How to Practice Chord Inversions on Piano (The Fun Way)

Lisa Witt  /  Practice  /  UPDATED May 5, 2023

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Piano chord inversions can make an enormous difference in your playing. You’ll sound more sophisticated, and inversions can even make transitioning between chords faster and smoother! In this lesson, we’ll show you how to practice chord inversions in a way that’s also fun and musical.

  1. Backing Track
  2. Chords
  3. How to Practice
  4. Transition Practice

Practice Backing Track

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The Chords

In this lesson, we’ll be playing a vi-IV-I-V progression in G major. That’s Em-C-G-D. Here are all the chords and their inversions:

ChordRoot Position1st Inversion2nd Inversion

🎹 Need more help with inversions?

Check out Piano Chord Inversions, Explained for a beginner lesson just on inversions.

How to Practice Chord Inversions on Piano

Here are the practice routines I use in this lesson. First, practice just playing the chords in their root position. Get used to the movement. Get used to the sound. If you get lost, you can always return to the root position.

Next, play the root position triad on beat 1 and the first inversion of the chord on beats 2, 3, and 4. You can hold out the inversion or play quarter notes on it. Count and feel the rhythm in your body—it helps with internalizing your physical technique.

Finally, try playing all the inversions, one on each beat, with your last inversion holding out over two beats. Or, play that last inversion twice. To add some depth, you can pair your right hand with bass notes in your left.

Anytime you want to take a break, just return to your root position triad, hold, and breathe 🙂

How to Use Inversions to Transition Between Chords

The cool thing about inversions is that they can act as a shortcut between chords. We’ll practice exactly that in this exercise. It’ll go something like this:

Em root position
C 1st inversion
G 2nd inversion
D root position

Here’s another pattern you can try:

Em 2nd inversion
C root position
G 1st inversion
D 2nd inversion

We hope you had fun with this lesson 🙂 If you want more fun approaches to piano practice, check out these lessons:

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Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 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. Learn more about Lisa.

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