To put it simply, learning music might just bring you joy. For me, music has always been a healer, my sanctuary when life was hard, and a daily necessity for my mental health. I live in Nashville where I raise our 3 beautiful boys, and I will do anything to keep them making music and being creative and collaborative.
During the pandemic, we worked on pieces and cover songs as a family, and I made practice videos to keep them engaged and learning. Music kept us close and balanced during 2020, and gave us something joyful to lean into. Over many months of questioning and deep reflection, I was led to the idea of creating an online music school, SingPlayStudios, in the summer of 2020.
The idea was to get people creating, learning and finding joy in a simple way while we were waiting for the world to get back to “normal”. And when all of my choral and music teacher friends were working harder than ever to make distance learning work, I was trying hard to figure out ways to help them, and to keep music lessons alive so that when the time was right we could all get back to making music in person and creating those beautiful communities we love so much.
I’ve been playing the piano since I was 4, and trust me that’s a long time. But the truth is, you don’t need to study the piano for years to sound good, all you need is a few chords to get you started, and a teacher who believes in you. Music is in our DNA and our hearts and minds are just waiting to discover it. The beauty of online studying is that we can practice and improve in the privacy of our own homes, and at our own pace. And that’s a beautiful thing.
I learned piano the hard way ~ hours upon hours of classical training and practicing, decades of lessons, exams and competitions, a Bachelors Degree in piano, Masters Degree in opera, followed by 25 years of teaching. But I also taught myself how to read chord symbols and improvise as a kid by sight reading every Carole King, Elton John, Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell and Cole Porter book, as well as all the other great Jazz, Broadway and Pop musicians of our time. I soon figured out that most songs have only a few chords in them, and they are pretty easy to master. Once you know them in C major, you can easily move around the keyboard to find the best key for your voice and level of expertise.
If you like to play and sing at the same time, the trick is to keep it simple! Let your voice find the melodies and don’t double up in your hands. The chords should be the rhythmic and harmonic framework for your voice, and they don’t need to be complicated or get in the way. I created a simple chord based method book “Home is Where the Heart Is” in 2021 to help students get started on learning and reading simple chords and melodies. I’ll be posting the whole course here in the coming weeks and I also plan to add tons of free content, song and chord lessons, and ear training exercises to get students listening and learning.
I believe in music, and I believe in people. If you’re serious about getting better at music, there’s no better time to start than right now! Give yourself the gift of music and take that first baby step! Sign up for a free account 🎶