My students and I are starting to get used to our school-year routine (a couple of students who forgot about their lessons the week before). Even Maestro is learning to be the model teaching assistant. With the weather cooling down, I thought it was apropos when a student played "Jingle Bells" at today's lesson. This week, I asked several students to try chording (or faking) a pop song they are currently working on. For the non-music folk, it means that instead of playing what's written on the page, they will play chords in the left hand. Most pop folios write the chord symbols on top of the music. Chording accomplishes three things (at least that I can think of): it helps students learn their songs more quickly, it gives them the freedom to embellish their own accompaniment and it helps them better understand the song's form and structure.
I'm chording more these days. For the wedding that I'm playing at this weekend, I have no idea whether I will be asked to play the music for the parts of the Mass. I have a version of "Glory to God" but last night, I just realized that it's not the one we usually sing at church. Thankfully, I borrowed a hymnal from church a few weeks ago. I found the version that we usually sing. However, the hymnal only has the vocal melody. No chords. Nor chord symbols. Nada. I had to fiddle around with it and figure out the chords. It's not perfect, but it's definitely passable. After all this effort, I bet Murphy's Law will kick in and that the congregation at the wedding will just say the parts of the Mass that are often sung. Then I'll be off the hook. I should be prepared though - just in case.
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