Understanding Lead Sheets While Taking Piano Lessons in Bartlesville

Today we will be discussing what we do at Curtis Music Academy and all of the things that we offer. We primarily offer piano lessons in Bartlesville, vocal lessons and guitar lessons. And we also offer a variety of other lessons as well. But those three, our main three. So in today’s podcast, I would like to talk about some of the basics of how to read a lead sheet. What is a lead sheet? Why is it called a fake book? Why is it called fake reading? All of these things in there are some tips and tricks to reading a lead sheet that will make people play really effortlessly. So first of all, a lead sheet is a way to read music for piano lessons in Bartlesville.

Some of our students have enjoyed learning to play so much, that they’ve actually participated in our yearly Spring Recital. If you would be interested in participating at one in the future, you can see what it is like here. We always celebrate our students and try to make the event as enjoyable of an experience as possible. Some of our students play guitar or drums, but a lot of students use lead sheets to play a song on the piano, as well.

It’s different from reading traditional sheet music, and it’s also different from reading a traditional chord chart. So a lead sheet actually combines a treble clef with the chord chart as well. And so you will like the melody of the song and you will also have the chords and exactly on what beats to change them with. So it’s kind of like mixing two different things. It’s mixing sheet music and it’s also mixing reading chord charts, which is a really fun way to play in the piano lessons in Bartlesville because you have the full sound of the chords, but you also have the familiar melody that you’re wanting to play. So it is a really good option, especially for pop music. 

And a lot of people really enjoy playing this way because they’ll have that whole unique sound with the treble clef and they’ll also have the fullness of the chords. Now, there are some challenges with playing a lead sheet in the number one thing that I run into when I’m teaching the student how to play a lead sheet is the fact that many times people who are trained to just read sheet music, the sheet music tells you specifically everything that you need to play like there is no wiggle room for any interpretation at all. And so when you actually go to a lead sheet, the left hand could be played one hundred different ways or more so because there are so many options, it’s actually hard for many students to just grasp at first how to play a lead sheet for piano lessons in Bartlesville.

So the first thing I tell them is that it’s OK too. Not knowing exactly what you’re going to play in the left hand, it doesn’t feel overwhelming, but to start off simple and just to play a simple triad chord for the piano lessons in Bartlesville. And then from there, if you want to make it a little bit more challenging, you can always make that difference. And it’s not only the left hand that has unlimited options, it’s also the right hand. Yes, you could just play the simple melody line or you could add in some harmonies with that, like the alto part or the tenor part with that as well, and really make it a full sound. Now, that is more for intermediate to advanced  piano lesson players taking piano lessons in Bartlesville. Usually the beginner players will just play that melody line. 

Harmonies for Lead Sheets

And so when you are adding in harmonies to the right hand, you’re going to want to figure out the fingering in order to still play the harmonies, but not have to like moving your hand for every single note that you change. That is tricky. It’s hard to express over a podcast, but in real life it makes sense. Another variable that you could have is playing some improvisation between the melodies in the right hand. And so this is, again, more intermediate or advanced. But a lot of times there’s the melody, which is the familiar tune that normally the singer sings. But in between when there’s silence, when the singer is not singing or the melody is not being played. Sometimes it’s a little boring. 

And so intermediate pianists or advanced pianists often add little improvisations in order to make the sound fuller. And so that is another variable as well that you can add for piano lessons in Bartlesville. I actually just bought a whole book on improvisation and it’s a huge book, so I’m excited to get started with it and to learn how to improvise and ultimately to teach my students how to improvise as well. But that is another aspect of playing Lipshitz. So let’s actually go back to the whole thing in general, a lead sheet is just the treble Claflin melody also connected with a chord chart. Another thing that trips students up is because there is another way you completely cheat. You could play it by playing the melody in your right hand and in your left hand. You’re playing the chords for piano lessons in Bartlesville.

But you could also play both hand chords because if you were playing in the piano lesson and someone was singing the melody line, obviously you wouldn’t really want to play the melody on the piano, because when two different instruments or vocals are doing the same melody, usually that’s not what you want. Now there’s exceptions to that, but definitely not for the whole song. And so you could actually play the whole song with just. Both hands do in court, and this could be as simple as a beginning pianist just doing Triad’s, major and minor, if they’re a little bit more advanced, they could add in inversions with that, which makes it sound next level. It just adds so much to that for piano lessons in Bartlesville.

Rather than jumping around, staying in that group triad shape, you’re able to just extend your hands into inverting those chords, which really sounds nice. So these are some of the things that I explain when I’m teaching about a lead sheet. I used to just kind of present a lead sheet and just kind of jump into it. But I just noticed that my students were really confused when that happened. So now I like to take a few minutes and explain what a lead sheet is, all of the different options. You really have to just start off as simple as you can and grow from there. So hopefully this helps if you’re out there and you’re trying to learn how to play by a lead sheet. And that is awesome. And thank you so much for joining us for this podcast about piano lessons in Bartlesville. And we will see you at the next one.