Starting out with the piano: Three simple steps to success
While music genres ebb and flow in popularity as each decade rolls by, there is a curious anomaly that seems to endure, no matter what era it is in. The piano ballad seems to be impervious to fashion trends, societal norms, or world affairs. Whether it’s love, a political statement, or simply for fun, the piano has accompanied pretty much every song type there is. And this trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. With the likes of Adele and John Legend lighting up the charts with piano-based odes to family and lost love, it is no surprise to see people once again being drawn to the keys. From the top of the charts, to the unsigned indie artists on Soundcloud, the piano is currently everywhere in contemporary music.
This is all well and good if you happen to be a classically trained pianist with friends in the music industry, but for those of us who are looking for a ‘foot in the door’ of the music scene, but lack the skills or contacts; there are some options out there that can help you learn the basics, get your sound noticed, and concentrate on the fun and artistic side of making music.
Let’s start with the basics. The first port of call when writing music is to learn how to create it. It may sound odd to think of people who can’t play an instrument trying to write songs, but it is actually far more common than we realise. Many great singers are credited as songwriters, without having any knowledge of how to play an instrument at all, but for most of us, if we lack a musician friend to help out, this lack of knowledge can become a roadblock. This is where you are going to have to learn the basics yourself. This is actually a much better approach to music anyway, as even a basic knowledge of chords will put you in a strong position to create more music in the future. A perfect way to learn these chords is through an online piano chords generator.
These sorts of services allow you to select a chord, and see what keys that chord is comprised of. It will also show you how the chord can be written and how it sounds. Playing along with these sorts of online piano tutors are fast becoming the easiest way to learn a new instrument, and with a years subscription for some of these services being around the same price as one or two private tutorials, it is also the cheapest way to learn.
Once you start writing music, the next step is to get it recorded. You can of course, pay thousands to get your song recorded professionally, but for the majority of us, we don’t want to be laying down a small fortune on the first few tunes we create. Luckily in today’s world there are plenty of options available to record music from home at a level that is almost indecipherable from the professionals. Free apps such as Audacity, or Apple’s Garageband give you the control you need to perfect the sound you are trying to produce, and serve as great introductions to music production. Some professional artists have never moved beyond the likes of Audacity, so bare in mind that these free tools are more than capable of creating the framework for your masterpiece.
The last thing you need to do, is get your music heard. Again, thank your lucky stars that you were born in the internet age, as tomorrow’s stars are getting discovered through the likes of Youtube as much as they are through the hard, ‘bar-circuits’ that upcoming rock stars of yesteryear were forced to frequent. A good following on social media, and a substantial catalogue readily available to stream, and you already have half the battle won. While having a Twitter and Facebook account are par for the course, it is also a good idea to look at the likes of Soundcloud or Bandcamp. These are two services that do all the heavy lifting when it comes to hosting a streaming music. They also have some great social elements (some even refer to Soundcloud as a social media platform at heart), which allows for organic growth in your brand. If someone likes your songs on Soundcloud, it is insanely easy for them to share your song within the app, or if they prefer, on other social networks. This has now become the new “word of mouth” advertising the last generation were so reliant on.
So with such amazing tools at your disposal, there really isn’t a better time to be making music. The hardest part is often starting a project, so if you are serious about creating music for a living, stop putting it off and start writing those tunes! With all this help at your disposal, do you really have any excuses not to?