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Today’s lesson is all about taking your piano melodies from boring… to beautiful! 💐💐💐

Plus I’ve got some tips to keep you inspired and creative at the piano, so let’s get started!

The basics! 💪

Step 1, is starting with a simple progression.

Our first chord is going to be B♭.

That’s the B♭, D, and F keys.

🔥🎹 Hot Tip! You can choose to swap between B♭ and B♭sus2 depending on what you are comfortable with or what you might like to hear. Learn more about ‘sus’ chords here

The second chord we’ll use is a D minor (D, F, & A).

The third chord is going to be C Major (C, E, & G).

With your left hand, play the root (the bottom note) of each chord an octave down for a bass note.

The timing on this one is a little tricky– watch me run though it in the video to get a better sense of it, but here’s a more visual representation for you:

build beautiful melodies

Spend some time running through these chords, getting to know the fingerings and the spacings between them. Start slow to earn a sense of timing, and then we’ll move on to the next step.

Building it up 🏗

Okay, got it yet?

Here’s where things are going to start to get a little more fun.

That chord progression sounds great, but let’s add a little bit of intrigue to the mix.

I have a fourth chord for you to throw in that will really start to make the whole thing sound beautiful.

Don’t worry—- this isn’t nearly as complicated as it looks (or sounds 🤩🤩)!

All I need you to do is take the C chord we’ve already been playing and drop your left hand from C to A.

If you’re really feeling confident— instead of your C Major triad, try changing it up with an F chord (F, A, & C). You can even switch between these two chords as you see fit.

🔥🎹 Hot Tip! Less traditional rhythms can be inditimating for newer players— check out or lesson on understanding piano rhythms and how you can improve your sense of them here!

Let’s Get Creative!🎨

The easiest way to build some interest and beauty to your melodies is by breaking up the notes to your chords with arpeggios! Arpeggios are the notes of a chord played in sequence to the rhythm of our progression.

You can think of chords like words, and playing an arpeggio like spelling the letters.

Now that sounds like a beautiful piano melody! (and maybe even a little familiar)

For this progression, I like running my broken chords from bottom to top, but you can choose to play this however you see (or hear) fit. Remember to be mindful of the timing (Dm on the 3, C on the “&” of the 4).

The beauty of taking time to improvise and elaborate on a progression like this is the personal touch and flair you put on it in your own practice. I don’t mean for this to be a rigid structure to follow to a tee, but something you take inspiration from and build into whatever you’re feeling.

Inversions will make the stretches between keys much easier for you, instead of D minor in root position, you could play its 2nd inversion (starting with A, then D & F instead of D, F, and A) and it will minimize the leaps and jumps you’d have to do with your right hand instead.

Add Some Flourishes To Your Playing

This one might take a little practice— but it’s so much fun, and very rewarding to play.

All we are going to do is add a little run down (or up) the C chord, using the first 5 notes of the C scale (C, D, E, F, & G).

Start slow, work your speed up– and this is going to sound beautiful.

The Most Important Things 📝

  • Learn that progression and get comfortable with the timing.
  • Explore inversions and alternate voices at different points in the progression to keep things exciting.
  • Break up your chords into arpeggios and melodies to add emotion and interest.
  • Add in a scale run (staying mindful of the rhythm of your playing!).

I know that after spending a little bit of time with this, the pieces are going to fall into place, you’re going to feel amazing at the piano, and you’ll have some smart tools to build your own beautiful melodies.

I hope this challenges and inspires your piano playing!

Happy practicing 🎹🙏

Lisa Witt

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 18 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.