Popular Music Lesson

Amazing Grace , Part 2

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Hello and welcome. I'm Joseph Hoffman and
today we're going to learn how to play
one of the world's most beloved
traditional Christian hymns, "Amazing
Grace". This video tutorial is my Level
Two tutorial, which means that it will
require that you have some prior piano
experience. You definitely don't need to
be an advanced player to handle this
tutorial, but about two or more years
piano experience will be helpful since
we'll be playing hands together using
chords in the left hand and melody in
the right hand with several hand
positions shifts. If you'd like an easier
tutorial, please check out my Preparatory
Level tutorial, or for more advanced
players you might enjoy my Level Four
tutorial. Alright, let's come to the piano
to get started. So first let's learn the
right hand part here in the treble staff.
You'll notice we're in a 3/4 time
signature and we have just this 1 beat
all alone which tells us we have a
pickup beat, which means we start on beat
3. Finger 1 here on treble G is beat
3, and then we come right up finger 3
on treble C, which you'll notice is just a
slight stretch up from G finger 1, to C
finger 3. That's important that you use
finger 3 there because we're about to
play in an E and you'll need finger 5
for that. So we have ♫Amazing Grace, How sweet♫
and then here we need finger 2 on A.
So again we're gonna have to just
stretch one extra note down to A finger
2, finger 1 on G. Okay so all together ♫Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound♫ Now, I'd like you to press pause
and work on that phrase on your own. Don't
forget to hold those half notes for 2
beats. 1 2 TI-TI 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 It's important
that we not just play the right notes
but the correct rhythms as well. Press
pause to work on that phrase on your own
then when you feel like you've got it,
press play to go on.
Okay, the next phrase
begins essentially the same way, with
this G then finger 3 moves up to C
then E C E. Now here we change a little bit
finger 2 has to slide over to D so our
finger 5 can reach up to this G, for ♫That saved a wretch like me♫
Okay see how I did that? Once our finger
5 was on E we've got to shift finger
2 to the D and then finger 5 can
reach up to that G. All right, now press
pause and work on that phrase on your
own starting from this G C, work all the
way through that phrase then press play
to go on
So putting those two phrases together, we get.
1 2 3 1 2
Shift the hand, 1 2 3 1 2 and it's very important
you hold that note for 5 beats. Notice
that it's a dotted half note tied to a
half note. That's 3 + 2: 5 beats 1 2 3 1 2
then we get ♫I once was lost,♫
E G E G E C, now will you try that?
now here you have to just pick up your
hand and glide it down to G for ♫but now am found♫
Okay, so watch it from 'I once was lost' ♫I once was lost,♫ Move your hand, ♫ but now am found♫
Okay, now will you press pause and work
on that and get used to that little hand
shift that you need to do.
Good, so you have ♫I once was lost, but now am found♫ Now it's just like the beginning. 'Was' on 'blind'
move finger 3 back up to C ♫but now I see♫ and then you've got the whole thing. Okay, now
that we have all of the phrases, I'd like
you to press pause once again and just
play through the melody a couple of
times. Make sure that you're really
comfortable with it before we add the
left hand chords. Again I really
encourage you to pay attention to the
rhythms not just the notes. Hold the half
notes for 2 beats, hold that dotted
half note tied to the half note for 5
beats. Be really conscious of the rhythms
as you practice this. So, press pause,
practice on your own, then play to go on.
Now, let's come down to the base staff to
check out these chords. The 1st beat of
the left hand is a rest. As the right
hand plays its G, the left hand is
resting, and then on beat 1 of the
first full measure the left hand plays a
C major chord C E G, just a basic C major
chord. You'll notice it's a dotted half
note which means we hold it for 3
beats. So let's forget about the melody
for a minute and just focus on the left
hand. Play this C major chord with me and
let's count 1 2 3. Go, 1 2 3 then we do
that again go, 1 2 3. Now you'll notice we
have a new chord. These top two notes both
step up, bottom note stays the same, that
gives us an F-major chord or a IV chord,
which the fingering I suggest you use,
just slide your finger 1, which is your
thumb, up 1 key. Use finger 1 2 and 5 for
those three notes. 1 2 5 is the fingering for
the IV chord or this F-major chord.
Let's practice going from I chord to
the IV chord, which is also we could say C-
major going to F-major and you're going
to have to go back and forth, so make
sure you're comfortable with that. Good,
let's do it from the beginning. Play the
chords and count out loud with me, go, 1 2
3 1 2 now the IV chord, 1 2,
back to the I chord, 1 2 3 again
1 2 another C chord.
Good, now we have a new chord. This time
the top note stays put, and the bottom
two notes step down. So, how we're going
to do that is keep finger 1 planted and
let all your other fingers shift over. So
now you'll have finger 1 3 and 5 on these
three keys 1 3 5, and that gives us a G-
major or V chord. Some of you might be
familiar with a V7 chord, this is
slightly different. It's just a V chord, G
B and D. Okay, so practice going from this
I chord, shift all your fingers except
your thumb down a step for the V chord.
We have two of those.
Okay, so again come back to this I chord,
now two V chords,
3 beats each, and back to the I
chord. Good, now we have a C7 chord. How
you're going to do that is your finger
2 is going to come up to G, and your
finger 1 has to play this B-flat. Now,
it can feel really awkward to twist
your hand, so what you're going to do is
slide your hand forward, go deep into the
black keys, so your thumb can comfortably
reach. You're not going to twist your
hand to reach the black key, you're gonna
slide forward so your finger 2 is
playing way up in here,
for that C7 chord. That's a really nice
sounding chord, listen. Okay, so practice
going from this I chord, up to the C7
chord, and see how comfortable you can
make not by just gliding your hand
Okay, press pause if you need more
practice with that, otherwise let's keep
going down to the next chord which is a
IV chord again. Remember how we did
that? So basically your fingers 1 and
2 are moving from here on B-flat and G,
down to A and F, but your pinky is
staying planted on that C on the bottom.
So you get this,
here's your C7, going to your IV
chord or your F chord.
Okay, now practice just back and forth
between these two chords with me.
Okay, just go back and forth until you
feel really comfortable with that. And
then that comes back down to our I
chord. Okay,
now we're almost there. Next chord up is
this A minor chord, and to do that all
you have to do is just slide your thumb
up one, but you're going to continue to
play this C and E. So an A minor chord
is built on A C E, but we're taking that A
and putting it on top. So it's very
similar to our F major IV chord, it's
only different by this one key. We've got
C E and A for that A minor chord, and
then everything steps down. Just move
your hand down a step for this V
chord again. Remember that chord? So we
had this A minor, basically you take your
hand as a unit and move everything down
a step for the G chord, and then come
back to our C major chord. Watch that one
more time, we have A minor with C E A,
everything steps down, B D G, and then it comes back
to C.
Okay, now that we've been through all the
chords, press pause and go through all of
those on your own. Make sure you're
really comfortable with that, and then
we'll work on putting it hands together
Now, when you're putting a piece hands
together, you want to really pay
attention to when the notes line up. For
example, you'll see that here at the
start, the right hand plays all by itself
then we play together, now the right hand
plays two notes by itself, then we play
together 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 and you'll kind of see a
pattern that the left hand is always
playing on beat 1. So it might be helpful
to count the beat as you're playing
hands together at first. We start on beat
3, 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2. Why don't you
press pause and try just that much hands
together. Before you try it hands
together you might want to review just
the right hand alone once, then the left
hand alone once, then maybe do it again
right hand alone, left hand alone, then
try it hands together. Then press play to
go on
Now, I'd like to demonstrate the whole
thing for you hands together, but I'd
like you to choose either left hand
alone, or right hand alone to play, or if
you're ready for the challenge of
playing it hands together, you can try
that too.
But I recommend if this is your first
time through, go ahead and just choose
either left hand or right hand just so
you can hear how it all fits together.
I'll play both hands, but you can choose
just one hand to try. I'll count
2 beats, 1 2, and then we'll start
on beat 3. Here we go, 1 2, ♫3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3♫
♫1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2♫
Good, now feel free to rewind and try
the other hand while I play it. Or again
once you feel ready, you can try it hands
together. The last thing I'd like to show
you today is how you can play this song,
this hymn along with a backing track
which you can download or stream through
the Hoffman Academy website. And I
encourage you to try this once you've
got this mastered so you can enjoy
playing it along with, we've got cello
and flute and violin and harp to make
this sound even more beautiful. Let me
demonstrate how that's going to sound. So
you'll get your hands in position and
you'll notice that the the backing track
or the accompaniment track has an
introduction, so you'll just kind of wait
for the introduction, and then you'll
Ready, go.
Now quieter verse.
One more verse.
Nice work today and thank you for
learning "Amazing Grace" with me. I hope
that you find peace and joy in playing
this hymn, and I hope to see you again later.
Mr. Hoffman?
Yes Scuba? Uh, what's a wretch? Hmm, well, a wretch is
someone who feels wretched, which means
they don't have any hope. They feel
terrible inside. But why? Because they
feel worthless and unloved, unlovable. But
no one is worthless!
That's right scuba, but sometimes people
make mistakes, or certain things might
happen to them that make them feel that
way, like there's just no hope for them,
but grace is a powerful gift that can
take someone who feels wretched and
hopeless and it literally transforms
them into someone who feels great love
and joy. Wow, so how do you get grace? Well,
let me tell you the story of the man who
wrote the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" and
that might help you understand. Okay.
The man was John Newton, and he was born
in London England in the year 1725. His
mother died when he was only seven years
old, and his father who was a ship master,
took him to sea to work on voyages from
the time he was only eleven. Gosh, sounds
like a crummy childhood! Well, his young
adult life only got worse. Before he was
twenty years old, he had been captured at
sea and forced to join the Royal Navy.
When he tried to escape, he was captured
again and whipped severely. Oh no!
Soon after that he transferred ships
only to end up in Africa as a mistreated
and abused servant to a royal family.
Poor guy! Well, fortunately John's father,
who by that time had retired from
sailing, asked a sea captain to help
search for his lost son. The sea captain
found John, rescued him, and was bringing
him home to England when a terrible
storm struck off the coast of Ireland.
John awoke in the middle of the night
and saw water rushing into his boat.
The ship was sinking and John thought he
was going to die. In that moment of
distress, John called out in prayer to
God. According to John's own account, at
that moment the cargo in the ship
shifted in such a way to block the water
from rushing in and the ship was able to
safely make it home. Wow! That day marked
the beginning of John's conversion to
Christianity. From that day forward, John
started reading the Bible. He stopped
drinking and gambling. Later in his life
he retired from sailing and actually
became a minister, and eventually he
worked to end the shameful slave trade
of which he himself had participated in.
Wow, that's a big change of heart. It
certainly is, and that is the power of
grace. John Newton certainly knew what it
felt like to be wretched, and he truly
felt that it was God's grace that had
saved him and literally brought him
safely home. Wow,
thanks for telling me that amazing story
Mr. Hoffman. Hey, "Amazing Grace", it really
is amazing. Yes it is.