styles, songs, and other features you won't find anywhere else.
For a one-time payment of only $20, you get instant access to all current lessons, plus new ones as they're added, for six full months. I won't renew your subscription at the end of six months unless you ask me to.
As a free extra bonus, you also get access to DoctorKeys lessons that are not part of the Play & Sing Course. That includes two of my most popular tutorials--Piano Technique: A Whole-Body Approach (Parts 1 & 2), and Ode to Joy: A Piano Solo. (These lessons will eventually be part of a course on learning to play piano solo.)
When you consider what private lessons cost (I myself charge $75 an hour), $20 is a small price to pay for tutorials that teach what it might take months to learn with a private teacher. Assuming, of course, you can find one with experience in teaching accompaniment.A guarantee.
I'm confident that my videos can help you gain exciting new insights and abilities--not to mention how much you'll enjoy playing and singing the songs you'll learn. But if for any reason you're not happy with the lessons, just email me and I'll refund your $20, no questions asked.
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I want you to be thrilled with your experience here on DoctorKeys, and I look forward to helping you in any way I can. Please feel free to contact me at Bruce@DoctorKeys.com with your questions and comments. I usually return emails the same day.
Thanks again for stopping by!
--- Bruce Siegel