With so many famous rock pianists having come onto the scene since the early days of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis to name just two, it’s not surprising that a lot of people want to emulate these great artists and learn rock piano themselves. We have come to enjoy other greats such as Elton John, Billy Joel, Keith Emerson and many others since the days of the rock ‘n roll piano greats.
Many rock legends began by learning classical piano first, including Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, who are trained concert pianists and Elton John, who was also classically trained. If you want to learn rock piano, don't throw away the book, instead learn to express yourself and develop your own particular style.
The original rock ‘n roll is a close relation to blues piano. Both of these forms are based on a repeating 12-bar pattern. As the piano has developed into rock music, you will find different styles that are evident. Elton John and his contemporaries have helped to develop the use of a piano in the different forms of rock music.
The easiest form of rock piano is the rock ‘n roll style that’s based on the blues chords. If you can learn these chords you will be able to improvise around those chords and develop your own style. When it comes to the more progressive style, you will usually have learn to read music and adapt your style to suit, but you can get away with playing some of this by ear. The problem of playing some of this music by ear is that you might get a chord wrong, even though it sounds right when you play it, but if you were to play the song with other musicians who know the correct chord, it will sound wrong and you will have to relearn the song.
Because rock piano has diversified over the years, it’s wise to get the knowledge of the basics of music and how to play the chords and fingering correctly. There are those who say you don’t need to do the exercises needed to play classical music, which may be true to a point, but to be more influential and play difficult pieces well you will need to develop your technique. This is done by doing exercises and scales etc. so don’t dismiss these things if you want to be the best you can be. To be good at playing any musical instrument you have to practice. The piano is no exception to this rule. To learn rock piano you can cut corners, but you really will restrict yourself if you do. If you want to be a very good pianist then take the time to get things right and do the exercises to get your technique right and you will be able to play anything that’s put in front of you. Enjoy.
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