I just got an email from Cal, a recent DoctorKeys subscriber. He said:
In one of your lessons you show how to read a chord chart. But can you explain how to read a chord chart like Let It Be? [He's referring to the sort of chord chart you get on UltimateGuitar.com.] It has the chords but no bar lines, so how do I know exactly when to play each chord? Please help for I enjoy both your courses very much.
What a great question! And since there may be others of you who are wondering the same thing, I’ll explain. read more…
I just added some great new lessons to Pop Piano Accompaniment. Here’s a little about each:
How to Play a Song in Any Key (Transposing Made Easy)
There’s a big difference between singing a song in a key that sort of works, and singing it in the key that brings out the best in your voice. If you’re currently singing and playing any of your songs in less than the ideal range simply because you don’t know how to transpose, this lesson can help. Read more.
Empowering Your Left Hand with Open Voicings
Now that you understand the magic of open voicings, a whole new world of possibilities is within your reach.
The left hand pattern you’ll learn in this lesson is so versatile, and so satisfying, I’ve gone through periods when I’ve thought: Bruce you’ve gotta stop using this so much in your music—people will get sick of it! Read more.
Intermediate Styles and Beyond
In this lesson, you’ll learn to make your accompaniments sound fuller and richer. As you add open voicings in the left hand, and a fourth note to the three your right hand is already playing, your arrangements will sound more and more like the recordings you love to listen to. Read more.
Recently, several of my private students wanted to learn Nora Jones’ Don’t Know Why. It’s a song whose chord roots largely follow the circle of fifths, the sort of progression I’ve always found strangely irresistible. (We discussed this pattern in an earlier lesson.)
So that got me fooling around with Nora’s chords, and I discovered that with only a few alterations I could use them to play an accompaniment for Amazing Grace. You can hear it in the video above. read more…
Then play it differently! And one of the simplest, most effective, ways to do that is to change the voice leading.
Here’s what I mean. read more…
I’m particularly thrilled to be offering the one called “Voice Leading: How to Connect Chords Beautifully While Bringing Variety to Your Playing.” As I say in the video: read more…
A DoctorKeys subscriber just emailed me a question that’s so important, I’ve decided to post our exchange. Here’s the question:
It takes me too long to invert chords when I am trying to play songs. For example, if I was playing the root position of C chord and wanted to progress to the closest inversion of G chord, I have to think for a while to know that it is “B D G”. Also, once the chord is inverted, I get lost. (like, “what is this chord that I’m playing right now?”) Do I just have to practice the transition over and over or is there a better way?
And here’s my response:
Great question! Two things in particular can help. read more…
Here’s your chance to master one of the most beautiful progressions in all of music. In the key of C, that would be the C, G, A minor, and F chords, in that order.
The songs you’ll learn to play (at least in part) include Someone Like You, No One, She Will Be Loved, You’re Beautiful, With or Without You, read more…
If you haven’t begun to use the pedal yet, you’re in for a thrill when you hear what a huge difference it can make in your playing. And if you are using it but without really knowing what you’re doing, I’ll show you how to get the most out of this essential tool.
I’m talking about the sustain pedal, or damper pedal. On an acoustic piano, it’s the one on the right. On a keyboard, it’s a separate device that sits on the floor and attaches to the instrument via a cable. read more…
Just a brief note to let you know I just put up two new lessons. “A Quick-Start Guide to the Piano: Playing Your First Piece” fits near the beginning of the Play & Sing course, and a tutorial on John Lennon’s Imagine goes at the end. You can find out more about these lessons by going to the complete course list.
Today’s my first day back from vacation, and I want to share with you something that just happened.
I haven’t been playing the piano recently because I know how important it is, sometimes, to get away from my musical pursuits. And this morning, when I sat down to play, I couldn’t regain the excitement I usually feel.
And then I remembered the secret I keep forgetting and re-discovering: read more…
A recent visitor to DoctorKeys asked me why my course doesn’t get into more complex chords like 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. (1/26/15 Update: My newest course, Pop Piano Accompaniment, does indeed teach 9th chords.)
It’s because our focus so far has been on building a strong foundation, on helping you to grasp simple chords in a truly practical way, before moving on to more advanced harmonies.
As a teacher, I’ve learned over the years that students can often build the most complicated chords without knowing how to actually use even the simplest, including: read more…