Grace Notes & Blues Notes - Sliding off the Black Notes on Piano

There is a great technique that will add some cool new sounds to your playing and improvising. It plays with adding tension and then resolving it, taking a note that sounds really bad at first and then switching to a new note. Your ear forgets about how bad that first note sounded because the new is so refreshing!

Minor Chord to Major Chord:

We’ll get started by sliding from minor chords into major chords. The only note that changes is the 3rd, the middle one, so slide off with your middle finger. That might take some coordination practice so you can also use index finger at first if you need to…

 

 

The Blues Scale:

The C blues scale has the notes C Eb F F# G Bb C. The Cminor chord fits perfectly over that scale. All of the notes in the blues scale sound great over the C minor chord.

Scales & Chords:

What scale to use on which chord is pretty easy to figure out for minor chords. On a C minor chord, use the Cminor scale. Lesson: Use the scale with the same name as the chord.

On major chords its a little different. On a C major chord, if I wanted to use a blues scale, my first choice would be A minor blues scale. It has the notes A C D Eb E G A. You’ll notice that all the notes of a C chord are in the A blues scale and also that one black note we are sliding off of in the video, the Eb. So the lesson for major chords is to remember, “If I play C minor, I want to go down the interval of a minor 3rd to find the correct scale, the A minor blues scale for improvising.” The structure is the same for all chords and scales, so think down a minor 3rd from the chord you’re in to find the appropriate blues scale.

PIANO LESSON REVIEW:

  • If you’re playing in a major chord or key, slide off the flat 3rd of the chord or key.
  • If its in a minor chord or key, slide of the #4/b5th of the chord or key.
  • These notes are borrowed from the blues scale.
PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

How to Play Piano and Sing! 3 Easy Patterns For Piano Accompaniment

After you can get to your chords fairly quickly in both hands, the next step is to add some rhythm and the other hand! These patterns are for accompaniment, meaning they won’t have any melody. It’s perfect for accompanying your self to play and sing at the same time.

How to Play Chords with 2 Hands

Right hand plays the chord, left hand plays the root of the chord down lower on the piano. The root of the chord is going to be the name of the chord. If you used the right fingering, its the note you’re playing with your thumb in the right hand.

Simplify the Coordination Patterns

When trying these for the first time, I like to break these patterns down to simple instructions and even say them outloud: left right left right. Both left left left. You can also practice them on your lap before even trying to worry about what notes to play.

 

 

3 Accompaniment Patterns for Singing & Playing Piano

• Left Right Left Right for 4/4 songs or Left Right Right for 3/4 time songs where you count 123 123. This is good when you want the music to be uplifting or create some rhythms to dance to.

Notation for Piano Accompaniment

Accompaniment Notation for 3/4 Time

• Both Left Left Left good for rock stuff or something with energy. You can add your right hand in as much as you want for more punch.

Both Hands, Left Left Left

• HOLD each chord for 4 beats - Good for jazz and ballads. or if you are just learning a song and trying to get the hang of playing and singing it.

Hold the Chord for 4 beats in slow songs.

WHATS THE NEXT STEP?

If you get these basic patterns down, its really easy to add a little variation in the rhythms to create a lot of new vocabulary for your playing. When you start to try and sing along with these patterns, go slowly at first. These are perfect for playing and singing at the same time because they are simpler than a piano arrangement. The patterns are repetitive allowing you to focus on hitting the right pitches with your voice and remembering the lyrics. GOSH!!! There is so much multi-tasking going on!

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Power Chords - Big on Bass, Low on Mud - Easy Piano Lesson

Where to play Chords on the Piano:

Chords sounds great in the middle of the piano, they don’t sound as good on the low end… they’re too thick and muddy. The low end of the piano is really for single notes and bass lines. If you do play any chords, you want the notes to be spaced out quite a bit.

How to play Power Chords

Power chords are chords that only have the root and the 5th of a chord. Another way to build these chords is to take a major or minor triad and remove the middle note. Guitar players usually call these kind of chords power chords. These chords are great for rock and blues sounds. A C power chord will only have C’s and G’s in the chord.



Playing chords in the lower octaves on the piano is a great idea because it lets your right hand play melodies around middle C. Overall both hands are playing in the “richer” registers of the piano rather than the thin hollow sounding high notes.

Two different ways to play power chords in C:

The first measure is the easiest power chord to play. Just take the middle note out of the triad. The second measure requires a little stretching to reach the octave.
Rockin Piano Power Chord NotationNotice that rather the chord symbol reads C5 when they want you to use a power chord. You can use power chords when the chord symbol only says “C” as well or “Cmajor” but C5 specifically requests a power chord. (Most of the time you see it when you’re trying to read something written for guitar.)

Smoke On The Water with Octave Power Chords

Notation for Power Chords on the PianoThis music below shows the notes for the rock song Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple. The root is doubled and there is only one 5th. This could be played just by your left hand, freeing up your right hand to play more power chords or even make cool rock hand signals at the audience…

The Three Key Points from this Piano Lesson:

  • KEEP all your thick chords in the middle and upper octaves of the piano.
  • As you get lower, you have to space the notes out more.
  • Power chords only use the root and 5th of the chord. No middle note, aka the third.
PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Harry Potter Piano Lesson - Hedwig’s Theme by John Wiliams

This is a quick demonstration of the most memorable theme from the Harry Potter movies. The entire song is longer and has more flourishes with strings and other instrumentation. I cut those out because they’re not memorable or easy to play. Whenever you reduce music, going from a full orchestra down to a piano arrangement, there are choices you have to make about what melodies to keep and which ones to let go. It’s pretty tough if not impossible to be 100% accurate.

The Magic Chords!

Harry Potter’s Theme chords are played in the following order:
Eminor, Gminor, Fminor,
Aminor/E (”Aminor over E” meaning an inversion with E in the bass.)
C#diminished7

Slow it Down:

There is a slow walk through of all the chords :33 seconds into the video…
And then I’ll explain all the chords in the song afterwards.

Chord Variations:

I’m playing the chords in my left hand as block chords; all at once. You could experiment with other styles of chords too! In the left hand, try rolling the chords into 3 separate notes or broken chords played as two separate chunks.

JOHN WILLIAMS ROCKS!

John Williams is the same composer who wrote the music for Star Wars, E.T. Jurassic Park, Superman, JAWS, Indiana Jones and many other famous movie themes… I love the way he puts together chords especially in the Darth Vader theme and Indiana Jones.

Choosing A Register:

The music sounds a lot spookier when you play the Hedwig’s Theme in a high register or up a few octaves on the piano. (To the right side of the piano.)

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Everyday I Have the Blues - Ray Charles Licks in key of Bb - Intermediate Piano Lesson

This was a paid request to help someone learn Ray Charles rendition of Everyday I have the blues. The song follows the 12 bar blues with a lot of really tasty ray charles fills and variations throughout the whole song. The first 30 seconds of the song just have Ray playing solo piano as an introduction. This video slows down the licks from the first 15 seconds of the video.

SKIP AHEAD TO 1:10 IN THE VIDEO TO SEE MY TRANSCRIPTION OF RAY’S LICKS SLOWED DOWN.

TRANSPOSING:

Pick one or two of these licks and learn them really well then transpose it to the key of C so you can get even more use out of them by using them in a blues in C! Transposing it from the key of Bb to the key of C requires you to move every note up one whole step. This is because the keys Bb and C are one whole step apart.

Stay tuned for more on this great song! We’ll be working on some good chord voicings for the 3 chords in a Bb blues: Bb7, Eb7 and F7.

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Great Balls of Fire: Part 2 - Jerry Lee Lewis - Boogie Woogie Left Hand

This piano lesson is much easier to learn the song from.
I slowly walk through the whole song with a lot more clarity… The video also covers a different way to use your left hand on Great Balls of Fire. That left hand bass line is easier than in Great Balls of Fire: Part 1 and closer to what Jerry Lee Lewis actually does on his recordings.

Be sure and watch how my right hand embellishes the basic C, F and G chords in the bridge with a standard blues lick. (Although its very fast here, the lick is broken down on other videos on the blog).

Another key lesson is to thicken up any melody you play by doubling the notes in two hands, or even playing octaves in one or both hands.

*My health is doing much better, thank you all so much for all the great comments and get well soon messages! It really made my day! I have ulcerative colitis which can be very debilitating.

*This was made thanks to a a paid request!!! It received priority over the list of “suggested” requests for video lessons.

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Holding off on new lessons for a while!

I’ve been in poor health for the past 2-3 weeks… I’ll need to hold off making any new lessons until I get better!

Feel free to keep asking questions though and I’ll try to share some insight :)

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Thriller by Michael Jackson - Funk Piano - Groove Example

Here is an arrangement of thriller by michael jackson for solo piano. It sounds even cooler if you can stomp your foot for a beat or have a drum machine in your keyboard to play along with. Its in a different key than the original for two reasons. Its lower so people with regular non-michael voices can sing it. And this key has many less black notes, therefore it is easier to play.

Putting your hands together:

Learn the bassline hands separate first. Then learn how to go between an A minor and D major chord in your right hand. Slowly put the two together… Playing both hands together took me a couple hours of slow practice with a metronome.

When you’re first learning the song, simplify the bassline only playing the roots. That lets you focus on the learning the chords and the major parts of the song. Then refine and polish later. Scan to 2:00 in the video to see an example of this.

1:25 - Just hold down the chords in the right hand for long periods. After you play it and hold it down, you can forget about that hand and focus on the rhythms that your left hand is playing.

Building basslines:

Thriller is a really great example of how to make a bass line groove. Normally we would just play a single A note in the bass on an Aminor chord. In thriller, the bassline uses these tones: the flat 7th, root and flat 3rd. On A minor that means its going to be the G, A and C notes.

Thriller Video Lesson Outline:

1:05 - slow walkthrough of thriller / learn the verse piano parts
2:01 - simple bassline version of the verses
4:00 - recommend playing the melody with the simple bassline show here
4:25 - showing how chord shakes look and sound

Chorus Chords:
Amin C, C D Am, D9 Fmaj7 G6
Amin C, C D Am, F D G… Back to the verse chords

Verse Chords:

Amin -> D

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Bossa Nova Groove - Left hand Bass & Right Hand Comping - Intermediate to Advanced Lesson

BOSSA NOVA GROOVE

Here is a notated example of the bossa nova groove. The treble clef has rhythmic notation - The slashes tell you the rhythms of the notes, but not the specific notes to play. You have to decide how you want to play Dm7 in your right hand. I recommend [DFAC] like in the video. If that is too big of a stretch for your hands, then try just the Dminor triad [DFA].

MAKE SURE TO COUNT AND PLAY THIS! The rhythms are very complicated, especially when putting two hands together. I had to practice this over and over again with a metronome, each hand separately first and then together. (COUNTING the whole time!) I put the numbers in between the bass and treble clef to help you see how the counting should line up with the notes! (1 + 2 + should be pronounced “one and two and”)

The left hand in Bossa Nova almost always plays a root and a fifth of the chord. You can vary the rhythm shown a little bit.

bossa nova pattern
CLICK ON THE MUSIC TO BLOW IT UP FULL SIZE SO YOU CAN PRINT IT!

In the video below it shows this example with a C major chord added in. These are still the basic left and right hand patterns on piano for a bossa nova. The left hand just imitates what a bass player would do normally. If you are playing solo piano, then your whole goal is split the chord in your right hand so that the melody is on top and the chord rhythms are playing out beneath.

If you are having trouble with learning this pattern after practicing it for an hour or two. Post a comment and let me know! I will break down the left hand part and right hand parts in to smaller lessons.
Thanks!
Chris Marx

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Your Help Needed! CHORDS 101 Feedback!!!

TALK TO ME!

Please tell me what you wish had further explanation! Anything that you didn’t quite understand, or aren’t sure how to apply it. Just post a comment to this post and I’ll do my best to update the course!

I really want to make the Chords 101 Course better, as you can see I’ve posted a new blog category called “CHORDS 101″ (in the right hand link bar under “categories”) By clicking on that, you’ll find all the videos that have been associated with the Chords 101 E-book. Its easier to show examples of certain piano concepts through video. Its also more fun to watch!

Til now, I’ve just been guessing what concepts you’d like to see explained in further detail. It would be really useful to hear your feedback though!

Thanks,
Chris Marx

New Chords 101 Videos:

Beginning Piano Day One - Learning Half Steps and Whole Steps - Chords 101 Course - DAY 1

Building Major and Minor triads by counting half steps - Chords 101 Course - DAY 2

The 12 Most Common Chords on Piano - Easy Lesson with Picture Chords - Chords 101 Course - Day 3

PLEASE SHARE THIS PIANO LESSON!!!
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Next Page »