Creating with Chords

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Chords are the key to playing all kinds of pop music!

Maybe you want to play pieces by artists you like, but your piano lessons aren’t helping you get there. There are all sorts of websites that will give you the chords of the songs you want to play, but you might be a little overwhelmed trying to make use of that information. This is the course for you! I’ll break it all the way down in 6 lessons that you can stream at your own convenience!

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In this 6-week Mini Course, You will learn

  • How to find major and minor chords on any key on the piano.

  • Chord symbols and common chord progressions

  • How to play along with songs you like as you listen to them on YouTube or a streaming service like Spotify, or just how to play them on your own!

  • How to make sense of chord charts on sites like Ultimate Guitar (It’s not just for guitar).

  • How to use chord inversions to move around on the keys with ease

  • How to use chord progressions to write your own songs

This course uses very little music notation, but knowing a little about how to read music will be very helpful.

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You’ll find this course easiest if you have completed at least up to level 2A in a piano method.  It’s intended for middle schoolers all the way to adults!

Once you complete the course, you’ll be ready to play several pop songs, and you can apply what you’ve learned to play many more! I’ll teach you how to evaluate what songs will be easiest to learn. You can use this course as a kickstart to your own future exploration of more difficult songs, or stay tuned for a future course which will be the sequel to this one.

This course is a perfect accompaniment to traditional piano lessons, so if you’re already studying piano, you can do this alongside those lessons. Or, maybe you’d like to use this course as enrichment over the holidays! However you choose to use it, this course is an easy and fun path toward impressing your friends and family with your pop piano skills!

Frequently Asked Questions

Purchase the course and watch the videos at your own convenience! Access the supporting documents. You can choose to print them or read them from your ipad or laptop. Spend some time practicing and exploring the ideas in the module before moving on to the next. You always have access to me for support!

Students from middle school to adults. The ideal student will read music at least at the level of a 2A method book.

You’ll need a piano, acoustic or digital. You’ll make the best progress if your acoustic piano is in good working condition – all the keys work without sticking, it’s in good tune, the pedal works, etc. Your digital piano should ideally have touch-sensitive, weighted keys, and it needs to be set up on a stand that is standard height, not a dining table, the bed, or the floor. You need a bench that is at the standard height or adjustable to a height appropriate for you.

You’ll also need a device for streaming the videos via your internet connection. The bigger the screen, the better. A phone screen will be too small.

How to find and play major chords, minor chords, sus chords, and 7th chords.

How to play from a basic lead sheet.

What it means to be “in a key.”

How to use websites (and apps) like Ultimate Guitar or Chordify to find the chords to songs and play them.

How to use Roman numeral chord symbols to recognize common chord progressions, transpose them to different keys, and create your own chord progressions for writing your own songs.

How to play the chords for the following songs and how to apply your new knowledge to play many others:

  •       California by Lana Del Rey
  •       Let It Be by the Beatles
  •       Stay With Me by Sam Smith
  •       5 for Fighting by Superman
  •       Stay by Rihanna
  •       When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars

All of the materials you need are included in the course.

A lot of people have given away a lot of money to people who’d like to convince you that you can learn piano in the blink of an eye! Let’s face it – no matter the endeavor, from sports to playing an instrument, it’s necessary to practice. But remember, this practice is fun! If you devote 15-30 min. a day, 4-5 days a week, you’ll make progress.

I have a masters degree in music, a degree in secondary education, and 30 years of experience teaching private piano lessons. I have studied graduate level music theory, but I learned basic chord theory as a high school student from a friend who played guitar! I can blend that very immediate hands-on learning experience of my younger days with my knowledge of theory to give you the information you need to get started in a way that is 100% compatible with future learning, even if you want to go on to major in music.

Most of the free videos I’ve seen try to cover too much ground too quickly, which creates discouragement. They are often not developmentally appropriate for a student who is ready to learn chords, but still in level 2 piano books. I explain thoroughly and carefully, offering practice tips that will help you succeed.

The goal of most of these free videos is to teach you to play songs, not to gain the full understanding necessary to build a solid foundation for good chord knowledge. This course will get you started on the right path, provide immediate enjoyment by teaching you a few easy songs and their harmonic structure, and whet your appetite for more complex knowledge later.

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