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"Deck The Halls" Piano Tutorial

Learn this Christmas classic and have your whole family singing along!

Lisa Witt - Dec 10, 2019

<< Download the FREE lead sheet here >>

 

What is more Christmassy than sitting around the piano singing carols in an awkward high voice?

 

So let's learn a Christmas classic! Deck the Halls is fun, fast and easy to play. And there's a section that will stretch anybody's vocal cords!

 

The key of F

 

This is a nice fun key to play in because there's only one black note to be aware of. In the key of F, that's Bb. So make sure you keep that in mind as we play along.

 

The other great thing about this song is that there are not very many chords to learn. There are really only 5 chords to learn. They are:

 

F - (F-A-C)

Bb - (Bb-D-F)

C - (C-E-G)

Dm - (D-F-A)

G - (G-B-D) - NOTE - When you play the G chord in measure 12, you do NOT play the Bb. It's a B natural instead.

 

This song moves along at a pretty fast pace, and some of the chord changes can be very quick. So in order to make life easier, I would really recommend you...

 

Get comfortable with inversions

 

It will make your life SO much easier in the long run. Jumping from F to Bb in root position is no fun, and inversions allow you to change chords quickly and make the song sound more professional.

 

For a lesson on how to change chords quickly just click here.

 

The biggest changes you'll need to focus on are the F to the Bb that I just mentioned, and the F to the C and back to the F again.

 

Break those down and practice moving back and forth between the chords. It will make a huge difference when it comes time to play the song.

 

Apart from those things, this is a very basic song. It's fun, lively and everybody knows the words (or thinks they do).

 

So get ready to Deck those Halls and start practicing!

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3 Ways To Instantly Sound Better On The Piano

Use these tips to transform your playing in one practice session.

Lisa Witt - Dec 6, 2019

What if someone walked up to you and said,

 

"I can teach you how to play the piano instantly. You'll be a master and all your piano dreams will come true."

 

Would you believe them?

 

Of course not!!

 

Anyone who has ever sat at the piano keys knows that it takes time, practice and patience to get better at the piano. It's a journey, not a destination.

 

BUT...

 

I'm here to tell you that you can SOUND better instantly! There are things you can do right now that will make you sound more professional, and you do NOT have to be an advanced player to start doing them.

 

You do need some basics

 

In order to try these 3 tips, it's helpful if you already have some basic piano knowledge.

 

All you really need are some chording skills and an understanding of how to play some simple chord progressions.

 

You can find a lesson on chording by clicking this link.

 

And click this lesson to learn the most common chord progression in the world.

 

Now that we have that covered, let's begin.

 

#1 - Use arpeggios

 

Take your simple chord progression, and instead of playing a chord in your right hand, play an arpeggio.

 

For example, if you have a C chord, don't just play the C chord. Instead, play a C major arpeggio (C-E-G-C). You can play it up or play it up AND back down again.

 

Immediately your music will feel like it has more energy and your playing will sound more skillful.

 

If you want to get even fancier you could break the arpeggios up between your hands. So you start the arpeggio with your left hand and then continue it with your right.

 

#2 - Use chord inversions

 

I've spoken a lot about chord inversions in the past. In fact, we have a LOT of lessons on chord inversions here on the blog.

 

Inversions can be intimidating and overwhelming. But inversions are wonderful because they allow you to move between chords quickly, smoothly and beautifully. Plus, they change the way a song sounds.

 

Only playing chords in root position means your hands end up jumping around the keyboard a lot. Inversions help remove the distance you have to travel.

 

The key to getting comfortable with inversions is to start simple.

 

Begin with a root chord.

 

And then figure out your path. Plan it out before you play it. Work out what chord you are going to change to, and then figure out what notes you need to change to make that transition smooth.

 

For example, if you're moving from a C chord to a G chord, take a moment to figure out the notes you'll need. Here's a keyboard to help you:

 

 

As you probably know, a C chord has the notes C-E-G.

 

A G chord has the notes G-B-D.

 

Already you can see a similar note. Both chords have a G note in them. So you can leave the G at the top of the C chord. It doesn't have to change.

 

Now you need to find a way to move the C and E down to a B and D. Well, as you can see on the keyboard above, B is one half-step down from C, and D is one step down from E. 

 

So now instead of jumping around the keyboard, you only have to move 2 notes!

 

Take this method and apply it to all your chords. Sit down and work out the path you want to take, and then how you will get there.

 

#3 - Use slash chords

 

These are one of my favorite tools to change up how I sound. If you are in a creative rut, these are also a fantastic way to break out of it!

 

Again, slash chords can look intimidating, but they are quite simple.

 

This is an example of a slash chord: G / B

 

It's easy to understand once you know what the positions mean. The letter BEFORE the slash (G) is the chord that you will play in your RIGHT hand. The letter AFTER the slash (B) is the note you will play with your LEFT hand.

 

So in this case, you would play a G major chord in your right hand, with a B in the left.

 

Try it out. Doesn't it sound amazing?!

 

Slash chords work best when the bass note (the left-hand note) is still a part of the original chord, usually the 3rd. But they work with major and minor chords.

 

Try them out with different chord tones, and find the ones that you like the most!

 

So these 3 tips will help you sound instantly better. Which one was your favorite?

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How To Make Your Left Hand Sound Awesome On The Piano

Simple ways to make your left hand sound complicated.

Lisa Witt - Dec 3, 2019

I get asked this all the time:

 

"I can play chords, but I don't know how what to do with my left hand to make it sound beautiful. What can I do?"

 

I've thought about this for a while before filming this lesson.

 

And the biggest piece of advice I have is this...

 

The left-hand does NOT need to be complicated

 

That's right. Simple is best here. 

 

I find it helps to think about it like this: Your left hand is like the bass player and the rhythm section of the band. Your right hand is like the singer and the guitars.

 

They both have their role to play, and if everyone is busy all the time, it just sounds messy and bad!

 

Think about it, if the drummer, bass player, guitarists, and singer were all performing a solo at the same time, it would sound awful!

 

So I have 3 things you can do with your left hand that will make your playing sound awesome, without making it too complicated.

 

The first one is the easiest.

 

Keep it single

 

Just play single notes. That's it, nothing fancy.

 

It's a great way to start playing chords and songs because it allows you to explore more with the right hand, while your left hand is keeping time and adding a bit of bass.

 

It sounds nice, and it's so easy. But of course it will get boring, so the next thing you can do is:

 

Play around with 5ths

 

This is the one technique that I probably use the most when I play songs, especially to accompany myself.

 

You start with the single root note of the chord and then play a 5th above it. So if it's a C chord, you'll play C and G in the left hand.

 

If it's an F chord, you'll play F and C.

 

The great thing about this is that it doesn't matter if the chords are major or minor because the root and 5th are the same for both. The left hand is the rhythm and bass, let the right hand determine the melody!

 

Another cool thing you can do with this technique is to try playing the 5ths as broken intervals. So instead of playing the C and G together, rock back and forth between them. It will make your playing sound instantly more complicated, and you can explore with rhythm to really make it sound fancy.

 

There's one more technique I want to tell you about.

 

Create BIG bass with octaves (and 5ths)

 

This one will give you that really nice booming bass sound. If you're playing solo it's excellent. If you're playing with a bass player, you probably won't need to use this one as much.

 

This is exactly the same concept as playing single notes, but instead of playing just one note, play it as an octave.

 

If you want to get a bit more sophisticated, you could include the 5th and play it as a broken chord, like an arpeggio.

 

So for C, you would play low C, G, and high C. 

 

I love this one a lot because I think it adds a classical-type sound to the left hand. For slower ballads and songs it's really beautiful!

 

So there are 3 things you can try today. Good luck, and have fun!

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