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7th chords are so beautiful and common in music. They can instantly transform the sound of a basic chord to make it more fancy and ‘dreamy’.

If you’re not sure about 7th chords and how to make them – check out our previous blog post.

So you know how to play a 7th chord. But how do you actually USE them in songs?

I have some great tips on ways to make practicing 7th chords fun and musical. It’ll also help you to incorporate 7th chords into your playing.

The chords and progression we’ll be using

We’re in the key of D, and we’re using a progression I’ll call the 4-3-2-1 progression.

So we’ll be using the first four chords in the D Major scale.

Those are:

D – Em – F#m – G

And because we’re practicing 7ths we need to make them all 7ths. So they’ll be:

DMaj7 – Em7 – F#m7 – GMaj7

What do actually do with them

The first exercise is to play these 7th chords in a broken, descending pattern. Start with the 4 (The GMaj7) and work your way back down to the DMaj7.

Now you might be thinking, “This sounds familiar!” And you’d be right! Can you name the popular song that uses this progression? Comment below to let me know.

Some technical things to remember

Your wrist is a really important part of these exercises. Remember to rotate it slightly as you play the broken chords, that will allow you to play them faster, and it will remove tension in your fingers. Also, remember to sit up with your back straight!

Make it sound dreamy

Now that we’ve played the chords in a 4-3-2-1 pattern, it’s time to mix them up. Play around with these four chords and experiment with different progression orders. Try playing some of the chords broken up, and others as full chords.

Also, try experimenting with chord inversions. Remember — the 7th does NOT always have to be at the top of the chord!

Check out our other blog post for ways to invert your 7th chords.

And have fun making your chords sound dreamy!

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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