Cell phones. Computers. Power windows. iPods and iPads. Google maps. Don’t you just love technology? While they are a testament to the technological advancements and achievements of mankind, there is also another commonality that all these items have. Dependency. Think about it. When is the last time you actually DIALED all of the numbers to a person’s phone number? In like manner, a keyboard’s transpose key is another item that creates dependency. Yes I did say that the transpose key is evil, but only in the sense that it creates a false sense of security and ends up being a setup for a future stumble. While it does serve a purpose, a keys player who is on their grind studying, learning, and getting better all the time should be working to understand their craft on their instrument in all 12 keys without the assistance of a transpose key. The other piece of this is simply that you don’t want to be caught out there with your dependency exposed. Think of it like this. If the electricity were to go off at a gig or event and the only other instrument available was a tuned piano, would you be able to play that as well as the electric keyboard? Even if you don’t have it all figured out in all 12 keys, work towards it. Make it a goal to be comfortable in a new key every 4-6 months. Challenge yourself by playing in that key more often. Find a song that you like in that key, learn the song, and apply it to what you do. In fact, the main reason I know how to play in the key of B natural is because I learned how to play “Incomplete” by Sisqo (from the R&B group Dru Hill) back in high school. True story. Always remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.