Posted by: Debra Alexander / wordmavenmusic | August 14, 2012

Translating Pop-Dance Tracks To Piano/Vocal Arrangements

I am so blessed to have the most talented and amazing students! They make my world go ’round. I thought I’d introduce them periodically, and let them tell you what they’re up to, as well as talk about how we work together.

First, just because she has a big show coming up this weekend, is Lexi Tellings. Here’s where you can find out about her upcoming show and hear samples of her songs. I have a blast working with Lexi, because it’s so fun to translate dance-based pop tunes into piano/vocal arrangements. Our goal is to expand Lexi’s live opportunities, and move into venues that prefer instrumental performances rather than performances to tracks. We also want to develop a good bag of music theory tools to help with composition before, during, and after studio writing sessions with producers. Keep your eyes & ears open for Lexi Tellings! Here’s Lexi’s take on it:

“I’m a singer songwriter and I have been taking piano/theory lessons on and off since I was 9 years old with countless different teachers. None of my attempts lasted longer than a few months because they could not offer answers to questions I had, or teach theory in a way that was applicable to songwriting, so naturally whatever I learned wouldn’t stick because I wasn’t able to use it.  After growing tired of receiving the common answer ‘I don’t know, that’s just the way it is,’ from teachers, I started to think maybe piano wasn’t for me. Thankfully I decided to take one last stab at it, and that’s when I found Debra.

Having discovered Debra at Song Maven I feel more confident on the piano, she has taught me to think ‘I can’ rather than ‘I can’t’ and always has a way of explaining things with an easy to approach method. She picked up on my strengths right away, and then taught me how to use them to my advantage. And now because of the confidence I have developed I am now starting to overcome my weaknesses. She has an answer for every question, and can easily demonstrate things if it’s still not sinking in. Currently I am learning theory as it applies to songwriting, and in specific, my songs and style of music. In a short span of time I have learned how to figure out what key my song is in, figure out bass notes, chord progressions, and then how to make each section sound rhythmic and different. Because I’m an ‘instant results’ kind of person, Debra has made learning everything fun because I automatically started to see improvements on my playing and overall knowledge of the piano.

Before Debra I felt that the piano was where my songs went to die, now it’s where they go to grow. I know that seems kind of dramatic, but it’s the only way I can describe it!”



  1. Reblogged this on Good Rockin' Dan and commented:
    Excellent info for all!

  2. Now, that’s the kind of teacher and environment I can get onboard with: learning something useful and applicable to our personalized immediate outcome desire! Learning piano sounds delicious with Debra! I am drawn to music that can be stripped down and still sound amazing! Much luck and success to Lexi! 🙂

  3. Awesome testimonial! Sounds like you’re being extremely helpful Debra.

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