Category Archives: Update

I Just Performed As Part Of Greg Kihn’s Band

Last weekend I performed with Greg Kihn live, and I’ll playing with him another 10 or so times over the summer. How that came about is Rick Springfield added Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn as extra performers on some of our shows, and Rick had in own band (including me) play with Tommy and Greg as well.

I’ve performed with quite a few different bands/artists including Terri Nunn (from Berlin, who had the hit “Take My Breath Away”), Robin Zander (singer for Cheap Trick) and of course Rick Springfield, and Greg Kihn was the first person who actually gave us basic charts of his songs.

With everyone else, I was just given a bunch of MP3s of the songs and told to learn them.  -And that’s why sheet music is so unimportant to me and why I never rely on it… Because for rock/pop and popular music it’s not really used.

Why is that? -Because it’s harder and more trouble, and overall musicians are lazy. 🙂  OK, maybe not exactly lazy, but we want to learn in the most efficient way possible, and once you’ve trained your ear to pick out chords and music parts that IS the quickest way.

Unless I have something memorized I usually play from very simple chord charts, which display just the basic chords in each measure. For instance, this is what the first 4 measures of The Breakup Song  look like:

|   Am   |   F   |   G   |   Am   |

When there’s a lower-case “m” after a chord letter it means it’s a minor chord. So hey, now you know how to play the intro to The Breakup Song. 🙂

It’s not rocket science, heh. Using basic chord charts like that and training your ear to know what sounds right and what doesn’t is all you need to start playing songs right away. If this is even slightly intriguing to you, become a Piano Genius member right now and try it out for a month and see how much easier it is.

Here’s videos of two of Greg Kihn’s biggest hits (this is an old performance below, I’m not in it )

The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em Like That Anymore)

“Jeopardy” was another big hit of Greg’s, this one was fun for me to learn and play because the whole song is based on a keyboard harpsichord sound. 🙂  (Weird Al Yankovich had a big hit with his parody hit “I Lost On Jeopardy” too.)

Once I play some more shows with him I should be able to get some live video to put up, but for now I just wanted to show you these songs. I’m be updating soon – Tim

Related Post: I performed as part of Tommy Tutone’s band

I just performed as part of Tommy Tutone’s band (867-5309)

Last weekend I performed with Tommy Tutone live, and I’ll playing with him another 10 or so times over the summer. How that came about is Rick Springfield added Tommy Tutone and Greg Kihn as extra performers on some of our shows, and Rick had in own band (including me) play with Tommy and Greg as well.

It’s always fun to play new gigs with new people, and the first show went really well.  We weren’t given any charts or notes or anything to learn his songs, just MP3s of the songs to listen to and learn.

That’s why relying on sheet music is a bad idea, because often there IS no sheet music. So I learned the songs the same way I always do, and the same way most rock musicians do, which is exactly what I teach my Piano Genius Members in the members area:

  1. Listen to the songs enough to be familiar with them
  2. Figure out the key of the song
  3. Figure out the basic chord progression and write out simple charts
  4. Figure out your actual parts and jot down some notes to refer back to

…All based on just using your ear to tell whether it sounds right or not.

It works like a charm and is much easier, quicker, more effective, and most importantly can always be used. There’s not always sheet music available but your ears are always available to help you play once you’ve trained them to do their job. 🙂

This video below isn’t with me it’s just an old live performance Tommy did of his hit song 867-5309. At some point over the summer I’ll get some live clips of me playing with him and add them to the site. 🙂

Here’s my main point:

Virtually all of my musician friends learn songs exactly the same way that I do.  If there was a better way or a quicker way or a more effective method to learn songs and to learn our parts, we’d use it, but there’s not.

Whether you want to play with Tommy Tutone, or play  songs on the piano at family get-togethers, or you just want to play songs for yourself in the privacy of your room , this is the best way to do it.

If you’re even the slightest bit curious, become a Piano Genius member for a month and see what you think.


Related Post: I performed as part of Greg Kihn’s band

I Wish I’d Never Learned To Play The Piano


(Yep, it’s April 1st… Do “April Fools” pranks exist worldwide or only in North America? If not, please is probably confusing.)

Tim Gross here, and the truth is, learning to play piano was the *one thing* of everything I’ve done that changed my life completely.

My ability to play the piano has given me:

  • Most of my best friends (met them through music)
  • My wife (met her through music)
  • Where I live (Palm Springs – I moved there to play music)
  • My job (Playing music, touring with Rick Springfield)
  • My “business” (Showing others how to play piano)

In addition to the above, being able to play the piano has given me less tangible things as well:

  • An outlet for frustration, restlessness, and depression (just sitting down at a keyboard and playing whatever comes to mind is almost like therapy)
  • A sense of confidence (as a teenager one of the first ways I got positive attention attention was playing the piano, and that ability continues to serve me well)
  • The motivation and inspiration to obtain other skills as well, like singing, songwriting, and playing guitar, which all give their own sense of satisfaction.

Music Is An Amazing Thing

Hearing the right song at the right time can change your mood. It can remind you of a special time or a special person, or it can motivate you to be a better you or to not give up.

By becoming a musician you can be the one who can do that for someone else, and that’s a special gift that’s worth working at to have. 🙂

So share with me: What does music do for you, and what do you want from it? What do you want to be able to do on the piano? I don’t mean what songs do you want to play, I mean what’s behind it? Do you want to be able to play at your friend’s wedding? Play a song for your loved one (or hopefully future loved one?) Impress your friends, family, and even strangers? Be able to liven up a party? Just have the satisfaction of being able to sit down in private and play something that makes you happy? Let me know… No foolin’ 🙂

(Also, try out a Piano Genius membership and see what it can do for you.)

Learn To Play Piano Online Blog

Tim GrossHey, Tim Gross here, creator of the Piano Genius online piano lessons and training program. These blog updates will include piano training updates, tips, and concert tour photos of me on the road.

If you want to learn to play piano online, whether you’re a beginning piano player, intermediate, or even advanced, you’re in the right place.

I’m not a “piano teacher”, I’m a working musician and I’m sharing the way that musicians I know communicate and collaborate with other musicians.  Unless your goal is to play classical music (which you must play note for note) you’ll probably find how I learn and play songs (using a combination of the “Number System” plus play-by-ear training) to be much easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

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