Singer-Songwriter Piano Method
The Singer-Songwriter Piano Method is a way of playing pop music without reading music. As a result, most musicians who cannot read music adopt this method. The basis of this method is chords and the chord progressions (groups of chords.) Because of this limited vocabulary, it is very easy to learn.
In pop music, only certain chords are used, usually limited to the most basic of chords, like C F G D E and A, plus their minor chords. Six chords are not hard to learn, because if a six year old can do it, anyone can.
Chords In The Right Hand, No Melody
In this style, chords are usually played in the right hand, not the left. The pianist or someone else sings the melody. There is no need to play it on the piano. The left hand is relegated to simply playing the roots of the chords, usually in octaves. Thus, if the chord progression of the song is C F G F (Louie, Louie) the left hand plays the notes (not chords) C F G and F.
Assume There Is a Singer
In this method, there is no melody on the piano. The pianist usually sings the melody. The right hand plays chords, and the left hand plays a single note or octave. Once you know the chords, there is no need to read music. Just count to three (or four) and play the chords.
Every pop pianist you see, with few exceptions, plays in this manner. Many do not know how to read music, and because of this rely on an encyclopedic knowledge of chords and chord progressions.
Chords In The Right Hand Are Much Harder
It does require finesse in how you move from one chord to the next, in the right hand. Chords, when played in the left hand, are quite easy, but when put in the right hand, the chord permutations possible increase exponentially. Because of this, putting the chords in the right hand is harder than putting them in the left.
This method is useful if you want to play pop music, and also if you have great difficulty reading music. But the good news is that the chord progressions tend to be similar from song to song. That is almost the definition of pop music: familiar enough to be popular. Popular music uses a limited set of chords so it can make the listener feel comfortable.
Try a song on our online piano:
A Limited Group Of Chords
The chord progression C F and G is actually the basis of 90% of songs. The chord progression C Am Dm G ruled American pop music for 75 years (Blue Moon, Heart and Soul, and many more). Many songs share the same chord progression.
Thus if you learn a few progressions you will be able to play many songs. It is very satisfying to play two or three chords assembled as a progression. Teach Yourself Piano is a simple introduction to all 12 chords.