Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning to Play Christmas songs on your Yamaha CVP Clavinova with Yamaha’s Quick Play

Play by Christmas with Quick Play

An exciting part of the holiday season is getting together with friends and family. This is also an exciting time to share your music making with those you know and love. With the Yamaha QuickPlay series, Play By Christmas, playing and sharing your music has never been more fun, and easier than ever. 

The Yamaha QuickPlay program was designed to be a fun introduction to playing the piano with no prior music experience required. As the songs are based on using the Follow Lights system on your CVP Clavinova, anyone can play these wonderful arrangements from the first lesson. No prior music knowledge is necessary. Just load the song into your CVP Clavinova, press Play, follow the lights and enjoy making music. The lush orchestral background arrangements take advantage of the beautiful orchestral sounds built in to your Clavinova, making you sound amazing from your first notes.

Some markets in the U.S. offer QuickPlay classes. To find a list of participating locations, go to and click on the Education tab. You will see a section called “Learn to Play Piano”, where QuickPlay is listed.

If QuickPlay classes are not offered in your area, there are still plenty of ways to make music with this fun program on your own. The songs offered in Play By Christmas can be played by just purchasing the MIDI song files from All songs can be played by simply following the lights.

The Play By Christmas lesson book can also be ordered. Printed music, lessons and playing tips are available for each song. The music is printed in large, easy-to-read format, and no prior knowledge of note reading is needed to enjoy this book.

When learning a new song, it is sometimes helpful to listen to the song before trying to play it. Listening to the songs first will allow you to hear the song play through from beginning to end. Follow along in your book as the song is playing, paying attention to where repeated sections are found in “When Christmas Comes to Town” and “Christmas Time is Here”. There are full explanations about these repeats found on page 14 and page 22, respectively.

To listen to the Play By Christmas songs for models CVP605/609/705/709:

Download the files you have purchased from from your computer to a USB drive
Insert this USB drive in to your CVP Clavinova
From the Home screen, touch the right side of the screen in the Song area
Touch the USB icon
Select the song you wish to play
Press the Home button to return to the main screen

If the score didn’t come up automatically when the song was loaded, touch the Score icon in the lower part of the display.

At the bottom of the score, there will be an icon that looks like a speaker—touch this icon
You will see several buttons, such as Extra, Left, Right, Guide and A/B
Turn on the Right button (it will become orange when it’s on)
Turn off the Guide icon (it will become gray when it’s off)
Press Play in the Song Control area of the control panel

Now, it’s time for you to play. Select the song you wish to play, and press Play in the song control area on the control panel. If you are playing the song you just listened to, you will need to turn the guide back on.

From the Score display, touch the icon again that looks like the speaker
Turn Right off (it will become gray)
Turn Guide on (it will become orange)
Press Play in the Song Control area of the control panel

Just follow the lights above the keys—red lights for white keys and green lights for black keys—and amaze yourself by how wonderful you sound. Each time you play the song, you will keep getting better and better as you become familiar with what comes next. After a few times through, you may not even notice you are playing by following the lights!

The Play By Christmas book not only has the music to each song, but also has a “Music Basics” lesson for each song. The informative topics cover basic musical terms such as the musical alphabet and staff, measures, time signatures, sharp signs, note values, rests and much more. Once the concept has been clearly explained, you will see this concept in the song you are playing, reinforcing it. As these are all basic musical terms, you can use this knowledge over and over again in additional QuickPlay books or any music you choose to play.

In addition to the “Music Basics” for each song, there is also a “Learning Tips” section to help you through each step of the way. “Music Basics” takes a more in-depth look at the song you are working on, giving lots of clear and helpful tips to make learning of the song easier.

Several arrangements include a left-hand part, which can be learned using the Follow Lights.

From the Score display, touch the icon again that looks like the speaker
Turn Left off (it will become gray)
Turn Guide on (it will become orange)
Press Play in the Song Control area of the control panel, and follow the lights for the left hand part

After you’re feeling more confident with the song, you can turn off both the Left and Right hand parts, leaving the guide on, and the accompaniment will follow you. This is especially effective with “The Christmas Song”.

Interested in learning a few chords before Christmas? Then “Jingle Bells” is just the song for you! Using Follow Lights, this clever arrangement shows you the right chords to play.

Happy Holidays, and share your gift of music!