What is Pop Piano?

how is it possible to play piano in just 4 lessons?

People are always puzzled and confused...
"What's the difference between pop piano and 'normal' piano lessons? Just the song choices?"

No, there's more to it! Here, we share with you the 4 major differences.

You learn by listening, not reading.

In classical way of learning, you learn by reading notation (aka 5-lines scores or stave readings). This is just like learning a new language! Everyone knows how hard it is to learn a new language for an adult, right?

In pop way, we focus on listening and expressing what we hear. Just like singing! We never read scores when we sing a song right? We learn how to sing the song by listening to it over & over again. Then, we utilise our innate senses to express the notes through our voice. Definitely a much enjoyable process to learn. Agree?

We can sure do the same thing through the piano-playing. We have the step-by-step formula, for piano enthusiasts to get there!

In comparison, s
core-readings are not fun to most people, therefore it feels much tedious and time-consuming to adults.

You express your songs creatively
In classical way, it is obsessed with precision and instructions on the scores. You have to play exactly what was written.

In pop way, we encourage creativity and we improvise a little.
For example, if a particular song is too complicated in its original recordings, we could improvise it a little to play in a more simplifed 'cleaner' version. Sometimes, even vice versa! We could creatively alter some elements to add new flavours and styles to the song. There are endless things to do which would come up as a nice surprise.

This maintains a high interest level and allow you to see things in a new perspective.

You play songs you can relate better
Self-explanatory - you will feel much motivated to practise on songs you relate better, isn't it? 
Doing pop way, you play songs you hear over the radio, songs that connect with you or even songs you like to sing along to!

Whereas in classical, you mainly play songs from traditional older compositions.

It's about keeping the interest level which allows you to continue the journey longer, therefore attaining more skills in the process.

 You dissect pop songs
In pop way of learning, you do not learn song by song. You learn concepts and apply into songs.
This is a much more dynamic approach to learn because you can many other songs with the similar attributes.
We breakdown the songs you want to learn in various attributes. For example:

What genre?

There are major genres to categorize songs into: Ballad, Folk, Pop, Rock...

What rhythmic pattern to use?
According to the genres categorization, we can determine which rhythmic pattern to play on the piano. There can be a few playing styles to use in each to add variety and dynamics.

What is the song structure?
Look at the song and break it down to sections (verse, chorus, pre-chorus, post chorus, intro, interlude, outtro, etc). Just like singing!

What is the chord progression?
It is not surprising to find a standard chord progression is used repeatedly in a verse or chorus, sometimes even the entire song! That's why there are many 3-chords song/ 4-chords song (e.g. That's the way you are by Bruno Mars, Firework by Katy Perry and many more!).
This is common because one of the key in writing pop songs is to build on repetition and sink into the minds of listeners!

By analysing songs using common attributes, learning becomes easier and you can apply concepts into another similar song in shorter time. That's why learning pop piano using the pop way is very effective for adults learner because you see results faster, process is much more enjoyable and the learning process is dynamic!

The not-so-true-pop way...
In recent years, we have witnessed many places acclaiming to teach pop piano. However, they basically just teach 'pop songs' using the classical approach. Meaning, you just follow the score-sheet written for that pop song.

This, in our opinion - is the easy way out. Because it's definitely much easier for someone to teach you using 5-lines score when they don't have a clear system/concepts to impart the true essence of pop piano playing.

So, usually after some time, when students start to feel the struggle - they'll feel frustrated (because learning score reading for an adult is not easy) and that's where they give up their passion easily!

A little more of what we advocate in Hark Music...
  • We focus more on aural (listening) then reading information from books/scores.
  • We created a system into concepts and application which makes it easy for learners to have a BIG PICTURE of what you are doing. 
  • No 5-lines scores at all. In our teaching materials, you can never find any 5-lines scores. The best pop musicians do not need scores to play the piano.
  • We focus on building up students' senses (rhythm & pitch) and understanding concepts of what you do on your left/right hand playing. 

Interested to know more about our pop piano programme, click here for more information!