Thursday, August 30, 2007

Silent Night - Chord Substitutions on Christmas Carols

One of the most creative things you can do to make your songs more interesting as a piano player is to use chord substitutions. Instead of playing the same old chords everyone else uses, why not create your own combinations?

It freshens up a song harmonically and redefines the melody.

Here is a short video example of how to use chord substitutions using Silent Night as an example:

Click on this link learn how to do this to Christmas Carols such as Silent Night.

And click on this link for the definitive course in Chord Substitions.

How people search for piano-related help online

I subscribe to a service that provides data on the words and phrases that people use to search for piano-learning help on the web. It's amazing what a variety of terms people type into search engines such as Google and Yahoo and MSN. Here is a very short list of actual phrases people use (and there are literally hundreds and hundreds more):

music harmony online, gospel music videos, piano chord how-to, piano songs music, music speed learning, dowvload keybard muzic (yes -- that's exactly how they spelled those 3 words! And there are lots of other mis-spellings, such as cord, kord, paino, pano, ceyboard, and hosts of others -- it boggles the mind!), lesson of music, music leson, piano leson, chord keyboard, www play music, popular piano music, musical chords, piano notes chart, and on and on.

Most all of the needs expressed by these searches can be at least partially filled by simply going to a good music authority site, such as and signing up for free piano chord instructions by email newsletter.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Free piano chords...

I saw an ad on the web advertising "free piano chords!", as though someone owned them and was giving them away free on a limited basis.

Obviously, not only all chords are free, but notes are free and rhythm is free and melody is free and...

It's the instruments that play the music that cost -- except for the human voice, of course.

But if anyone is looking for a free LIST of chords, or free PHOTOS of chords, then here's a couple places they can find them:

Diminshed chords

Augmented chords

6th chords

Friday, August 24, 2007

Keyboard chord tutorial

Many of the best keyboard chord tutorials are not only free, but available instantly on the internet. I know Jermaine has many, as does my friend Dave, and I have at least 100 -- probably more like 200 by now.

Here are a few:

Major chord tutorial

Minor chord tutorial

7th chords tutorial

There are lots more, but that will suffice to get someone started. Then they can sign up for an entire series of piano lesson tutorials on chords and chord progressions.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Where to study piano chords online

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it is now possible -- for the first time in history -- to get instant information about most any subject. For example, if you want to learn about minor chords, you just type "minor chords" or "minor piano chords" in a search box on Google or Yahoo or MSN or any search engine, and presto! -- in a matter of seconds you can be learning minor chords. There are even videos on minor chords as well as photos and illustrations, and on and on.

Then if you really love what you see on the net, you can often get in-depth piano courses on the subject on DVD's you can order online. Think about that -- just over 10 years ago you would have had to either enroll in a college course or seek out a private piano teacher to learn these things. Now you can do it in a flash!

Do we live in an amazing age, or what?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where can I find the best piano books?

There are literally thousands of music books in general and piano books in specific, but it's sometime difficult to locate the kinds of piano books an adult looking to learn or review piano after many years would find useful.

The most helpful piano books for adults are almost always connected to a CD or DVD or video which goes along with the book. Why? Because without a teacher along side us on the piano bench, most of us would be lost using a book by itself. "Where do I put my hands?" "What fingers do I use?" "How do I use this in a song?"

The questions go on and on. For some help in this area, click on PIANO BOOKS.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Where can I find good gospel piano lessons?

I would go to one of two sites:

1. Black Gospel

2. Praise & Gospel

Positioning a chord on the piano keyboard

Positioning a chord on the piano is called "chord voicing". It means to arrange the notes of whatever chord you are playing in some order so that you obtain the sound you are looking for.

Sounds simple, and in a sense it is, but it also separates the boys from the men and the girls from the women when it comes to getting a unique sound.

For example, the F chord is composed of 3 notes: F, A, and C. But I can invert that chord, I can "stretch it" by leaving more space between various notes, and I can slightly offset the notes I play rhythmically so that a unique effect is obtained.

For a bit more information on chord voicing, go to: Piano Chord Voicing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blues piano videos

There is a short blues piano video at "Short Video Clips" on the site. If you're interested in the blues, check it out -- it's free.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What are "keyboard progressions"?

The question came up about keyboard progressions -- are they different from chord progressions.

The answer is no -- they are the same. Just different words for the same reality. I guess you could also call them piano progressions too, unless you play them on the guitar, in which case you could call them guitar progressions.

Progressions are simply units of a song or piece that move between chords. For example, if a song in the key of F has a chord progression that moves from F to Am to Dm to Gm7 to C7 to F, we might term it the "I -- iii -- vi -- iim7 -- V7 -- F" progression.

For a complete treatment of chord progressions, see "Chord Progressions"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Piano Tips

One of the most useful piano tips I know has to do with eye movement when you are reading music. If you must look down at the keys to find a particularly high key or a particularly low key, don't move your head -- just do what I call an "eye flip".
Keeping your head pointed straight ahead at the sheet music while flipping your eyes down at the keyboard will usually keep you from losing your place in the written music.

It feels a bit strange at first, but you get used to it over time and it really helps not to get lost. With your eye sockets pointing straight ahead, it is easy to direct your gaze back to the printed music after glancing down quickly to locate a key.

"But I saw so-and-so on TV and he/she looked down at their fingers all the time."

My answer to that is simple: when you're on TV, you can do that too.

Seriously, when you don't need to refer to the sheet music, you can look anyplace you please -- at the keyboard, out the window, or whatever. But when you're reading music, if you don't want to lose your place and get lost, then I suggest developing the "eye flip."

More tips coming soon.

(Taken from "33 Tips To Becoming a Great Pianist")

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Questions about guitar chords & keyboard chords...

I have had quite a few interesting questions recently come in via email. Here are a few that I thought I would share, as they might throw some light on some areas of foggy thinking.

Q:"I have a friend who says he is learning piano with guitar chords. Is that possible?"

A: Yep. Chords are chords, no matter what instrument you play them on. The F major chord, for example, is always made of 3 notes: F, A, and C -- in any order. So if I play those 3 notes on the guitar and on the piano, the only difference will be the tone color of the instrument and the pitch. You can learn chords for both instruments from a piece of software called the "Side-by-Side Guitar & Piano Chord Chart" at

Q: "I know you sell piano courses on DVD, but I am looking for a DVD to learn keyboard playing. Where can I find DVD's for keyboards?"

A: There's no difference between a piano and a keyboard as far as learning chords and styles and so on. The only difference is in the touch -- the feel -- of the keyboard, and of course the sound it produces. So lots of people take my courses and learn on their portable keyboards, and later move to the piano.

Q:"Do you teach chords for keyboards?"

A: That, of course, has the same answers as the last two questions: chords are chords, and keyboard chords are the same as piano chords (or organ chords, or sythesizer chords, or...)
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