As mentioned in my book The Visual Piano, playing a musical instrument is a multifaceted, multi-sensory activity. It involves auditory, tactile, visual senses to name a few. No one of them is more important than the other. Many teachers have emphasized different aspects of music playing, and this is dependent on the stage of a student’s learning at that time.
For instance, some teachers will go to great length on ‘training’ the muscle (due to the anatomy of our fingers). Some will focus more on aural training. These are all important and the intelligent readers will find adequate resources elsewhere. Here I am highlighting the visual aspect, and this is where you will find it useful, especially in transposing.
This method will compliment ear training. It might be deeply ingrained in professional pianists, here I have made the ‘interval rules’ explicit. For instance, let us break down the steps when you want to figure out the chord progressions of a piece:
Firstly, you find out the key. This is done by doodling to determine the Tonic (home key) of the piece. From the Visual Piano method, you would have already known the position of the Dominant and Sub dominant chords. And then, you would also work out the mediant, sub-mediant, and super tonic chords in that key.
You try to harmonize the chords with the left hand while playing the melody on the right hand, by ear of course. But the Visual Piano method has already got you to the key chords (like dominant, sub-dominant, etc.) first. This is using both sight and sound at the same time.
The Visual Piano method is a quick way to visualize the interval, and to help you navigate a key. Whether it is building a chord (which works the same as navigating a key), or playing by sight and sound (ear), we are achieving the same objective (of being fluent on the piano). It is like an extra layer of safety net that will never go wrong.
It is easy to comprehend and remember, and once internalized, it will stay with you for life!
For e.g., the chord progression of the first 7 bars of “Infant Eyes” may be played like this: