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!
Step 1, is starting with a simple progression.
Our first chord is going to be B♭.
That’s the B♭, D, and F keys.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 🎹🙏
* FREE VIDEO SERIES *
Learning chords is a great way to improve your piano skills without any music theory. And Lisa Witt’s “Chord Hacks” series will show you how to play the most popular chords, so you can play many of your favorite songs on the piano!
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The Creative Piano Challenge
Piano players of all levels prove that anyone can sound awesome on the piano.
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Endless Harmonies From Just ONE Chord (Slash Chords)
How many harmonies can you make off of a single triad chord? About as many as you can think when you use slash chords.
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Beautiful and Romantic Piano Music
When I think of beautiful and romantic music… I think of the piano. This lesson is about bringing out the softer side of the piano
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Play By Ear
How to Play Piano by Ear in 10 Minutes
The ability to listen to a song and play it by ear is a big part of playing the piano. We've got some smart tips to get you playing in harmony