Music Lessons Online

Rhythmic Strategies in Piano Improv and Piano Covers

Paradiddle Piano Lesson via Smoke on the Water Piano Cover

This blog is the beginning of a short project of online piano lessons looking at how to create more succinct rhythmic characters in improvisation and a greater sense of character and individuality in piano covers.

For the first piano cover lesson we are looking at using drum rhythms to influence piano patterns via Smoke On the Water. Our first pattern is a paradiddle, which is drummers rudiment that alternates which hand leads. A simple paradiddle, which I use here, is RLLR LRRL.

Paradiddles can be used as quavers (eighth notes) or semiquavers (sixteenth notes). In this instance, the right hand leads in the first half and the left hand on the second. Of course, I can’t resist adding my usual blues notes and some good major/minor third twists! Saying that, the main melody for the chorus does exactly that.

Here’s my Smoke on the Water Piano Cover:

Latin Piano Lesson via Hold Back the River Piano Cover

Here’s the second lesson connecting piano improvisation with rhythms and drum kit patterns in order to further develop strong characters in improvisations and personal individualised piano covers.

Ever wondered what Hold Back the River might sound like if it was in more of a latin style? Have a root-5th bass, followed by a drop to the fifth an octave lower. Then, add a syncopated right hand. Sprinkle in a few 7ths, particularly major 7ths, and you have more of a sizzling latin flavour.

Finally, here’s my piano cover of Hold Back the River. It was a challenge adding the Latin style and keeping the sincerity that James Bay creates in his performance. I tried to maintain the gentle style and emotions whilst having a Latin groove beneath.

Robin Harrison, The Maestro Online, is an experienced piano teacher, vocal coach and organ teacher in all styles for all ages and at all levels.

If you would like online pop piano lessons and to be able to make your own piano covers of chart hits: Current offer: Book 4 x 30 min lessons and get 1st free.


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