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What I Learned Teaching Piano Chords on a Cruise Ship!

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

I just returned from our Latin Musical Adventure teaching how to play piano chords on a cruise ship in Brazil! Great to hear Brazilian music at the source. Love the infectious latin rhythms! My cruisers learned how to play Girl from Ipanema and Brazil for the final piano party. Things I learned teaching piano chording lessons to 26 adult students on a cruise ship: 1. Adults LOVE to play familiar songs from their youth. They are more willing to repeat a song over and over if it's familiar 2. All adults can learn songs quickly when they learn them by playing piano chords. Even the classically trained students loved it! 3. Adults learn fairly quickly and accurately when they have many lessons a week. It is a luxury as a teacher to meet with them every 'sea day'. They had 11 lessons in three weeks! 4. They respond very well to patterns. For example I broke down the melody for Girl from Ipanema to a simple pattern. Put your RH in C position (fingers covering C D E F G) and play the following finger pattern - 5332 then 53332, now repeat. Move your hand down so your little finger is on F and play 5332. Now move your hand down so your little finger is on E (with second finger on B flat) and play 5332 ending with finger 3. Here's the whole pattern: (G) 5332 - 53332 (repeat) (F) 5332 (E) 5332 - 3 Ta Da! That's the melody for the head of Girl from Ipanema. If you want some easy piano chords to go with Girl from Ipanema, email me at

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