I was performing on an 80’s music week-long cruise to the Bahamas and Jamaica last week with Rick Springfield, and Lou Gramm (singer for Foreigner) and Thomas Dolby (who had the hit “She Blinded Me With Science”) were there as well. Foreigner/Lou have a LOT of hit songs, but one big hit that Lou didn’t perform in his set was “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”
That night, Rick Springfield told me 5 minutes before we were about to start playing a piano bar/jam session that he wanted to play that song. I’m familiar with the song but have never played it before, so I used my phone to try to pull up some song chords, and unfortunately some of the chords I found were wrong, so while we did make it through the song, it didn’t go that well.
We later had another piano bar/jam session and Rick wanted to do the song again, but this time I knew in advance long enough to actually play the song chords ahead of time and work out what the REAL chords were (which always helps, heh.) As it turns out, Thomas Dolby actually played the original keyboard parts on this Foreigner song (!) so he surprised everybody including me by coming out on stage to play the part:
A couple more things:
- We were playing the song in a different key (Em) than the song was recorded, which Thomas didn’t know, so when he started playing the part it sounded bad (oops) but he was easily able to play the same part in the different key as soon as I showed him what the starting note was.
- One of my “problems” is I can’t stop myself from saying something I think is funny even if it’s inappropriate. Lou Gramm has one of the strongest voices in rock music and his voice was powerful when he sang earlier the first night. So before we played “I Want To Know What Love Is” the first night, I said on the mic, “We’re going to play the song that Lou Gramm didn’t have the balls to sing earlier tonight.” (Which is funny to me because Lou is such a ballsy singer and we were just playing a quiet piano version, but for people who don’t know my sense of humor it may have been a little awkward.) And finally, at the end of the above video clip I even made a joke about Thomas Dolby… Like I said, if I think something is funny I can’t help myself. 🙂
Key Point: These kinds of impromptu “jams” or songs you’re trying to play for someone on the fly is exactly where the Piano Genius training comes and and can help you shine. I didn’t have sheet music, so that wasn’t an option, and even if there was sheet music most people can’t sight-read it in real-time immediately.
The skills you need are 1) How to read a very simple chord chart, and 2) How to use your ear to let you know if what you’re playing sounds right.
Final Point: I worked out what to play for that intro melody line in about 30 seconds, and to me it sounds “good enough” even after hearing Thomas Dolby’s actual part he played which was somewhat different. Even though I know it’s not 100% correct, if I were to play it again informally in the future I still wouldn’t go to the trouble to learn the official actual part, because virtually no one (except Thomas Dolby!) would know the difference, so what I’m playing is *good enough* and to me it’d be a waste of time. (If I started performing it on stage in concert, THEN I’d of course take the time to learn the actual correct part.)
If you’re the kind of person who couldn’t stand to play that intro part I played knowing it wasn’t 100% exactly like the original part, then the piano training here on PianoGenius.com is not for you – That would make you the kind of person who needs to spend years struggling to learn to play note-for-note sheet music.
…But if you’re the kind of person who’d rather be able to play something that sounds 95% the same in a tiny, tiny fraction of the time, who likes to be able to just “wing it” and play a song they’ve never played before, then you should try out a Piano Genius membership.
You’ve got nothing to lose. And a lifetime of fun and enjoyment to gain.
Thanks for watching, hope you enjoyed it – Tim
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