Do you know that if you are able to play musical instruments correctly, you will stand out from the crowd of mediocre? Don’t doubt me. It’s the truth.
Your ability to manoeuver correctly, all keys of musical instruments, especially keyboards often reflects your growth rate. It tells that you are prepared to perform any kind of notated music.
I’m sure you don’t want to be among the complacent musicians, who are satisfied with little knowledge. Then, let me give you 5 practicable insights on how to learn to play musical instruments correctly on all keys.
HOW TO PLAY MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS IN ALL KEYS
Here is how you can master playing musical instruments in all keys;
1. LEARN THE PRINCIPLES OF KEYS AND THEIR SIGNATURES:
Keys differ in their starting notes(tonic). They differ in their appearance and representation on the stave, also. For example, F major is different from F# major. They have different tonic and their signatures are different. Diatonically, F has 1 flat(b) while F# has 6 sharps (#).
Some patterns are responsible for the variations in key signatures. Learn those patterns. Don’t only know that G has 1 #. Know why it is so. This will empower you to have in-depth familiarity with keys.
2. PLAY BY LETTER NAMES NOT TONIC SOLFA(SOLFEGGI):
One of the secrets that will help you in your mission to play on all keys is, to be able to spot, instinctively, letters, their alterations, and their positions both on the stave and the keyboard. I had met people who tried to learn to sight-play music, using the tonic sol-fa system. One may only want to imagine the result of that exercise; futility will only be an understatement.
You don’t want to waste your time. Do the right thing; get the right result.
3. KNOW THE SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS OF EVERY KEY
If there is anything you don’t want to avoid, as an instrumentalist, it’s ‘scales and arpeggios.’ You need to sharpen your skills in playing them.
Many people have learnt to play scales and arpeggios from memory. This is particularly common with music exam candidates. Music exam boards like MUSON, ABRSM, TRINITY, LCM, etc. demands that candidates should play scales and arpeggios from memory. That’s good. But really, you also need to regularly practice them with scores. That way, you will be training your eyes to always help you retain the position of letters in your memory. So, whenever you come across scale-like passages in a piece of music you are working on, you won’t have difficulties recognizing them.
Most importantly, do memorize the fingerings of the various scale and arpeggios.
4. KNOW YOUR TRIADS AND CHORDS
Triads and chords are very important musical constructs. They are in every structured music. Learn to spot and create them in different keys. Learn and master their positions on the keyboard in relations to the stave.
This will make the task of learning to play on all keys easier.
5. PRACTICE SIGHT-PLAYING ON ALL KEYS
Over the years, I have discovered that many people have categorized keys in certain ways: DIFFICULT – EASY. Do you also do this?
Many music folks, especially keyboard players, are comfortable when pretty ‘easy keys’ such as C, F, G, etc. are mentioned. Funny enough, there might be counter- reaction when one names a ‘difficult’ key like g# minor.
Let me relieve your fears: there is neither a difficult nor an easy key. The difficulty or easiness only exists in your mind.
Overcome your fear. Practice sight-playing on all keys.
I’ll leave you with this note: “Be consistent in your quest to learn how to play in all keys. Your success resides in your consistency.”
Don’t forget to drop your comments and/or questions. I’ll be here to attend to them.
Babajide Ajayi is a trained pianist, organist, music theorist and teacher. He has well over 18 years of experience in the music profession.
He is also a very versed video editor cum 2D motion graphic designer.