SPECIFIC FEATURES OF BOOK ONE
Book One introduces improvising based on the major scale, eight major keys, 4/4 and 3/4 time, and eighth-note syncopation. It also introduces most of the improvising techniques that are featured in Piano by Ear. (See "Improvising Techniques" below.)
STUDYING BY EAR AND IMPROVISING GO HAND IN HAND
To gain the skill and understanding that lies at the heart of improvisation, musicians study music by ear. This is how they learn to work with music based on how it sounds rather than how it looks on paper. It's also how they acquire a true feeling for the nuances and spirit of a given musical style. There are numerous books on improvising that advocate learning by ear. The unique contribution of Piano by Ear is to show you how it's done. Complete with guidelines and recorded examples that demystify the practice, this book/CD series begins very simply, builds gradually, and ultimately helps prepare you for learning directly from the recordings of your favorite artists.
LEARN BY DOING
Along with learning by ear, improvising is something you learn by doing. Piano by Ear will serve as your guide as you progress from playing "two-chord jams" to full-blown jazz, rock, and blues improvisations. Each chapter will feature a new improvisation.
Music theory is only introduced as it becomes relevant to the music you're playing. This approach will guard against information overload and help you fully integrate what you're learning.
Like a good story, a compelling improvisation includes twists and turns, while maintaining a sense of continuity. Piano by Ear will show you a number of the techniques musicians use to create these improvisations, and guide you as you explore them in your own improvisations.
Piano by Ear will encourage you to do a little composing. Specifically, it will suggest that you make up and write down melodic phrases that you can then weave into your improvisations. This practice is invaluable-it gives you a way to develop musical ideas apart from the moment-to-moment concerns of improvising. (Previous experience with composing is not necessary.)
THE ACCOMPANYING AUDIO
The improvisations in the accompanying audio are intended to be a source of inspiration as well as a means of instruction. They were created with the idea that uncomplicated music -even music that is simple enough to introduce the practice of learning by ear-can spark the imagination and be a joy to listen to.