The Problem, The Solution
In our old house, it sometimes happened that one of the kids locked himself out of a room. Or into a room.
We quickly learned a rescue trick: we’d take a wire hanger, straighten the bent (hanging) part, and stick it into the little hole in the doorknob. There was some little “button” in there, and if you hit it just right with the tip of the hanger, then presto! the door would unlock.
Same Problem, Different Detail, Different Solution
When we moved to a new house, the problem remained the same: kids sometimes locked themselves out of (or into) their rooms.
The doorknobs in our new house were just a bit different than the ones in our old house – and they required a different tool. We promply figured out that to open these doors, we needed a tiny flathead screwdriver.
Once we used the right tool, the door opened like a charm!
Tools for Music
Just like there are tools for building, fixing, or – opening doors!, there are tools for playing music. And just like the type of doorknob you have will dictate the right tool to use, the type of music you want to play will determine the best tool for opening the door to that genre.
Problem: Learn to Play Piano
Detail: Classical Music
For example, last winter, we hosted two viola players from the Jerusalem Symphony in our home. When I asked them whether they ever played by ear, they told me, no, they did not want or need to. In the symphony, their task is to play the notes exactly as they are written and not to deviate.
Same Problem: Learn to Play Piano
Different Detail: Jewish Music
However, if you were to try to open the door to Jewish music with note reading, you’d be sorely disappointed. Note reading is much like the hanger – it opens some doors (like the door to Classical music), but not others (like the door to Jewish music).
The little screwdriver that opens the door to Jewish music is . . .
I cannot have a big enough font to emphasize this sufficiently. If you want to play Jewish music, the right tool for the job is CHORDS!!
While there isn’t much fully notated music available for Jewish music, there are lots and lots of melody sheets with chords (requires reading notes in the right hand and chords in the left) and even more chord sheets freely available.(Like here and here)
And if you want to play by ear, knowledge of chords and how they relate to each other is an absolute must! Chords create the framework of the song, and especially the left hand (or right hand!) harmony. You will save bucketloads of time by choosing a chord for your left hand to play rather than picking notes to go together one at a time.