The first step of learning any musical instrument is to learn it’s basic building blocks. For any pianist or keyboardist, this brings to mind getting comfortable with the right posture, how to use the correct fingerings, finding the right chords, and so on.
But once you’ve mastered the basics, you might feel stuck as to how to continue improving on your playing. One way is to explore playing in a band!
Playing in a band is vastly different from playing alone. When performing as a soloist, you can express the music according to your own pace and expression. But when other instruments are present, it becomes a challenge to keep together and contribute effectively to the music.
That is why we are presenting to you some tips and tricks to make your playing much more dynamic and effective for a band setting:
Do use inversions
The first type of chords beginner keyboardist learns is the triad. But just imagine if you stick to only the root position chords for the whole song, and for every song – the music would sound quite stale after a while!
The difference between an amateur pianist and an experienced one is that the latter knows how to use chord inversions to their advantage.
Being adept at the chord inversions allows you to explore different chord voicings. Paying attention to chord voicings helps to make chord transitions sound smoother. It will also make the music sound more interesting by adding variations and direction to the music.
Do use different keyboard sounds
What should you do if all the parts in a band are already taken up? In a band with already too many instruments, it might be challenging to play a piano part that won’t make the music sound overly busy.
One thing you can do is to switch the keyboard sound to a synth pad sound. A more atmospheric sound will work well to add a layer of depth to the music, without sounding too disruptive.
For different types of repertoire, you could also explore other sounds like an electric piano, or organ sound. Learning to use different sounds will lend different colours to the music and help you play more versatile styles.
Don’t try to play all the parts at once
One of the best things about the piano is that it can play everything from the melody, rhythms, bass line, to harmony. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!
When the piano is a solo instrument, there is no harm showing off all the things you can do with it. But when you are in a band, keep in mind you are only one out of the many other parts of the band.
If you are playing everything at once, you will overpower the other instruments. In an inexperienced band where the instrumentalists don’t stick to their role, it can result in a mess of sounds that don’t blend well together.
What a good band should do is to allocate the parts to the different instruments, so that there will not be any clashes or competing parts. Rather, the band should work together to complement each other and achieve a unifying sound.
Don’t compete with the bass player
A full-sized piano or keyboard is a whopping 88-keys, ranging over 7 octaves. Some pianists think that this means they have to use every octave of the keyboard, but this is not true!
Remember that in a band you have different roles, including the range of notes you should play at. The bass player will take charge of the low register, so the keyboardist should not play too low. Having too many instruments at the low-end will make the music sound muddy, so it should be avoided at all costs. Instead, stick to the mid and high range of the keyboard.
We hope these tips will help you improve your keyboard performance skills in a band. If you haven’t already joined one, do take up keyboard piano lessons for beginners in Singapore to pick up these valuable skills. Under the tutelage of experienced piano teachers, you are sure to excel in no time!