Learning how to accompany yourself on the piano in order to write songs can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have no prior experience with the instrument. However, with some basic understanding of piano chords and a little practice, you can start to accompany yourself on the piano in no time. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Find a Piano to Practice On
This can be a friend or family member’s piano, a local music school or practice room, or even purchasing or renting a keyboard. However, if you choose to purchase a keyboard, make sure to do research on which would be best for you.
2. Learn How to Construct a Major and Minor Chord on the Piano
The two most basic chords in music are major and minor chords. A major chord is made up of the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale, while a minor chord is made up of the first, third, and fifth notes of a minor scale. For example, a C major chord would be C-E-G while a C minor chord would be C-Eb-G.
3. Learn by Ear
If you have no formal training on the piano but are still able to distinguish between a major and a minor chord, you are still in good shape. See if you can figure out how to play a major and a minor chord by ear, then start to try and move that shape elsewhere to make other chords.
4. Memorize Common Chord Progressions
Many songs follow common chord progressions, such as the I-IV-V progression. This means that the chords used in the song are the first, fourth, and fifth chords of the key the song is in. Memorize some common chord progressions so that you can easily play them when you start to accompany yourself on the piano.
5. Experiment With Different Chord Inversions
Once you get the hang of your major and minor chords in the root position, experiment with inversions. Chord inversions are different ways to play the same chord on the piano. Try experimenting with different inversions of a chord to see which sounds best in a particular song.
6. Experiment with Harmonies
Now that you have the basic chord, try to see what happens if you take away a note, add a note, or swap a note for another. Any combination of notes on the piano can be considered a chord so see which ones stick out to you the most and use it in your songwriting.
With these tips, you can accompany yourself on the piano, even if you have no prior experience with the instrument. The key is to start simple, practice regularly, and not be afraid to make mistakes. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to accompany yourself on the piano like a pro.