3 Ways To Instantly Sound Better On The Piano

Lisa Witt  /  Chord Inversions / Dec 6

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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.


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 basic chording skills and an understanding of how to play some simple chord progressions.

🎹 Hack Into Chords 👊

Understanding how chords work will give you a BIG leg up in learning how to play the piano. Knowing just a handful of chords will unlock hundreds, if not thousands of pop songs. To get started today, check out our free Chord Hacks course, or read Chording 101.


#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?

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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